How Thick Should A Concrete Driveway Be?

Concrete driveways give the impression of solidity. They support the weight of your car, and sometimes heavier vehicles. Have you ever wondered how thick they really are? This article will tell you the standard thickness a concrete driveway should have, and what determines this thickness.

The Standard Thickness Of Concrete Driveway

If the driveway in question is for a residential place, the standard thickness is 4 inches. This thickness is sufficient for the weight of the average SUV or other cars. This is also the minimum thickness allowed by building codes. Before launching into making a concrete driveway, first check what the local laws that apply to your city or state. The International Residential Building Code stipulates a 3.5 inches minimum for concrete thickness. However, this stipulation doesn’t constitute a hard and fast rule.

Factors That Determine Concrete Driveway Thickness

As stated above, the rules are not etched in stone because of the following factors:

The Purpose of The Concrete Driveway

You need to determine the size and type of vehicle that would be constantly driven over the driveway. Will it be a car? A regular truck, or a half ton truck. This factor will determine the thickness size you eventually settle for, and even the base on which the concrete will be constructed. A 3.5 or 4 inch thickness is sufficient for small cars. However, if the soil in your driveway is loose, a contractor might suggest a thickness of 4 or more inches.

The Type of Soil

A strong support is important for a durable concrete driveway. You need a specialist in soil types to help the engineer determine how thick the concrete on it would be. For example, loamy soil supports concrete better than gravelly soil. The former is more compact.

How Much You Are Prepared To Spend

This refers to your budget—the bigger your budget the more the components that go into the construction of your concrete driveway. Depending on the soil and other non monetary factors, you can increase the thickness of your concrete even if you only want to drive a small car on it. To increase the strength—and of course the thickness—of your concrete, your engineer may include steel. This increases your budget by a lot.

Are You Doing It Yourself (DIY)?

If you want your driveway to be a simple project, you can choose to do it yourself. This may cause you to spend less and stay within a 3 inch thickness. If you are hiring professionals, you’d have to pay for labor, and end up going all the way with the thickness of the concrete driveway.


As you have learnt in this article, first check with the state code for any direct stipulations. In the final analysis, your concrete driveway should not be less than 3 inches. Remember that the stronger the concrete, the more durable it would be. It is also important to not rush into the project especially if you are doing it yourself. Take the factors mentioned here into consideration to prevent making concrete that doesn’t serve you well.

Nick Lewins
Nick Lewins

Concrete Expert and the CEO of ECF - Flooring and concrete company.