Harsh winter storms, snow and ice accumulations, black ice, shoveling and de-icing: It’s enough to make a homeowner seriously consider installing a heated driveway. The idea sounds tempting, but how much does an in-ground system actually cost?
As winter approaches, at least in the more northerly portions of the U.S., many homeowners find themselves longing for a way to make snow and ice removal fast and easy, and heated driveway systems immediately come to mind.
Heated driveways are easiest to install when pouring a new concrete or asphalt driveway and often require you to replace your existing driveway. However, in some instances, the electric coil type can be retrofitted in, especially if you only intend to heat a limited portion of the pavement.
Rock salt (sodium chloride) is one of the most damaging substances that will ever contact your concrete driveway. It accelerates the deterioration caused by winter's freeze-thaw cycles and shortens the lifespan of your concrete pavements. The same is true of asphalt, though to a far lesser degree.
A concrete or asphalt driveway is a major convenience that many homeowners enjoy, but when winter weather arrives and covers your pavement with a layer of snow or ice, steps must be taken to recover full use of your driveway. And the safety hazards of slippery pavements must also be minimized, both to prevent accidents and to avert any possible lawsuits that may follow if a visitor should be injured on your property.
Outdoor walkways, whether a simple path connecting your driveway to your main entryway or a winding backyard path that lets you more fully enjoy your landscaping, add value and usability to your home. Yet, that path to your driveway, pool deck, fire pit, gazebo, or garden will need to be deiced to be used during winter. And unless you find another way to melt the snow and ice off your walkways besides with salt, you may end up damaging them and shortening their lifespan.
The three main materials homeowners use for solid walking paths are concrete, brick, and stone. Let us see how salt affects each one of them:
Every winter, homeowner's in the northern half or so of the United States and all around Canada face the dilemma of how to rid their driveways of snow/ice build-up without doing any damage in the process. Rock salt and other deicers are typically used to melt down snow and ice, while shoveling may still be needed to remove loosened but slow-melting "tough spots." Yet, both concrete and asphalt drives can suffer harm from the use of deicing salts.
Many homeowners are prone to ask, "What does it cost, on average, to repair the damage done by a hail storm?" The question is important, and hail damage repairs can often cost thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the hail, the impact angle and force, and the duration of the storm.
The truth is, however, that hail damage varies widely in total cost and falls into three major categories: roof damage, pavement damage, and vehicle damage. Siding, fences, and decking can also potentially suffer harm from hail impacts, but we should focus here on "the big three" that we have identified.
Many homeowners who live in regions with harsh, long winters have, at one time or another, considered installing heated driveway. The convenience of a heated driveway, in terms of time savings and labor reduction, is a major attraction, but many homeowners wonder if the cost is simply too high.
Below, we look at the average costs of installing and running an electric coil or hydronic heated driveway, examine some ways a heated driveway could actually save you money, mention an alternative driveway-heating method, and then weigh some factors that might make a heated driveway worth it or not worth it to a particular homeowner.
When winter arrives and your driveway is suddenly covered in snow and ice, you may find yourself longing for a heated driveway that could take the snow shovel out of your hand or eliminate the expense of paying for professional snow-plow services.
But you may not be quite sure if a heated driveway is worthwhile, if its "pros" truly outweigh its "cons," or what kind of cost would be involved in installing, using, and maintaining such a system.
Below, we attempt to clarify what a heated driveway is and what are its benefits and drawbacks. We hope you will find this analysis helpful in determining if a heated driveway of some kind is right for you.