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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 7/1/2009


We have a whopping 11,000 SF driveway planned at our new house. This includes the circle driveway, with the approach drive being 16' wide by 425' long. Our county requires a hard surface on the driveway, so you can't leave it just gravel or road base. Asphalt bids were coming in at $50,000+ and of course everything else was up from there.

I found two alternatives. One was to use polypavement.com which is a polymer mixed with your gravel and then compacted to a hard surface. Bids came in for the finished driveway at $25,000 with this product, which is $2.28/SF.

My second option, which we are going with, is to use Travertine driveway pavers. We found pavers at travertinemart.com to be around $2.50/SF and that is the delivered cost. They are in Florida and we are in California, so shipping is obviously an important factor. We also found slightly cheaper travertine pavers through Builddirect.com at $2.39/SF but the sample we received doesn't look as good as the sample from Travertine Mart. These pavers are 8"x16" and will be set in sand over a 6" gravel base. This will enable that massive amount of rain runoff to not run off, but drain through the driveway. Very important, considering our driveway is on a steep hill. 

Now, you ask where is the savings? We can lay the pavers ourselves, whereas all other driveway finishes we can't. I can't count how many DIY shows we have watched on laying your own driveway pavers. It's simple, but time consuming. We figure it will take us about three weeks, working 7 days a week, to lay the entire driveway. However, once finished, that driveway should be worth about $80,000+ in value and only costing us about $30,000 in materials. It's an all around win-win for us.

Pat


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By Michael in Cave Creek, AZ on 7/1/2009


You may also want to consider concrete pavers.  For a driveway of this size, consider using 6x9 or 9x9 pavers if available. The delivered cost should be between $1.40 and $2 per square foot, potentially saving a fair bit of materials.

Before you embark down the path of doing this project yourself without a crew of laborers, consider the scale of your project and your rental equipment needs.
 
To do this job you will also need a vibratory plate compactor and a Bobcat or small tractor with a loader and a gannon. You will be moving 50 to 100 tons of sand in addition to the pavers. Don't forget to include the cost of your sand base, equipment and edging materials. Keep in mind that your own labor isn't really free -- you could always be doing something else. Does spending time relaxing have value? Now? During your build?  Doing that with a wheelbarrow and a shovel is backbreaking.   If I remember right pavers come in 100 SF pallets, so you would be receiving 100-plus pallets of pavers. A person  can lay only one to two pallets a day.

It is probably unrealistic to expect anyone to work on laying pavers seven consecutive days per week due to fatigue.

This is a highly ambitious DIY project based on the sheer weight of the materials involved. If you go for it, expect to be in great shape by the time you are done.

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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 7/1/2009


We own a tractor with a bucket and forks, for lifting pallets, so we would just have to rent the vibrator/compactor.  We've already priced the edging and the sand so that's also factored. 

Concrete pavers are definitely an option should we run short on money, but they won't have the look or value that travertine would have.

Okay, maybe only 6 days a week. HA!  We are both workaholics.


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By Rachal in Janesville, CA on 7/2/2009


Don't forget the value of teenage boys.  When I have projects such as these I often can find teenagers that want to earn some money.  They usually don't stay around for the whole project.  I would set up the road bed and when I'm ready to move tile have them do the picking up and placing.

Where does one find teenage boys?  I call everyone I know and pass the word around work.  I always feed and water the teenagers, which is something you don't have to do with contractors.

I don't envy the job ahead of you.  What kind of maintenance does a road that size require?  Will you have to dump tons of herbicides on it every year?

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By Mary in PA on 7/3/2009


An option to further contain costs might be to consider one type of paving for the turn off from the road and near the house (i.e. the nice stuff) and another type (concrete pavers) for the "thousands of sq. ft of drive over" area in between. Not sure what the transitions between materials would be like, that would need to be worked out for levelness and "looks".

 


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By Grant in Blacksburg, VA on 8/22/2009


This is a smart strategy both to control costs and for "style."  This is a very "massive" driveway structure.  Breaking it up with different materials will provide better visual interest. 

I will be doing a similar driveway on my planned house.  If I go with pavers, I will use the high-end materials at the junction with the street, at the circle in front of the front door of the house, and in "bands" of higher-end pavers at the junctions with the sidewalks (also made from higher-end pavers) and fill in between with cheaper pavers of different color/texture.  You might also consider using higher-end pavers on the edges.  Honestly, that much hardscape with no visual "breaks" would not look as good to me, as a mixture of materials would.  I imagine with the added "style" from the mix of pavers, you will end up with just as good of an appraisal with the mixed materials at a much lower overall cost.


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By TC in Austin/McDade, TX on 10/20/2015


A little late, but I am looking at doing something like this for a LONG circle drive, using the quality at the street and house then breaking up the drive with diagonals of the better material...


One diagonal left to right, then the next right to left to add some color and style to a boring drive.

TC

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