Outdoor paving is a crucial aspect of building any public or residential structure. You can find paving used on driveways, walkways, yards, sidewalks, patios, parking lots, and even on light traffic streets. Materials used for these paving may vary based on the outcome being aimed for. While the objective for some may be the aesthetic, many pavers are installed for their utility and functionality. Permeable pavers are one of such pavers.
As the name implies, you might assume all permeable pavers are made of porous materials that allow water to pass through them, and you won’t be far from the fact. Although that is the ultimate goal [a pervious surface], permeable pavers can also be designed using non-porous materials. In this sense, they achieve their permeability by being assembled in a way that allows water to flow between the open gaps.
Several permeable pavers exist, each used for reasons that border on decorative appeal, durability, and cost-effectiveness. Here, we’ll discuss permeable pavers, their applications, their advantages, and other considerations that would be helpful to take into account.
How Do Permeable Pavers Work?
Paving systems that use traditional hard surface materials like asphalt, concrete, or compacted gravel do not allow water to percolate through them to the subsurface in the event of a storm or heavy downpour.
This often means the water pools on the surface or runs off and erodes public and private property. On the other hand, permeable pavers have a porous surface that imitates the natural way the ground reacts to downpours or snow storms by allowing water to drain through the pavement and into the aggregate layers and soil below.
Permeable pavers can achieve this by their unique design, consisting of asphalt, concrete, grids, or geocells with open cell spaces and an underlying layer of loosely packed aggregates that allow water to infiltrate and percolate to the subsurface groundwater table.
Types of Permeable Pavers
Installing permeable pavers follows a similar procedure to that of non-porous pavers, the only difference being the strict adherence to specifications that enable the vertical flow of water.
Permeable pavers were originally made from concrete or brick arranged to allow water to pass through to the subsurface. These were efficient for use in yards, patios, and small public areas to minimize pooling and erosion.
However, several permeable paving systems have emerged recently, including porous asphalt and eco-friendly pavers using recycled plastics. These pavers are more porous than traditional concrete, asphalt, or interlocking pavers.
The paving system you choose for your project should consider factors such as its functionality for your project’s requirements, the terrain of the land it is being installed upon, and the type of soil on the land. Here are a few options:
Permeable concrete is laid using large gravel aggregates without a fine aggregate sub-base like sand or fine gravel. The result is a concrete pavement that is more porous than conventional concrete pavements.
The rougher surface means it can slow down run-off and gradually absorb water. Permeable concrete paving is more brittle than traditional concrete mixes. Therefore, not regularly maintained can result in cracks and potholes.
Similar to concrete, asphalt is not generally a porous pavement material. But porous asphalt is designed using large aggregate particles that leave open spaces to allow water to drain into the underlying soil.
They’re usually designed to have a subsurface reservoir that holds the water momentarily before allowing it to drain through the pavement to the groundwater base or evaporate into the atmosphere.
Permeable interlocking pavers are made using interlocking brick or concrete units with open gaps that allow water to drain through them. Though the material used may not be permeable, the open, interlocking grids allow for adequate water drainage.
These pavers are known for their architectural appearance and ability to bear light to heavy traffic. But on the other hand, the open grid spaces can become clogged over time without proper maintenance.
Plastic Grid Pavers
If you are environment-conscious, you’ll particularly appreciate the innovation of plastic grid pavers. Plastic pavers are made using flexible cellular plastic grids filled with grass or gravel. These pavers offer permeability without developing cracks or potholes over time and can withstand heavy automobile traffic. Plastic grid pavers have a long lifespan and are sustainable for residential, industrial, and commercial applications.
Permeable Wood Pavers
Another alternative paving material is wood. Yes, wood. Recently, landscape designers have turned to highly durable hardwoods like Black locust wood for sustainable paving.
Black locust paving is installed on a permeable foundation. It is very durable and capable of absorbing water faster than concrete. Black locust wood pavers are suitable for pedestrian and light vehicular traffic on sidewalks, driveways, and residential paving, such as pathways and patios.
Why Should You Choose Permeable Pavers?
One of the reasons there is so much flooding, and water damage in the aftermath of a storm is that many of our streets and roads are made with impervious materials. As a result, large quantities of water pool and run off when there is no way for it to percolate vertically into the subsurface levels. A few benefits to using permeable pavers are:
Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems:
Permeable pavers help rainfall and snowmelt get back into the groundwater table the natural way they are supposed to.
Filtering Pollutants from Groundwater:
The aggregates used in permeable paving systems act as filters for pollutants like oil, rubber, or other chemicals as they pass through the grid and various layers of loosely and tightly bound aggregates.
Durability and Cost-effectiveness:
Installing a traditional non-permeable system may cost you less now, but in the long-term will incur higher costs. Permeable pavers are popular for their durability. While you might have to maintain and replace your concrete or asphalt driveway now and then, permeable pavers will stand the test of time, costing you less in the long run.
Ideal for Multiple Weather Conditions:
Areas that experience lots of snow or extreme temperatures have a lot to benefit from permeable paving. For example, in a snowy area, the water freezes in the pockets of space between the paving, this reduces the possibility of water freezing on the surface, so there is less need for deicing.
Installing permeable pavers means there’s less likelihood of rainwater pooling or eroding topsoil during a storm. This is especially important in areas with particularly dry summers and sparse vegetation.
Embrace High Paving Standards Today
Now that you’re in tune with permeable pavers. You should only consider the best pavers around you to install your paving system of choice.
Standard Brick Pavers are the standard you should aim towards. They have over two decades of experience in paver installation and provide services for commercial and residential properties in Tampa, Florida. If sustainability and effective landscape management is your goal, get in touch with them today.