The cost of a heated driveway can range between $1,500 and $7,500, depending on the square footage of your driveway, the heated driveway system you install, and whether you’re installing into a new driveway or retrofitting an old driveway.
A heated driveway melts away accumulated ice and snow, meaning you don’t have to shovel. Eliminating snow or ice also reduces the chance of injury, either from someone slipping or from a car losing control and causing damage to the house. Unless you get lower-performing DIY heated mats, heated driveway installation is a job best left to the pros, as it involves connecting electricity or plumbing in addition to concrete or asphalt work. Here’s a deeper dive into the cost of a new heated drive.
What’s in This Heated Driveway Cost Guide?
- What’s in This Heated Driveway Cost Guide?
- What Affects the Cost of Installing a Heated Driveway?
- How Much Does It Cost to Install a Heated Driveway?
- Type of Heating Method
- Manual vs. Automated Controls
- Cost of Additional Design Elements
- How to Save Money on a Heated Driveway
- How to Hire an Installation Pro
- Benefits of a Heated Driveway
What Affects the Cost of Installing a Heated Driveway?
The type of material of your driveway (concrete or asphalt), the type of heating system you have (electric or hydronic), and any special features you select (decorative work, manual, or automatic) will affect the cost of your new driveway heating system.
How Much Does It Cost to Install a Heated Driveway?
Depending on the specific region, installing a heated driveway costs between $14 and $24 per square foot, which is is at least two or three times as much as putting in a standard concrete driveway with no heating. Once reserved for high-end luxury homes, heated driveways are becoming more common in regions where it snows heavily in the winter. A driveway heated by electric or hydronic (hot water) coils embedded in the concrete or asphalt allows homeowners to flip a switch to melt accumulated snow rather than having to go outside to shovel or blow snow off the driveway. Here is one example of approximate costs:
|New driveway installation (including concrete)||1,000 sq. ft. (20 x 50 feet)||$14-$24 per square foot||$14,000-$24,000 Total project cost|
Pilson of Complete Concrete in Denver, Colorado, estimates that his company charges about $20 per square foot to install a new heated concrete driveway — $14 per square foot more than installing a standard concrete driveway with no heating. Pilson’s prices typically include removal of an existing driveway, taxes, labor, and materials — but that’s not the case with all contractors.
In some cases, concrete contractors can retrofit an existing concrete or asphalt driveway to be heated. The contractor installs an electric system into the driveway after making a series of saw cuts and adding new hardscape material over the newly added electric cables. Average costs to retrofit an existing driveway could start at $7 – $8 per square foot, depending on the size of the project and amount of work required, and go up from there. Retrofitting an existing driveway using electric cables is easier than doing so with a hydronic system because electric cables are thinner in diameter.
When installing a heated driveway, it’s important to have adequate drainage for melted snow. If ice accumulation melts off with nowhere to go, the runoff can create new hazards in your walkways or roadways. If drainage is poor, the contractor — or another professional — will need to dig a trench or install a proper drainage system, which will increase the overall cost of the heated driveway installation.
Type of Heating Method
Most heated driveways either have electric radiant heat, such as that used in heated floors, or hydronic systems that circulate heated water in embedded pipes to warm the concrete and melt snow. Joe Pilson, owner of Complete Concrete in Denver, Colorado, says hydronic systems are more powerful and better suited to outdoor systems such as heated driveways. However, hydronic systems cost 30 percent to 50 percent more than electric snow melting systems and may require installation of a new boiler unit or water heater. The distance between the embedded cabling or tubing and the electrical hookup also affects the total cost of installing a heated driveway. The farther away the utilities are, the higher the installation and operating costs will be.
Manual vs. Automated Controls
Programmable control systems cost about $250 – $600 more than manual systems. As with home heating systems, homeowners can add a control system to their heated driveway. Some systems allow homeowners to turn the heated driveway on manually using a switch or dial. Others can be programmed to come on automatically in the winter months. Programmable control systems cost about $250 – $600 more than manual systems.
Cost of Additional Design Elements
As with a standard concrete driveway, custom design elements such as stamped patterns and borders increase the overall cost of installing a heated driveway. Adding a stamped border to a 500-square-foot driveway, for example, costs about $800 – $1,500 extra.
How to Save Money on a Heated Driveway
The most budget-friendly way to heat a driveway is to purchase heating mats and place them in the tire tracks where you will be driving in and out. Instead of having a professional contractor install a radiant heating system into your entire driveway surface, you just buy mats, lay them on your driveway, and plug them in. Large heated mats can cost $700 – $1,500, but depending on the brand and the heating elements used, the cost may be much lower. In one example, a 20-inch x 60-inch mat costs $145. You would need at minimum two mats (one for each car tire track), or, depending on the length of your driveway, multiple mats. For a standard driveway, costs could start at approximately $600 for four mats, for entry-level products.
Heated driveway mats work best if you lay them down before ice buildup has accumulated. The advantages of heated driveway mats are pricing, the DIY component, and the fact that you can take them with you if you move. You can also transfer them to your sidewalk as needed. The disadvantages are that they are not as powerful or reliable as a built-in radiant snow melting system, nor do they have automatic sensors.
How to Hire an Installation Pro
When hiring an installation professional, always be sure to have a signed contract outlining the scope of work, the materials that will be used, payment milestones, and timeframe. It’s normal to pay a deposit upfront for this type of work, but if someone is asking for payment in full before work starts, be wary. In addition, Pilson of Complete Concrete recommends asking:
- Are you insured? The pro’s business insurance will protect your property as well as the professional installers in case of accident or injury.
- How long have you been in business? A company that’s been operating for a long time will have experience installing the right kinds of systems for your climate.
- Do you have references? Ask to read reviews or speak with past customers.
- Do you subcontract your work? Make sure you’re comfortable with the pros who will be working on your property.
Benefits of a Heated Driveway
People who live with snowstorms and ice storms and spend hours shoveling snow understand the benefits of a heated driveway. Most importantly, a snow-melt system increases vehicle and pedestrian safety in and around your driveway. A heated driveway saves you time and hard work by eliminating the need to shovel out your car when you want to leave your home. In addition, a heating system helps protect new driveways from excessive weather damage. Concrete driveways exposed to extreme cold can experience spalling, scaling, and cracking. Asphalt driveways exposed to repeated cycles of freeze and thaw will experience potholes, crumbling, and cracking. An automated driveway heating system regulates the temperature of your driveway to avoid those damaging extreme colds. Investing in a heated driveway up front can save money on driveway repair in the long run.