How much does a heated driveway cost?
$12 – $28 Per square foot installed
$6,900 – $16,000 Average total for 2-car driveway
$6,900 – $16,000 Average total for 2-car driveway
A heated driveway costs $12 to $28 per square foot to install with concrete or asphalt. Radiant driveway heating systems cost $9,600 to $22,400 on average, depending if it's electric or hydronic. DIY heated driveway mats cost $1,600 each. Retrofitting a snow melt system costs $7 to $17 per square foot.
Get free estimates from driveway contractors near you or view our cost guide below.
Heated driveway cost
Heated driveway installation costs $12 to $28 per square foot with concrete or asphalt. Radiant driveway heating systems cost $9,600 to $22,400 on average, depending if it's electric or hydronic. The operating cost to run a heated driveway is $120 to $600 annually. DIY snow melting driveway mats cost $1,600.
|12’ x 24’ (1-Car • 288 SF)||$3,400 – $8,000|
|24’ x 24’ (2-Car • 576 SF)||$6,900 – $16,000|
|36’ x 24’ (3-Car • 864 SF)||$10,000 – $24,000|
|2'x20' DIY heated driveway mat||$1,600 each|
- A radiant electric or hydronic system is installed beneath the new driveway's surface to melt snow.
- Installing a hydronic system requires removing the existing driveway, laying insulation and tubing, and paving with new concrete or asphalt.
- Electric systems can be installed in an existing driveway, but may void the warranty and costs more to run.
- Heating only the tire tracks reduces installation and operating costs.
- Costs $120 to $600 per winter to operate.
- Takes 5 days to 3 weeks to install.
Average cost of a heated driveway
The following table shows the average cost to install radiant driveway heating with new asphalt or concrete.
|National average cost||$14,600|
|Average range||$6,900 to $22,400|
*Based on 231 project costs reported by HomeGuide members.
Cost to install a heated driveway
Heated driveway systems can be topped with asphalt, concrete, or pavers. A heated concrete or asphalt driveway costs $12 to $28 per square foot. Installing a snow melt system in a driveway with pavers costs $19 to $50 per square foot.
|Driveway material||Average cost per square foot|
|Asphalt||$12 – $27|
|Concrete||$13 – $28|
|Pavers||$19 – $50|
*Includes installation of heated system and pavement.
Heated concrete driveway cost
A heated concrete driveway costs $13 to $28 per square foot or $6,500 to $17,000 total on average for a 2-car driveway. This price does not include removing an existing driveway. In comparison, a standard concrete driveway costs $4 to $8 per square foot without heating.
Heated asphalt driveway cost
A heated asphalt driveway costs $12 to $27 per square foot or $6,000 to $16,000 total on average for a 2-car driveway. In comparison, a standard asphalt driveway costs $3 to $7 per square foot without a snow melt system.
Hot asphalt can melt hydronic tubing if proper precautions aren't taken during installation. Ensure the contractor flushes the tubing with a cold liquid solution until the freshly poured asphalt has cooled.
Heated paver driveway cost
A heated paver driveway costs $19 to $50 per square foot or $11,000 to $28,000 total on average for a 2-car driveway. In comparison, a standard paver driveway costs $10 to $30 per square foot without a radiant heating system.
Heated driveway retrofit cost
Retrofitting an existing driveway with heat costs $7 to $17 per square foot, depending on the driveway material and if it's covering the whole driveway or the tire track areas only. Retrofitting may void the warranty and costs more to run due to the lack of insulation underneath.
|Factor||Average cost per square foot|
|Electric retrofit system cost||$6 – $10|
|Concrete resurfacing cost||$3 – $7|
|Asphalt resurfacing cost||$1 – $3|
|Total cost||$7 – $17|
Adding an electric snow melt system to an existing driveway starts by cutting thin grooves in the pavement, embedding the electric heating cables with proper spacing, and resurfacing the grooves.
Before retrofitting an existing driveway, consider the driveway's age and condition. Adding a heating system when replacing the driveway is more cost-effective.
Heated driveway mats cost
Portable heated driveway mats cost $40 per square foot or $1,600 for a 2'x20' mat to only cover the tire track area. Driveway snow melting mats have a non-slip surface, plug into a standard 120V outlet, and typically don't require the installation of extra electrical circuits.
Heated driveway mats can be laid on the driveway at the start of winter and rolled up and stored for the rest of the year.
Heated stairs, walkway, and sidewalks cost
Heated walkway and sidewalk mats cost $140 to $395, depending on length. Heated stair mats cost $55 to $100 per step. Controllers for portable snow melting mats cost $35 to $70.
Driveway heating systems cost by type
The two types of heated driveway systems are electric and hydronic:
Electric coil heated driveway cost
Electric heated driveways use a grid of heating cables beneath the surface to radiate heat upward and melt the snow. Electric heating systems require less warm-up time and are cheaper to install and maintain but may cost more to run, depending on local utility rates.
Electric snow melt systems require dedicated circuits and may require an upgraded electrical panel, depending on the size of the area being heated:
- Electricians charge $40 to $100 per hour to install new circuits.
- Upgrading an electrical panel costs $2,000 to $4,000 for a 400-amp panel.
For safety, National Electric Code 426-13 requires homeowners to install a plaque stating an electric snow melting system is present beneath the driveway. Plaques cost $38 to $76.
Hydronic heated driveway cost
Hydronic heated driveways use a boiler to heat a mixture of water and glycol and a pump to circulate the hot liquid through PEX tubing beneath the driveway's surface. Hydronic snow melt systems cost more to install and repair but typically cost less to run, depending on the fuel source.
Hydronic systems require a dedicated boiler and can't be powered by the home's existing boiler or hot water heater. The boiler should be installed indoors for easy repair during storms and may require an annual inspection. Boiler installation costs $3,200 to $9,000 on average.
Alternative energy sources
- Geothermal heated driveway – Geothermal heat pumps are not effective for heated driveway systems because they do not generate enough BTUs at the speed required to melt snow. A different fuel source must supplement geothermal systems.
- Solar heated driveway – Solar power is not adequate for heating a driveway because the sunshine needed to generate power is not available during snowstorms. Heated driveway systems use enough power to quickly deplete a solar battery bank before the snow fully melts.
Driveway snow-melt system cost factors
Driveway snow-melt systems cost $12 to $28 per square foot, depending on the type of system, sensor, and controller, and whether concrete or asphalt is used. Driveway incline, site conditions, drainage, and proximity to electric and gas connections also impact the price.
|Cost factor||Average cost per square foot|
|Removing old driveway*||$1 – $3|
|Heating system||$9 – $20|
|New asphalt or concrete||$3 – $8|
|Total||$12 – $28|
*Total not including the removal of an existing driveway.
Snow melt systems require installation by a licensed mechanical, plumbing, or electrical contractor and a licensed paving contractor for the warranty to be valid.
Ensure the contractor installs 1" to 2" of foam insulation between the subbase and the heating cables or hydronic tubing to prevent heat loss into the ground below the driveway. Without insulation, more than 50% of the heat is lost.
Automatic radiant heat driveway cost
Automatic snow melting systems cost $500 to $3,500 extra to install. Sensors detect temperature and moisture and activate the driveway heater when snow begins to fall. The system turns off automatically after the snow melts and the pavement is dry enough to prevent ice from forming.
|Aerial sensor||$170 – $600|
|In-pavement sensor||$560 – $1,400|
|Sensor socket (for in-pavement sensors only)||$90 – $320|
|Controller (standard)||$350 – $1,300|
|Controller (wi-fi enabled)||$1,000 – $2,000|
- Aerial sensors mount on a pole next to the driveway.
- In-pavement or slab sensors are installed in a socket in the driveway's surface.
- Standard controllers monitor the sensor and automatically trigger the heated system when needed.
- Wi-fi controllers allow operating via a smartphone app and may connect to a local weather forecasting system to start heating before a storm arrives.
When installing an automated snow melt system, position the sensor in the first place where snow lands. Avoid placing the sensor in vehicle tire tracks or areas protected by bushes or the roof.
Manually controlled snow-melt systems
Manually controlled systems are activated with an on/off switch. The downside to a manual system is that the homeowner must be home and awake to turn it on. If snow has already accumulated on the driveway before the system is activated, melting the snow make take several hours.
Adequate drainage is crucial for heated driveway systems. Melted snow with nowhere to go refreezes as dangerous black ice on the surface. The driveway should slope away from the home, and the contractor may need to dig additional trenches for run off. New drainage systems cost $1,000 to $4,000.
Pipes and gutters used for drainage may also require heat cables from the snow melt system to prevent ice blockages.
Custom design elements
Adding custom design elements like colors or a stamped pattern to a heated concrete driveway increases the installation cost by $4 to $8 per square foot. Borders featuring stone or brick pavers cost $10 to $17 per square foot.
- Zone coverage heats only one section of the driveway at a time and takes longer to melt all the snow but may prevent the need for an electric panel upgrade.
- Heating only the tire tracks – two 24" wide strips that run the length of the driveway – reduces installation and operating costs.
Cost to run a heated driveway
The operating cost to run a 1,000 square foot heated driveway is $120 to $600 per winter, depending on the system type, annual snowfall, and local utility rates. Heated driveway systems cost $4 to $8 per hour in electricity per 1,000 square feet, depending on local electricity rates.
|Type||Annual operating cost|
|Hydronic system||$120 – $250|
|Electric system||$250 – $600|
Heated driveway pros and cons
- No need for plowing, shoveling, or using a snowblower. Save time and hard work by letting the system melt the snow instead.
- Increase safety by eliminating the risk of slip-and-fall accidents that often occur while shoveling.
- Prevent ice accumulation and ice build-up from forming during freezing rains.
- No need for deicing with rock salt or chemicals that damage pavement, cars, and the surrounding landscape.
- No need to wait for a snowplow or snow shoveling service to show up after each storm.
- Save money on snow removal costs of $30 to $70 per visit or yearly contracts of $200 to $600 per season.
- Keep interior floors cleaner by preventing snow and ice from getting tracked inside.
- Extend the driveway's life by avoiding concrete spalling and cracks caused by frozen water.
- No maintenance. There should be little to no maintenance costs with a proper installation of the heating elements.
- High upfront cost – Heated driveway system installation costs $12 to $28 per square foot.
- Operating expenses run $120 to $600 per winter to heat a 1,000 square foot driveway.
- Costly heated driveway repairs include replacing the controller, sensors, or hydronic boiler. Some repairs may require tearing up a section of the driveway to reach electric cables or hydronic tubing underneath.
- Concrete driveways may crack if the heat in a hydronic system is not evenly distributed.
How heated driveway systems work
Snow melting driveways use radiant heat generated by electric heating cables or hot liquid pumped through hydronic tubes to warm the driveway's surface, similar to indoor radiant floor heating. Heated driveway systems can activate manually or automatically to melt snow as soon as it begins to fall.
What runs a radiant driveway snow melting system?
Radiant snow melting driveway systems use a boiler to heat a mixture of water and antifreeze and circulate the hot liquid through tubing that runs beneath the driveway's surface. Electric systems use heated cables beneath the driveway to radiate heat upward and melt the snow.
How long does it take to install a heated driveway?
Heated driveway installation takes 5 days to 3 weeks, depending on the driveway's size and the type of snow melt system.
Is a heated driveway worth it?
Heated driveways improve safety, reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents, and save homeowners from shoveling snow or paying a snow removal service $200 to $600 per season. Installation involves a large upfront cost but may lower your homeowners' insurance premium.
Do heated driveways add value to a home?
Heated driveways add value to a home and increase its appeal to potential buyers. Heated driveway systems are a significant selling point in regions with heavy snowfall.
Can you heat an existing driveway?
Yes, an electric heating system can be added to an existing driveway without tearing up the pavement. Adding a hydronic snow melt system requires removing the current driveway first and repaving afterward.
What is the best way to heat a driveway?
The best way to heat a driveway is to install a radiant heating system beneath the surface. Hydronic snow-melt systems circulate a hot antifreeze mixture through tubing to generate heat. Electric systems use a grid of heated cables embedded below the pavement to melt the snow.
How do heated sidewalks work?
Heated sidewalks use electric cables or hydronic tubing systems installed under concrete or asphalt to create radiant heat, melting the snow on the surface. Portable snow melting heating mats are a less expensive option to melt snow on residential walkways.
Heated driveway DIY
Heated driveway installation is a complex project that requires experience in plumbing, electrical work, and asphalt or concrete paving. Installing a snow melt system is best left to professionals with extensive experience. DIY installation may also void the system's warranty.
Consider using portable heated mats that plug into a standard 120V outlet for a DIY heated driveway or walkway solution.
Hiring a heated driveway installer
Not all driveway contractors have experience installing snow melt systems. Before hiring an installer and signing a contract, be sure to:
- Get at least three estimates to compare. Most installers require an onsite visit to provide an accurate estimate.
- Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for longer than five years.
- Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
- Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
- Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead.
Questions to ask the installer
- How many heated driveways have you installed?
- Are you licensed, insured, and bonded?
- Do you recommend an electric or hydronic system for my driveway, and why?
- Does the estimate include all materials and labor fees? What additional costs can I expect?
- What permits do I need, and will you obtain them?
- How do you handle damages that happen on the job?
- What does your warranty policy include?
- What is your payment schedule?
Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted driveway pavers:
Cameron Witbeck at Warmly Yours. Personal communication. (2021).
Bryce Cabral at WarmUp. Personal communication. (2021).
- Bob Dudley at Harris Dudley. Personal communication. (2021).
- Rob Blair at Pittsburgh Radiant. Personal communication. (2021).
Art Hovley at Radiant Heating Company. Personal communication. (2021).
- Jeff Gagnon at Gagnon Geothermal. Personal communication. (2021).
- Brian Stack at Stack Heating. Personal communication. (2021).
- Derek Wyse at Assurance HVAC. Personal communication. (2021).
Heated Snow Melting Mats for Your Home. (2020).
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Heated Driveways. (2020).
Heated Driveways: Everything You Need To Know. (2020).
Heated Driveways. (2018).
Residential Driveway Snow Melting. (2021).
The Pros and Cons of a Heated Driveway. (2020).
Snow Melt. (2021).
Sick of Shoveling? The Pros and Cons of Having a Heated Driveway. (2020).
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