Can I Widen My Driveway Without A Permit? (Find Out Now!)

Ryan Womeldorf
by Ryan Womeldorf

Though it can be overlooked for the most part, your driveway plays an important role in your property. It can be so much more than a place to park your car. It provides comfortable and accommodating access to the back of your home as well.

Over time, you may notice that your driveway is not quite wide enough to accommodate your needs. That would facilitate widening your driveway. Which begs the question of whether or not you need a permit to do so. Generally speaking, you can widen your driveway without a permit so long as you are not interfering with property lines. You also need to be using porous materials, meaning that water can flow through it. If you plan to lower the curb or change the fence line, you may need permission from a neighbor as well as a permit.

Related Guide: Do I Need A Permit To Extend My Driveway?

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Why to Widen Your Driveway

Your driveway may be the last thing on your mind until it becomes an inconvenience. Having a narrow driveway can present more than a few issues. For starters, it limits parking, which facilitates the need to use the street.

Secondly, it can limit your access to the other areas of the property. If you park close to a fence, you may not be able to open the fence or have a difficult time maneuvering. Having narrow driveways may also mean greater difficulty mowing and general upkeep to your lawn when vehicles are parked in the driveway.

Building a Garage

There is also the possibility that you are looking to construct a garage but your current driveway is less than accommodating. When you have a narrow driveway, it can severely limit your choices for garage type and style.

But with an extension or widening of the driveway, you should have the space needed for the right garage. Trying to force the issues may result in making compromises on the garage or building it on a space that is not properly equipped to handle the weight.

Can You Widen Your Driveway Without a Permit?

First and foremost, your municipality is the first place to check. Certain municipalities may not allow for any structural changes to be made without a permit. Start by checking with the building department of your local town hall to find out for certain.

But there is also a good rule of thumb that you can follow. If you are making changes to property lines or raising/lowering the curb, you will definitely have to get a permit. The curb is city property, which makes that obvious. And property lines not only need approval from the city but approval from the neighbor whose property line is in question.

If you are planning to widen your driveway but aren’t impacting either, you should be good to go. That is, of course, provided you are using porous materials. Porous materials allow water to flow through them. That means no risk of flooding because of improper material use.

Things to Consider When Widening a Driveway

If you have decided that your driveway could really use widening, that is the important first step. Next comes determining just what it will cost to have the job done. There is always the possibility of a DIY endeavor, but it is not recommended. It is all too easy for something to go wrong, which could present safety issues for both yourself and your vehicles.

A good driveway extension needs to be installed in a similar manner to the original driveway. You don’t want gaps sticking up here and there. It could damage your car and become a tripping hazard. Not to mention the fact that uneven concrete will not handle weight distribution evenly, which has the potential for cracks and chips.

What Does it Cost to Widen a Driveway?

So, you will want to bring in a professional to do the extension. But even if you are just adding a few inches or feet on either side, it can really rack up costs. There is the excavation, setting up the driveway’s base, and then laying down the full extension.

Moreover, you will pay varying costs depending on the experience of the professional. These professionals won’t just come in and do a halfway job. They will check to ensure that the stability of the driveway is in no way compromised. After all, you don’t want to pay for an expensive extension only to require repairs again in the near future.

You will typically be looking at anywhere from $2 to $15 per square foot. This all depends on the condition of the land and the materials used. In this instance, adding 200 square feet would run anywhere from $400 all the way up to $3,000.

Don’t Skimp on Materials

The costs of widening a driveway can certainly seem daunting. But it is important that this be one of those things you don’t skimp on. Having an installation done that cuts corners will definitely show in more ways than one.

For starters, the driveway will likely be more prone to cracking and shifting. Depending on how unstable the installation is, it can potentially lead to tripping and even damage to your car. Those are costs that you definitely did not plan for.

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Extending Your Driveway Has to Make Sense

Because of the costs involved and the complexity of the installation, you should not have your driveway widened on a whim. It is also imperative that you do not try to save on costs by doing the job yourself. Unless you have experience in laying concrete, there are far too many things that can go wrong.

But there are definite benefits to having your driveway widened. Whether it be better parking accommodations, easier access to the various parts or the yard, or building a garage, it can make a ton of sense to have your driveway widened. If you are having issues with any of the previously mentioned, it may be time to call in a professional and have your driveway widened.

Ryan Womeldorf
Ryan Womeldorf

Ryan Womeldorf has more than a decade of experience writing. He loves to blog about construction, plumbing, and other home topics. Ryan also loves hockey and a lifelong Buffalo sports fan.

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