With recent advances in concrete, a driveway is no longer just a functional element of your home. Instead, it is also an essential design element that adds much to its appeal.
A side effect of these innovations and customisations is that there is an incredible degree of variance when it comes to concrete driveways. We’ll examine these variables below in as much detail as possible.
Is a concrete driveway worth it?
Of course. It’s true that there are cheaper alternatives. Asphalt and Bitumen will both cost around $20-40 per square metre. Pavers will cost around $40-80 per square metre. But these don’t have the longevity or durability that concrete provides.
The customisation options are missing as well, and concrete has little to no maintenance due to its very nature. Over the long term, this driveway represents the best value for money. A well maintained pathway can last longer than 30 years, making it an excellent investment.
Another benefit is that concrete driveways are suitable under all weather conditions. This is especially relevant for cities such as Melbourne where it can get swelteringly hot in the summer. In contrast, this heat degrades and destroys other types of driveways such as asphalt.
Factors affecting the cost
In many ways, general figures are meaningless unless you understand what factors actually increase or decrease the final cost. If you don’t understand pricing mechanisms, you might think that you’re being overcharged for a service that is actually standard practice. Like all services, research and due diligence are a necessity!
The major contributing factors to the final quote of concrete driveways include:
- Total surface area – Priced on a square metre basis, you’ll pay close to twice as much for double the surface area.
- Type of concrete – There are many concrete options available that can dramatically increase the final price such as stamped, exposed, and coloured concrete.
- Preparation work – If you’re resurfacing existing concrete, then it’s going to be much cheaper. Clearing existing concrete or excavation work will cost a whole lot more. You may need to hire a separate service for this.
- Gradient – Expect to pay more if your driveway is sloped. Even a slight slope will add to the cost.
- Extras – If you want stencilling on the concrete, it will add to the cost. This will also be the case if you want to incorporate landscaping elements.
Concrete driveway costs by type
Perhaps the biggest consideration in terms of your concrete driveway is going to be the type. Aside from the total surface area, this is going to be the one that increases or decreases your cost the most. The average cost per square metre for various types of pathways is given below:
||Price Range (Per m2)
Total prices for concrete pathways
What do all of these prices mean when it comes to an entire driveway? We’ve done the math for you on the concrete itself in the table below. Keep in mind that you might get a discount for larger projects and that there will be a base fee for small projects.
The total price you pay could also easily be higher since the costs below exclude other factors such as slopes and preparation work. It applies only to the supply and installation of concrete. You may also have to acquire permits from local councils.
How can I calculate the cost of my concrete driveway?
To get a rough idea of the process of calculating the cost of your driveway, you would:
- Measure the length and width of your driveway, so you know how many square metres of concrete you need.
- Identify the concrete you are looking for and prices from different companies.
- Add at least $10 per square metre if you have a slope.
This should give you an indication of the price you will pay. This is separate from any necessary preparation work, which can add significantly to the project. But if you are resurfacing existing concrete, then it won’t be a problem.
Even with the best of calculations, it’s always best to contact a professional concreter in your area for precise details and measurements.
How can I reduce the costs?
You can’t really reduce the cost in terms of the total surface area or the slope. There are regulations surrounding the depth and the width of driveways. Many local councils specify a minimum width of three metres.
You could reduce the cost by opting for plain concrete. This would be around half the cost of more exotic options. You can also simply paint the plain concrete to save costs.
Obviously, it’s a massive help if the excavation and preparation work is already done. You might be able to save some money here either by doing it yourself or by finding a reliable landscaping contractor. The removal of an existing slab of concrete can cost $35-50 per square metre by itself, nearly doubling the cost.
Can I DIY my own concrete driveway?
Yes and no. If you have experience with concrete, then it could easily be worth it. But if you have no or little experience, then it’s a risk you can’t really afford to take. Many times people have tried to DIY their own concrete driveway with poor results.
The driveway is often not level, and the concrete tends to crack much more rapidly if a DIY project than when using a professional service. The end result, in many instances, is that a professional service has to come along and remove the concrete and redo everything at an enormous additional cost to the homeowner.
What is the cost of maintenance for a concrete driveway?
One of the many benefits of a concrete driveway is that there is practically no maintenance required. You can sweep it every now and again to remove debris or blast it with a power hose to remove dirt and grime. Specialised driveway solutions are also available from local stores.
What might cost you (though it will also extend the lifespan of your driveway) is getting the pathway resealed every five years or so.
Bear in mind that the driveway does not actually have to be sealed. If you have stained concrete, sealing the driveway is more relevant. It’s also important if you live in an area with road salt as this can affect the concrete. Unlike doing your own concrete, which is a job best left to professionals, concrete sealing is a potential area where you can save money if you want to DIY.
Why is stamped concrete so expensive?
Stamped concrete gives your driveway texture and a unique pattern that can come in more than one colour. The concrete is like art in one sense as the installer impresses a design on the concrete.
Unlike an artist, however, you only get one shot with concrete. When it dries, it dries. So it’s harder to get right but is also one of the most distinctive and impressive kinds of driveways available. It is double the price of regular concrete, but your driveway will certainly stand out with stamped concrete.
What’s the most cost-effective kind of concrete driveway?
Coloured and exposed aggregate confer many of the benefits at half the price of stencilling and concrete stamping. This is why these two tend to be more popular than stamped or stencilling, which are more niche. It’s best to take the time to think about what it is that you’re after so you can iron out the costs once and for all.
Pave cut concrete is another option. This is different from concrete pavers and is cheaper. It is plain or coloured concrete that is cut in a particular manner to achieve a similar look to pavers. But you have to find a specialised concrete cutting agency to be able to do it well. There are many creative ways to make a concrete driveway look amazing without paying through the nose for stencilling or stamped concrete.
How do I choose the right concrete professional to get the best driveway?
It’s always important to get the best concrete professional that you can find. But when it comes to stamped and stencilled concrete, you need to be even more selective. Great care, experience, and patience are needed. Ask the concrete professional if they have references, testimonials, and social proofs. Also, ask how long they have been in business. You want to find one that has the experience, above all.
Remember that you don’t want to look for a general builder that happens to do some work with concrete. This might suffice for plain concrete at a stretch, but for more sophisticated kinds of concrete, you will be looking for a service that specialises in it and that has extensive experience.
You’ll also only want to work with concrete professionals that offer a workmanship warranty on products. Otherwise, you won’t have any guarantee that the work will be up to a high standard.
Where can I find expert concrete services in Melbourne?
Check out Concept Concrete. We are a family run business that offers a 78-month warranty on our products. We specialise in concrete driveways and many kinds of surfaces including exposed aggregate, plain, and coloured.
With 15 years of construction experience, an extensive portfolio, and amazing customer testimonials, you can’t go wrong if you choose us for your pathway in Melbourne.
Call now for a detailed quote on 1300 366 343.