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A Driveway Heating System Cost Guide

How Much Does a Heated Driveway System Cost?
Melissa Brock
Melissa BrockUpdated April 7, 2023
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If you live in a snowy area and you’re looking for an alternative to shoveling in the winter, a heated driveway could be just the thing. Driveway heating systems keep driveways from collecting snow and ice, and they function in a way that’s similar to radiant flooring.  How much is a heated driveway? Read on to learn about the heated driveway cost, and how these systems work, to help decide whether a driveway heating system fits your needs and budget.

How Much Does a Heated Driveway Cost?

The heated driveway cost can range from about $4,000 to more than $20,000, depending on a number of factors, including the size of your driveway. Here’s a general idea of what you might pay: 
  • 12-by-24-foot driveway (one car): $3,400 to $8,000
  • 24-by-24-foot driveway (two car): $6,900 to $16,000
  • 36-by-24-foot driveway (three car): $10,000 to $24,000

What Factors Impact Costs

Just like you winterize your house, a heated driveway helps protect your driveway from snow and ice. Heated driveways typically work in one of two ways: through portable heating mats or built-in driveway heating systems that use electric coils or tubes filled with warm water and antifreeze that go under the driveway’s surface. Several factors determine the cost for driveway heating systems, including the following: 
  • Heating system type: The heating system you choose will affect the bottom line. A heated driveway pad is typically the least expensive, costing about $1,600.  
  • Automation: You can opt for a manual or an automatic heated driveway. Manual is cheaper, but it requires you to activate the system. Automated controls operate at low levels and kick into high gear once the unit’s sensors detect snowfall or freezing precipitation.
  • Driveway size: As mentioned above, the longer your driveway, the more your heated driveway will cost.
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Average Cost of Heat Driveways Per Square Foot

The heated driveway cost per square foot is generally between $12 to $21 or more per square foot. This includes materials and labor. If you’re digging up your old driveway to have electric heating coils installed underneath it, you’ll pay an additional cost for removal of the old driveway of about $1 to $2 per square foot. 

Can You Install Into an Existing Driveway?

Rather than digging up your driveway, a contractor may be able to retrofit an electric heating system into your existing concrete or asphalt driveway. Generally, an asphalt driveway is easier for them to work with than a concrete one. The contractor cuts slots into the driveway to create space for the heating elements. After connecting the system, they seal the slots with asphalt and cover them with hardscape to hide the coils or tubes. Retrofitting an existing driveway with a heated driveway system costs about $7 to $17 per square foot.Installing a hydronic (water) system requires digging up the existing driveway and then replacing it with new asphalt or concrete once the heating system is in place.

How Long Does It Take to Install a Heated Driveway?

A heated driveway can take anywhere from five days to three weeks to install. The amount of time it takes may vary depending on the installer's schedule, the size of the driveway, and the type of system you’re installing. Ask the installer for the exact time frame for your project. 

What are Heated Mats?

Another option for a heated driveway is a portable heating mat. These rubber mats contain an electric heating element, and they sit on top of your driveway rather than underneath it. They plug into a standard outlet. You can use the mats in pairs so that they line up with your tires.You put the heated mats on your driveway at the beginning of the winter and then roll them up and store them when winter is over.  A portable heating mat that’s 2 feet by 20 feet costs about $1,600.

Pros and Cons of External Heating Mats 

Using a heating mat for driveway heating systems has some advantages and disadvantages to consider, such as:Pros:
  • No more shoveling: You’ll no longer have to shovel your driveway in the winter.
  • Less expensive: You won't pay as much for a driveway heating mat as you would for installing headed tubes or coils under your driveway. That difference could amount to thousands of dollars. 
  • Saves on wear and tear of your driveway: The chemicals in rock salt may damage your driveway, kill your grass, and rust your vehicle. You won’t have to use them if you opt for a heating mat.
  • Not good for snowy areas: If you live in a region that gets a lot of snow and ice,  heating mats may not be able to keep up with the weather, since they don't cover your entire driveway. 
  • Your driveway doesn’t get an upgrade: You'll keep your old driveway with a heated driveway mat. If you’re due for a new driveway, and you were considering average driveway paving, this might not be the best option for you. Installing a system that goes under the driveway may be a better choice.

Financing Options for Driveway Heating System

You can finance a driveway heating system in a few different ways. Financing options for driveways include
  • Home equity loan: With a home equity loan, you tap into your home's equity and borrow against it. Once you’re approved, you’ll get a lump sum from the lender that you repay over time with interest. However, if you fail to make your payments, the lender could foreclose on your home. 
  • Home equity line of credit (HELOC): A home equity line of credit (HELOC) allows you to borrow against your home’s equity up to an approved limit. The interest rate is variable. Instead of receiving a lump sum, you can borrow HELOC funds as needed during the draw period. When the draw period ends, the repayment period begins, which can be as many as 30 years. However, keep in mind that if you can’t pay off what you owe, the lender could foreclose on your house.
  • Credit card: You could put the heated driveway cost on your credit card. Credit cards are convenient and easy to use. However, they do have high interest rates, and if you can’t pay off the balance quickly, the interest could add up. You might be able to qualify for a credit card with a 0% introductory APR. In this case, you won’t be charged interest until the introductory period ends. If you can pay off the heated driveway before then, you won’t owe interest. But if you can’t, you will have to pay interest on the balance. 
  • Personal loan: You can use small personal loans to pay for driveway heating systems. Personal loans come in different amounts, so you can take out a bigger loan if you need it. With a personal loan, a bank, online lender, or credit union lends you a lump sum that you repay with interest in installments over time. 
The higher your credit score, the lower the personal interest rate you may get.You can shop around with different lenders to compare top personal loans to see what interest rate and terms you qualify for.Once you meet the personal loan requirements and get approved for the loan,you may expect to receive funds quickly, typically within one to five days. 

The Takeaway

To answer the question, "are heated driveways worth it?" consider the weather conditions in your area. If you get a lot of snow and ice, the heated driveway cost might pay off for you.There are a number of financing options to help cover the expense of a heated driveway. If you're interested in taking out a personal loan, Lantern can help simplify the process. In our marketplace, you’ll get offers from multiple lenders at once, making it quick and convenient to compare rates and terms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do heated driveways add value to a home?
How much extra is a heated driveway?
Can you make an existing driveway heated?
How much electricity does a heated driveway use?
Do heated driveways work in extreme cold?
Photo credit: iStock/mihailomilovanovic

About the Author

Melissa Brock

Melissa Brock

Melissa Brock is a higher education and personal finance expert with more than a decade of experience writing online content. She spent 12 years in college admission prior to switching to full-time freelance writing and editing. Her work has appeared on Yahoo Finance, Entrepreneur, Investopedia, The Balance, FinanceBuzz, The Journal of College Admission, MarketBeat, College Finance, Rocket Mortgage, LeverageRx, Benzinga, Morty, Ally, and more.
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