Ideally, you should widen your driveway with the same material that it’s made from. But for certain types of driveways like concrete or stone, that can be expensive especially if you are adding a big extension.
In this guide, we discuss some of the best ways to widen a driveway cheaply while ensuring it stays durable and looks nice.
What You'll Learn Today
Should You Widen Your Driveway?
Most homeowners looking to widen their driveway feel that the current one is too narrow.
The ideal driveway width for a single car is 10-12 feet. If you have a large truck, cargo trailer or RV, go with 12 feet.
As for a two car driveway, the ideal width is 20-24 feet depending on the size of the vehicles that will use the driveway.
If you find that you struggle to open the car doors or step out of the car because the driveway is too narrow, an extension will make things easier. You no longer have to step or walk on grass when you get out of the car.
A wider driveway also ensures you don’t drive on the edges, which are weaker and will deteriorate quickly from the sustained strain.
Here are a few other situations when it’s necessary to widen the driveway:
- There’s a new car in the homestead and you want a driveway wide enough to fit two cars side by side.
- You love the aesthetic appeal of a wider driveway.
- You want to add some walking space to the driveway.
- You’ve gotten a bigger vehicle such as an RV and you feel the current driveway is too narrow.
How Much Does It Cost To Widen A Driveway?
If you are widening your driveway with the same material as the existing driveway, you’ll spend about the same per square foot as you did on the current driveway.
If it’s been a few years, prices may have gone up so it’s worth checking before you start the project.
Gravel driveways are the cheapest to expand. It can cost as little as $0.50 per square foot to widen a gravel. Costs can go up to $5 per square foot depending on the thickness of the driveway, number of layers and the type of aggregate you use.
One of the reasons a gravel driveway is cheap to expand is that you can do the work yourself. It’s not as complicated as other types of driveways.
An asphalt driveway costs between $7 and £13 per square foot to expand, and that includes the installation cost. Laying an asphalt driveway is not exactly DIY work.
A concrete driveway extension will cost you between $4 and $15 per square foot, while a paved stone driveway is the most expensive to widen at $10 to $20 per square foot.
Calculate how much total square footage you’ll be adding to the driveway to figure out how much you are likely to spend on the project.
4 Ways To Widen A Driveway Cheaply
If you are looking to save money on your driveway expansion, here are three affordable ways to widen the driveway.
Gravel is by far the cheapest way to widen a driveway. Gravel is cheap to buy and, if you have the time, you can even lay it yourself.
You can use gravel to expand any kind of driveway, whether it’s asphalt, concrete, or paved. The driveway may look a bit unusual with the different materials, but it’s cheap.
To make sure it doesn’t look too bad, you can look for aggregate that is close in color to the rest of the driveway.
You can also use a gravel binder resin to create a smooth solid surface that matches the feel and look of the rest of the driveway.
Of course, if you are extending a gravel driveway with gravel, you don’t have to worry about how it looks. Just make sure you use the same kind of gravel as the one on the driveway.
2. Gravel Pavers
Gravel on its own can look a bit cheap especially when used to widen a concrete or paved driveway. To avoid cheapening your entire driveway, consider using gravel pavers.
These are special grid-like pavers that you place over loose gravel. The pavers bind the gravel together, creating a solid and flat surface.
Gravel pavers also increase the strength of the driveway, prevent gravel from washing off, and improve the aesthetics of the driveway.
Here’s a video showing the installation of gravel pavers.
3. Concrete Pavers
If you have a stone paved driveway, expanding it with stone pavers can be pricey. You can use gravel, but that won’t look very nice.
Concrete pavers are a great alternative. They are cheaper than stone pavers, but look a lot better than gravel. They closely match the look and style of existing stone pavers.
You can use regular concrete pavers or get permeable pavers that easily soak up rain water. These reduce rainwater runoff.
You’ll need a substrate to lay the pavers on. Options include bedding sand, fine gravel, or mortar.
An even cheaper alternative to concrete pavers is poured concrete. You simply add a concrete slab on each side or one side of the driveway.
Don’t worry, it won’t look like an ugly strip of gray next to your beautiful stone driveway. Poured concrete can be made to look really pretty by staining it.
It can even be stamped to give it the same pattern as the rest of the driveway.
Concrete is also long lasting and doesn’t require much maintenance beyond occasionally patching cracks.
Concrete is also the best option for widening a concrete driveway. You get a nice uniform look. You can resurface the existing driveway to also make it look like new.
How To Widen A Driveway
All the above options require proper preparation of the area you want to expand the driveway into. Here are the general steps to follow.
- Decide how much you want to widen the driveway and whether you’ll expand both sides or just one side.
- Outline the area you’ll be expanding. By now, you should have figured out what materials you need and the required amounts.
- If the current driveway has a border or edge, have it demolished by contractors or do it yourself. This allows you to seamlessly combine the current driveway with the new addition.
- Prepare the area you are expanding into. You’ll need to dig the ground and lower it to the same level as the bottom of the current driveway.
- Layer your driveway with the right materials, making sure it ends up level with the existing driveway. However, it’s important to grade it such that water flows off the edge of the driveway.
- Do any final touches such as sealing or staining.
Do You Need A Permit To Widen A Driveway?
This varies from place to place. Check with the local planning or zoning office to find out if you need a permit to work on your driveway.
Some places require homeowners to get a permit if they plan to expand the driveway beyond a certain area.
You may also need a variance if your driveway will exceed the stipulated maximum width.
Will Widening The Driveway Increase The Value Of My Home?
This is a hard one to answer because buyers’ needs vary widely from place to place. Not every potential buyer will see a wider driveway as a big deal.
Remember that most people drive smaller cars and SUVs/crossovers and find regular 10-12 feet driveways to be adequate.
But if your home is in an area where many people own large trucks, cargo trailers, or RVs, then a wider driveway could drive up the value of your home.