by Steve Bench
Over the years, I have had three homes all with different sized sidewalks. My first home had a 3.5 foot wide sidewalk, the second one 4 foot wide and the third, and current, home has a 6 foot wide sidewalk. City and County sidewalks extending along the frontage of home lots are generally 3 feet wide but sometimes they are 4, 5 or even 6 feet wide. In downtown shopping areas it is not unusual to find sidewalks that are as wide as 10 or 15 feet. Needless to say sidewalks come in many different widths and lengths which are designed to handle different amounts of foot traffic and bridge different points.
Since sidewalks come in many different sizes and shapes it seems that the question, “How much does it cost to install a radiant snow melt system into a sidewalk?” has many different answers. Whenever a question has many different answers the potential for any particular answer conveying meaningful information decreases dramatically. So how does one go about finding out how much a radiant snow melting system installed in his or her future sidewalk cost?
The simple answer is to contact a reputable and professional manufacturer or supplier that has been in business for several years and has more resources that just a website, telephone and smooth taking salesman. A true professional radiant snow melting company will seek answers to the following questions prior to giving you a cost estimate.
1. How wide and long is the sidewalk going to be?
2. Is the sidewalk going to be made of concrete, asphalt, brick or stone pavers, ceramic tile, or other material?.
3. How many strike, saw cut, crack control, cold and other joints will be in the sidewalk?
4. Will insulation be installed under the sidewalk?
5. Do you want the radiant snow melting system to be manually or automatically operated or both?
6. Where is the geographic location of the sidewalk?
7. How much and what kind of traffic is the sidewalk designed to handle?
8. What energy sources do you have available to energize the radiant snow melting system?
Once a radiant professional has the answers to the above questions he or she can design and price a radiant snow melting system that satisfies the needs of the project. Until a radiant professional, or a website salesman for that matter, understands the answers to all of the above questions the best you are going to get is a guess that is either in or out of the ball park.