How Much Does a Heated Driveway Cost?


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 13, 2018

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Shoveling snow can be a chore for just about anyone, regardless of their age, and while some people may enjoy it for the first few days, it starts to become mundane for most.

A heated driveway, a premium option to help melt the snow and ice so you do not have to shovel or hire a professional snow plow service, allows you to sit in the warmth of your home as the heat does all of the work.

Quite costly, most homeowners will not find they will recoup the costs in the future; rather, most do it for the benefits it offers.

How Much Does a Heated Driveway Cost?
snow” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by tsuda

How much does a heated driveway cost?

The cost of a heated driveway will depend on a variety of factors, including the contractor you want to hire, your geographical location, the type of heating system you want (we talk about this below), the type of driveway you currently have, the size of your driveway, the distance to your utility hookup and the scope of the entire job.  For homeowners who already have a driveway installed, a system could cost anywhere from $15 to $25 per square foot for an electric system, with an additional $1,500 to $3,000+ needed to be budgeted for in order to remove your existing driveway to install the system.   However, if you want to retrofit your current driveway without tearing it apart, some contractors can make a series of saw cuts and can add the electric wires inside of these cuts for about $7 to $10 per square foot, depending on the size of your job and the scope of the project.

For new driveways, however, you could bypass the removal charges, and plan for the $15 to $25 per square foot range.

As for a hydronic system, which uses a series of pipes to move hot water, the costs can often be as much as 20 to 30 percent more as this type of system will often require the installation of a new boiler or water heater to ensure the system works properly.

As you can see, there are many factors often involved in offering an estimate, and for that reason, we highly recommend you consider the free quote comparison service, HomeAdvisor.com.  This free tool allows you to explain your job, and with this information, licensed contractors in your area will contact you with a quote for free, with no credit card required.  It’s a great way to save time and gather as many estimates as you can without even picking up the phone.

Type of Job?Average Price
Brand new driveway$15 to $25+ per square foot
Existing driveway + demolition to create new$15 to $25+ per square foot plus another $3,000+ for demolition
Retrofitting your existing driveway with new wiring$7 to $10 per square foot
+ Use pipes instead of electric systemADD 20-30%

One contractor on Thumbtack.com was interviewed and he claimed he would charge $20 per square foot to install a new heated driveway, about $14 per square foot more than a standard concrete driveway install.

With a new heated driveway costing well into the five figures, a more budget-friendly way, heating mats, can be installed in the high trafficked places of your driveway and will cost about $500 to $1,500 each.  Smaller sidewalk heating mats on Amazon.com, for example, can cost as little as $150 per section.  Heattrak.com also has a variety of options to choose from that cost less than $2,500, depending on the size.

Extra costs to think about

Automated thermostat:  Like a home, you can either manually control your heated driveway with a simple on or off switch, or you can leave it up to an automated system.  If you wanted to set it and forget it, then a programmable thermostat, designed to be used during the winter months when a certain temperature is met via sensors, could cost about $200 to $500 more than a manual system.

Custom designs:  This can be said for any driveway install, but if you wanted any design elements as the new driveway was being installed, such as decorative borders or patterns, then it could increase the costs by more than $1 to $3+ per square foot.

Drainage:  Driveways on a slope often need adequate drainage to ensure the water runs off properly when melted.  If the drainage is deemed too poor, then you may need to hire another contractor to dig a trench and/or install a new drainage system to ensure your new driveway doesn’t start to deteriorate faster than it should.

Electricity:  Of course, it will not be free to run in order to operate, and depending on the controls, your electric rates and the options selected for your driveway, it can cost, on average, about $1.60 per hour, according to WarmlyYours.com to heat the entire driveway.  Some contractors also recommend budgeting about $0.25 to $0.50 per square foot to operate each year.

How does a heated driveway work?

The basic concept involves keeping the concrete warm enough to keep the snow melting as it falls to the surface, and there are two common options available:  electric radiant heat and a series of tubes and pipes, commonly referred to as a hydronic system.  Radiant heat, which uses an electric current, will be similar to that of a heated indoor floor and will generate heat across a mat that is installed under the driveway when being installed when activated.  A series of tubes and pipes, on the other hand, will move hot water, often heated by an outdoor boiler, instead of an electric current to help keep the driveway surface warm.  Heated water is pumped through the system and is then mixed with an anti-freeze to prevent this water from freezing, and as the water leaves your driveway, a drain will catch the run-off, taking it away from the driveway area.

Tips to know

Tim Carter at AsktheBuilder.com notes that if an electric cable breaks or a pipe ruptures, it can be nearly impossible to fix them.

Not all types of driveways can be suitable for a heated driveway, according to TheSpruce.com.  For example, concrete and asphalt driveways are suitable for the install, while others are not, so before considering the retrofitting option, just make sure it’s doable.


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