In the Midwest a concrete driveway costs, on average, $9 per square foot for the average two car driveway around 30 feet long.
You can get a rough estimate of what your driveway will cost by measuring the length and width and multiplying to get the square footage.
So if your driveway is 18 feet wide and 30 feet long, you will multiply 18 x 30 giving you 540 square feet.
Take your total square footage and multiply it by $9 (average price per square foot for a concrete driveway) and you will get a rough estimate of what it might cost you to install a new concrete driveway. 540 x $9 will give you $4,860.00
This is the average cost in the midwest, however, there are 5 factors that will affect the cost of your new concrete driveway.
- The Bigger the Driveway, the Lower the Price per Foot
Everyone’s driveway is a different size, and in this case, Size Matters. If you have a driveway that fits only one car length and width, then your price per square foot is going to increase. The inverse applies if you have a mile long driveway, your price per square foot is going to decrease dramatically.
This phenomena exists for a single reason. Labor costs are going to be the same per day whether you are doing a small project or a big project. Usually, a four man crew can install a 1,000 square foot driveway in a single day, no problem.
If your driveway is so large that it requires multiple days of pouring, obviously your dollar cost is going to increase, but your cost per square foot will still be decreased.
- Type of Concrete Mix Matters
Over the years, ready-mix companies have experimented with different variations of concrete mix in order to lower costs and increase quality.
Some of their experiments have failed miserably and some have worked out pretty good. Each mix brings with it certain qualities that can be good for the concrete and not so good, depending on what you are looking for.
The most common mixture is regular 6-bag mix. This is my favorite to work with because it is strong and consistent. There are no unnecessarily added chemicals that affect the finish of the concrete, which is very important for us to consider when installing a new concrete driveway.
Another option that you may want to consider is a mixture called Fiber-mesh. This concrete is mixed with millions of strings of synthetic fiber helping bond the concrete together stronger than regular 6-bag concrete mix.
Fiber-mesh is a more expensive mixture for obvious reasons, so depending on which mixture you want, could affect the price of your driveway.
- Thickness of Concrete
Thickness of your driveway works similarly to the square footage of your driveway, but opposite.
The thicker your driveway, the higher your price per foot will be.
If your village requires thicker driveways, your concrete material cost will increase, ultimately increasing the price of your driveway.
I would suggest installing a concrete driveway with a thickness of at least 5 inches. Any less and you are increasing your chances of your driveway having some pretty serious cracks.
Think about it, have you ever seen those garden stones that around 1 inch thick and they have pebbles and writing in them for. Those are made out of concrete and you can step on those wrong or drop them and they will immediately break in half.
Now take a 3 feet deep by 1 foot wide diameter basketball net pier and try to break it. You have to take a sledge hammer to it multiple times to even make a dent.
The thicker your driveway, the stronger it becomes, as well as the more expensive it becomes.
- Finishes Have Different Prices
Not all concrete is finished the same and each come with their own processes and added material. I have another post on all the different types of finishes and what makes them desirable. Here I will give you a brief understanding and why each may cost different.
Your less expensive option is regular broom finish or “California” finish. This finish is where the contractor will broom the surface of the driveway as it is still wet to give nice straight line grooves to remove slip hazards and provide traction for driving.
California finish is the same as broom finish with the exception that the contractor will use a tool to smooth out the edges and joints of the driveway, giving a “picture frame” like look to your finished product.
Regular broom finish and California finish are your less expensive option and cost the same when choosing finishes.
Your next level up for cost is a finish known as, Exposed Aggregate Finish. In this finished product you will see the actual stones of the concrete at the surface, giving your driveway a stylish look.
To make this happen, the contractor will need to purchase a retarding agent spray to help slow down the curing process at the surface of the concrete so they can spray off the cement after the slab itself has hardened enough to hold the aggregate together.
This increases material cost as well as labor costs because it is a longer finishing process.
Here you can select from a wide variety of patterns and colors to make your concrete driveway look like it is made from almost anything. We have done stamps that look like wood, brick, stone, slate, you name it.
You also choose the color concrete you want as well as the accent color you wish to compliment it with. Also, in order to make the stamps, you need to either purchase or rent the actual stamps themselves.
Adding color for concrete, color for release, renting stamps, and taking extra labor time for the finish, all dramatically increase the cost of the concrete driveway, coming out to almost double the cost of regular broom finish.
5. Thickness of Rebar reinforcement
The last factor that will affect the price of your driveway is the type and thickness of rebar reinforcement you choose to include in your driveway.
In the Chicagoland area, we are only required to install 10 gauge wire mesh which is a great option for reinforcement as well as for cost.
With that being said, you can ask for tied number 4 rebar at 12 inches on center if you feel more comfortable having thicker rebar reinforcement.
Usually number 4 rebar is used in footings, foundation walls, and piers. I personally find it to be overkill because I have so much experience using 10 gauge wire mesh and it does the trick perfectly.
Using thicker rebar reinforcement will increase your costs slightly and will affect the price of your concrete driveway.
Hope this answered your question of how much a concrete driveway costs to install, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments section below and I will be happy to answer!