Heated Driveway Cost Guide: Installation Tips & Contractor Cost
Find out how much a heated driveway costs and what’s the best man for the job. You will find all details in our heated driveway cost guide as well as up to 4 free contractor quotes.
No one wants to go through the pain shoveling snow off their driveway so that they can get their car out. If you have ever woken up to a driveway full of snow, you already know how frustrating it can be not to mention the inconveniences. Whether you are doing it yourself or paying someone, scooping and shoveling ice and snow from your driveway is a hassle that you would not willingly want to subject yourself to. If you live in regions that experience harsh cold weather that results in ice and snow accumulation, you should be thinking of heated driveway.
A snow-covered driveway will consume most of your time as you try to shovel snow away to make the driveway usable. It is extremely dangerous to walk or drive on a snow-covered driveway. The chances of slipping and falling thus exposing yourself to risks of serious injuries are extremely high.
It is essential to make sure that your driveway is always clear of snow and ice during winter to protect your safety and those of other people like your family members, friends and other people frequenting your home.
Most people think of heated driveway as an extravagant project to undertake. But this is not the case. If someone gets injured from slipping and falling on your snow-covered driveway, you might actually be held liable. You might end up making an insurance household claim which might affect your insurance credibility in future.
As a homeowner, you should not think of heated driveway as a little bit extravagant particularly if you live in a climate where snowing and ice is the order of the day. A heated driveway is a modern technology that is not is so expensive contrary to the misconception that most people have of its installation. But, the installation of the heated driveway will keep you and family safe and spare you a lot of time in shoveling the snow and ice off your driveway.
A heated driveway is a system that is installed underneath your driveway to keep your driveway free of snow and ice completely. It is a radiant heat system that can be installed indoors and outdoors. For outdoor use, a heated driveway is quite beneficial for any homeowner who lives in a snowy climate.
This is how a heated driveway works; when temperatures drop or are extremely low, the heated water and antifreeze will be pumped into the heated driveway tubing. It will then melt any snow or ice that accumulates on your driveway and keep the driveway clear. All these processes can be done by a simple flip of a switch from the comfort of your home. You will then watch as the snow miraculously melts away to leave a clear driveway that you can safely walk on or drive by.
Benefits of Installing a Heated Driveway
Are you among the group of people who think investing in a heated driveway is an extravagant move? If so, you need to keep reading this guide to be enlightened about the benefits of a heated driveway. Other than keeping you safe, there are lots of benefits of installing heated driveway in your home. This guide will look at the majority of the reasons why you should invest in a heated driveway, so keep on reading to be informed.
Saves You Time
This one is pretty obvious, right? Heated driveway means you do not spend your morning hours shoveling snow off your driveway so that you can manage to get your car out. Shoveling ice and snow off our driveway can be time-consuming and one huge hassle that will leave you drained and tired.
Besides, who wants to be caught up in the freezing cold outside removing snow from a driveway early in the morning? Not only will you get late for your scheduled tasks, but also, the hassle of shoveling snow will certainly spoil your day and even your mood.
Most people who live in regions that experience snow due to cold climate have to wake up early in the morning to start shoveling snow off their driveway and warm their cars. This is the only way they can get their cars from the garage to the street so that they can go to work, school, attend appointments or run their errands.
If you install a heated driveway, you will not have to go through this demanding process. Instead, you will just get into your car and drive off on your driveway without having to worry about accumulated snow or ice patches that can jeopardize your safety.
A heated driveway will melt the snow off your driveway and leave it clear and safe to drive or walk by. It will melt the snow faster, within a short period than manually removing the snow by yourself. Compared to removing by yourself, the heated driveway will save you a lot of time especially in the mornings, and you can conveniently carry on with your without unnecessary delays right from your doorstep.
Saves You Money
The installation of heated driveway might seem like an expensive cost that you might not want to incur. But if you think about the time you will be wasting shoveling off snow or paying someone to regularly clear and clean your driveway; it will be a worthy investment.
Heated driveway means fewer labor costs in situations where you have to hire someone to shovel the snow away from your driveway. In fact, with manual removal of snow, you risk scraping and chipping some parts of your pavements with shovels which will continuously cost you money on repairs.
Additionally, heated pavement will save you the hassle of treating the driveway with salts and spending on other snow melting chemicals which end up damaging your cars and driveway. Majority of the heated driveways are actually economical to operate once they have been installed.
Minimizes Safety Concerns
Heated driveway eliminates the risks slipping and falling which can lead to severe injuries. Ice is extremely slippery, and it would be risky even to walk let alone drive on such a driveway. A snow-covered driveway is not safe to drive on, and it can lead to fatal accidents.
In addition to the risk of injuries as result of slips and falls, snow shoveling is considered a health concern. Not only can it cause slips and falls, but you also risk back pains, joint injuries, muscle strain, hypothermia, and frostbite. If you install heated driveways, you will eliminate all these risks, and your driveway will be a safe place to walk or drive.
Reduces Salt Damage
If you install heated driveway, you will no longer need to de-ice your driveway. This means that you do not need to use rock salt, calcium chloride or harsh chemicals to de-ice your driveway.
Salt has a damaging effect on your pavement as it accumulates and gets trapped in the small crevices of the concrete or asphalt. As the salt thaws and freezes, the effects will be seen in your deteriorating pavements. Additionally, the salt can also damage vehicles and the adjacent vegetation. More so, deicers can be a health hazard if mistakenly ingested by children or pets.
If your heated driveway was properly installed, there is nothing you will need to maintain it other than operating it. If during installation the heating elements of your heated driveway were evenly spaced and large and no sharp stones were used on the driveway, there will be minimal to zero maintenance. In addition, heated driveways have no removable parts that will require replacement or maintenance.
Nowadays there are models of a heated driveway that are fully automated. A fully automated heated driveway means that it has in place systems that can automatically detect when there is a presence of snow on the drive; or, it senses when there is a drop in temperature to a certain level. When the system detects these changes, it automatically melts and clears the snow or ice on the driveway.
The beauty of a fully automated heated driveway is that it allows you to adjust its settings in the comfort of your house. This is because you can have the panel installed inside your where you can easily operate it.
How Heated Driveways Work
Heated driveways are one of the amenities in your home that you should not lack. As mentioned earlier, a heated driveway is used for snow removal to make your driveway passable and safe. People who live in regions that have cold climate understand the frustration of dealing with a driveway covered with snow or one that is slippery because of ice. Heated driveway can save you countless hours of shoveling snow from your driveway and make it safe to access or leave your home.
But you might be wondering how this great amenity works to solve your snow or ice nightmares on your driveway. Heated driveway works mainly by keeping your driveway warm enough to melt ice and falling snow when it comes to contact with the surface. This way, there will be no snow build-up that can block your way out or back to your home.
The basic idea of a heated driveway is to melt snow. A heated driveway consists of four main elements which include:
- A heating element whose function is to radiate heat right through the concrete or asphalt from a few inches below the surface
- A temperature sensor that is designed to detect temperature changes and it will automatically start the heating process
- A power source which has a cord that connects to an electrical outlet for powering the heated driveway
- A control panel which allows you to manually adjust the heated driveway’s heat or preset it to adjust the heat with or without your presence automatically
Types of Heated Driveways
Heated driveways are available in two different types. Both of them work effectively to melt snow and ice accumulated on your pavements. But each of these two heated driveway systems has its own set of advantages and functions. The two types of heated driveway include:
- Hydronic systems
- Radiant heat (electric coil)
Hydronic systems – this type of heated driveway is designed to use water-based antifreeze mixture which circulates through the PVC tubing to heat the pavement and the surface above. A pump usually circulates the anti-freeze mixture.
For the hydronic system to work properly, you have to purchase a boiler, tubing and you must prepare the concrete work. As a result, all these requirements make this option of a heated driveway a bit expensive to install. But the advantage of the hydronic system is that they are relatively cheap to run once installed.
Radiant heat (electric coil) – this type of heated driveway uses electric coils which are usually installed in concrete or asphalt pavement. They are then wired and connected to an electrical outlet for power. During installation, the electric cables have to be spaced well, at least two inches apart. They are then buried below the surface by few inches.
During installation, the heated pavement will be equipped with a sensor whose work is to activate the cables. This is done through a control panel that comes with the heated driveway system. This type of heated driveway system gives you the freedom to automate its operation depending on the temperature level you choose. You can also operate the control panel manually and change the preset settings as you wish.
Cost of Installing a Heated Driveway
The basic reason for installing heated floors is to keep the driveway warm enough to melt snow and ice during the winter season. In the past, heated driveways were considered as a luxury, and they could only be found in high-end luxury homes. However, heated driveways are now becoming common to a majority of homeowners, particularly in regions that experience cold climate frequently.
The cost of installing heated driveway will depend on various factors such as region, the size of your driveway and the contractor costs. Generally, the cost of heated driveway ranges from $14 to $22 per square foot. If you have an average driveway, expect to spend around $1300 to $7500 for a radiant heating system, and the average cost comes to $3892.
If you are installing a hydronic heating system, you need to be aware that this type of heated driveway installed below an existing driveway. The cost of installing hydronic heating system ranges from $4000 to $5000. This cost includes the boiler, tubing for a specific area, and controllers. Typically, installation of hydronic heating units usually cost more than electric heating systems. This is because their installation requires putting up a new boiler unit or installing a new water heater.
During installation of a hydronic heating system, the distance of the tubing will affect the overall cost of installation. This is usually the distance between the entrenched tubing and the point of electric hookup. If the distance is far away, expect the installation cost to be higher.
If you are installing a new asphalt heated driveway, you will spend an average cost of about $4500, and the cost can go as high as $33500 or even more. This will include the radiant heating system, materials required for the installation a new asphalt driveway and the installation of these two. However, this cost does not include the removal of the existing driveway.
Also, it’s worth noting that the size of the driveway plays a big role in the overall cost of installation. The size of the part of the new driveway that needs to be heated and the operation mode of the heating system; whether manual or automatically controlled will also affect the overall cost of installing a new asphalt heated driveway.
For example, if you are installing a standard two car asphalt heated driveway of about 12-foot x 50foot, expect to spend about $8550. If you are installing a new asphalt driveway of about a quarter mile, expect to spend a cost of about $33,500 or even in some cases. In fact, the cost of installing a new asphalt heated driveway for the high-end driveways can cost around $65,000 to $300,000.
For a new concrete heated driveway, you are looking at an average cost of about $2200 to $14,200. This cost includes the driveway and the heating system. However, you should note that the mentioned cost does not include the removal of the existing driveway.
Typically, the cost of installing new asphalt heated driveway is usually higher than that of a new concrete heated driveway. If you are installing an average concrete heated driveway, your total cost should come to about $7,550. The driveway costs usually total to about $1850 to $6050, and the rest of the cost will be for the heating system.
Other additional costs
The additional costs you should expect during the installation of the heated driveway should be the cost of demolishing an old driveway.
Removal of an old asphalt driveway – DIY and professional costs
Expect to spend an average cost of about $500 to $1100 on labor cost for professional removal of an asphalt driveway.
Most contractors charge about $2.60 to $3.55 per square foot to remove an old asphalt driveway. However, smaller jobs may end up costing more per square foot than a relatively larger driveway. For example, a short driveway of about 10×20 feet to 12×25 feet can cost an average cost of about $550 to $1200 on professional removal. However, cost of removal will depend on the size of the driveway, the thickness of the asphalt driveway and gravel base.
If you choose to DIY, the removal cost of asphalt driveway might be zero to about $100 -$550. In some regions, the DIY cost might be more than the indicated costs. The cost difference is usually due to the local dumping charges, the cost of renting the equipment required for the demolition process, and the size of the asphalt driveway to be removed.
Generally, renting an electric jackhammer, in most regions will cost you about $60 to $120. You also need to rent a concrete saw especially if you are removing a specific part of asphalt to leave a straight line. Expect to spend about $35 to $55 on renting a concrete saw and an extra $25 to $130 for wear if you are using a diamond-tipped blade.
If you have a larger project, you will need to rent a small backhoe or a skid steer that has an attachment for the removal of asphalt. These can cost about $160 to $355 per day. After the removal of asphalt driveway, you have to dispose of the debris. The good news is that asphalt is actually recyclable and so, it might cost you nothing to dispose of the debris. But, if you are being charged for the dumping of asphalt debris, you should expect to spend about $5 to $40 for a truckload.
Removal of an old concrete driveway – DIY and professional costs
If you are demolishing a concrete driveway, a contractor will charge you an average cost of $1000 to $2600. If your concrete driveway is built with reinforced concrete which means its embedded with steel mesh or other metal rods and rebar, it will require the use of heavy equipment. Removal of an unreinforced concrete driveway, on the other hand, is usually a manageable task that can be done through DIY.
If you are planning to remove unreinforced concrete driveway through DIY, you will require a sledgehammer, jackhammer, a concrete saw or a backhoe that has a breaker attachment. The cost of concrete removal through DIY can cost you nothing or $55 to $500. The cost will depend on the amount of time taken for the removal process, the cost of renting or buying the required equipment and the local dumping or recycling fees.
Typically, if you are renting a jackhammer, expect to rent it at a rate of about $60 to $120 per day; a concrete saw will cost you $35 to $55 to rent, and you might spend an additional $25 to $130 for wear if you are using a diamond-tipped blade. A small skid-steer that has an attachment can cost about $160 to $355 to per day.
When it comes to removing an old concrete driveway through DIY, the bulk of the work is in the hauling away and disposing of the collected debris. In some regions, you might be charged relatively low charges for recycling concrete. However, in some areas, the cost of disposing of or dumping concrete debris comes to about $300 to $800 for a concrete driveway of about standard two cars.
If you find the work of demolishing the unreinforced concrete driveway too much or involving, you can hire a handyman to assist with the work. They will break the concrete and haul it away for $100 to $500 for an average driveway or $600 to $900 for a bigger job.
A contractor can also demolish the driveway before installing the heated driveway. For a job that lasts about two to four hours, a contractor will charge you from $250 to $550.
In some cases, if you are installing a heated driveway, it might not be necessary to install a completely new driveway. It is actually possible to have the tubing run on the existing driveway. However, some factors will determine if it’s possible to replace your driveway which includes soil compaction, whether there are trees near the driveway and the time of the year.
However, it’s always a good idea to replace your old driveway when installing a heated driveway. Replacing an old driveway is sure to install heated driveway correctly and to make sure everything below the surface is running as it should. In most situations where heating systems are installed under an existing driveway lack warranties or even if they come with warranties, they will be restricted, and they may not cover a lot.
As you plan to install a heated driveway, it’s essential that you decide whether it’s better to retrofit the heated driveway system below the existing driveway; or, if you would rather remove the existing driveway and replace it with a new one as you install your heating system.
Installing a new driveway can be costly, but it gives you better options for the available driveway heating systems. In fact, you will be able to install radiant heaters which are cost friendly and require less power to heat compared to electric cable systems.
Heated Driveway Mats
Portable heated driveway mats are an alternative option to a fully built-in heated driveway. They serve the same purpose as built-in heating systems only that they are a cheaper option. If you are cost conscious, a portable heated mat should be the next option to keep your driveway warm during the cold season.
The cost of portable heated driveway mats varies depending on the size of the mat. The average cost of portable heated driveway mats ranges from $1000 to $2530 for the long ones. Alternatively, you can have the mats custom built for you if you wish. The cost will be based on the size of the mat and voltage.
|Types of heated driveway and installation||Description||Average cost|
|Average national cost of installing a heated driveway||Cost can vary with different regions||$14-$22 per square foot|
|Average total cost of installing a heated driveway||A standard driveway||$1300-$7500|
|Hydronic heated driveway||Includes the boiler, tubing, and controllers||$4000-$5000|
|Radiant heated driveway||$3,892|
|New asphalt heated driveway||$4000-$33500|
|New concrete heated driveway||$7,550|
|Heated driveway mats||$1000-$2530|
|Demolishing an old driveway||description||Average cost|
|Asphalt driveway professional removal||Per square foot||$2.60-$.355|
|Professional removal costs of concrete driveway||2-4 hours job||$250-$550|
|DIY driveway removal costs||$100-$500|
|Renting an electric jackhammer||$60-$120|
|Renting a concrete saw||$35-$55|
|Renting a small backhoe||$160-$355|
|Disposing of asphalt debris||$5-$40 a truckload|
|Disposing of concrete debris||$300-$500|
|Hiring a handyman to remove an existing concrete driveway||$100-$500|
Factors to Consider When Before Installing Heated Driveway System
As we mentioned earlier, heated driveways are systems put underneath concrete or asphalt pavements to warm the driveway and keep it free from snow and ice. But before you consider installing one in your home, you need to consider the following factors to avoid unnecessary costs and getting surprised at the overall cost of installation.
Heating system – Before installation, you need to decide whether the heating system will use your home’s heating system or you would prefer to have a heating system only designed for the heated driveway operations. This is an important decision to make especially if you live in a region where its cold for the better of the year. This means that your driveway heating system will be in use frequently and it will require a constant supply of heat. Having an independent heating system for the heated driveway will ensure efficiency and your home’s heating system will not be overloaded.
Control scheme – when you are planning to install heated driveways, the type of control scheme to use is an important factor to consider. You have a choice between manually operated system or automatic controls.
Manually operated heated driveway systems are considered to be less efficient, but they still work perfectly to remove snow and melt ice in your driveway. Technically, a manual system relies on you to predict when it’s about to snow and activate the system yourself.
The cold start system can be an issue especially when the snow has already accumulated before you activate the heating system. You will only manage to melt some of the snow, and you might end up having a dead-air space that makes the situation worse by serving as an insulator. It will take hours to melt the build-up snow using a manual heating system eventually.
With automated heated driveway system, the systems are always on a constant operation, running on low levels until when it starts to snow. At this point, the automated system will detect the drop in temperature outside and signal the controls to start running at higher levels.
With an automated heated driveway, there is no chance of the snow building up, and any little snow will be melted quickly leaving your driveway clear and safe for use. Even though it’s an expensive option, an automated system is a better option than manually controlled heating systems.
If possible, you should avoid the manual heating system. Heated driveways that use automated heating systems have sensors that help keep track of changes in temperature and also detect moisture. The automated systems are set ready at all times to ensure there is no chance of snow accumulating, unlike the manual controls. The sensors will notify the system when to get ready for the coming snow.
Heat source – before you start the installation of a heated driveway, you have to decide on the heat source. Will you use hot water or electricity? Heated driveway system that relies on hot water, i.e., hydronic systems have a high initial installation cost, but this kind of a system will save you a significant amount of money in the long run. On the other hand, electric systems are maintenance free.
Cost material – you have to consider the cost materials needed for the installation of a heated driveway. Just like any other construction project, the cost of material will vary from one region to another depending on the size of the project.
The size of the driveway – the size of the driveway you are planning to install will determine the size and the cost of heated driveway system to install.
Will you replace or retrofit the existing driveway? – As mentioned earlier in this guide you can choose to retrofit your existing driveway and install the tubing for the heated driveway system. Alternatively, you can opt to tear down the old driveway and change the material to one that can be retrofitted. This way, you will have a wide variety of heated driveway options for installation.
Cost of Operating Heated Driveway Systems
The cost of operating heated driveway varies greatly depending on the extreme the winter season gets. It goes without saying the colder the climate in your region, the higher the operating costs of your driveway heating system will be. Clearly, if you are experiencing extreme cold climate in your region, your heating system will continuously work to keep your driveway from accumulating snow and ice.
Whether you choose to install an electric heating system or hydronic one, you will still need to use more energy to be able to operate the heated driveway system. Generally, if you live in an area where the winter season is usually on the extreme, you should expect to spend 0.25 to 0.50 per square foot each year using a typically heated driveway. On regions where the cold season does not get severe, you should expect to spend about $0.10 to 0.25 per square foot with the same heated driveway system in a year.
Additionally, the cost of operation will also depend on the cost of electricity in your area. In fact, this factor can make you opt to use a hydronic system if the electricity costs are high. With an electricity system, you will have no other option for an energy source, while with a hydronic system, you can use other power sources such as natural gas or even propane.
Heated driveways may seem like an expensive project to undertake for an average homeowner, but the benefits are worth the cost of installing one. They save the hassle of having to shovel snow early in the morning when you are rushing for an urgent appointment. They also keep your driveway safe and prevent chances of slipping and falling risking fatal injuries.
Even if you manage to pay someone to shovel the accumulated snow, it will only be temporary and sometimes might the services might not be available when you are urgently in need of them. Heated driveway technically keeps your driveway warm enough to avoid snow buildup and makes your driveway accessible and easy to use during winter.