A permeable surface allows water or air to pass through freely. Permeable paving provides a solid surface that you can walk, park and drive on, while also allowing for adequate drainage. This type of paving can be used on your driveway, walkway and patio and offers a green alternative to traditional asphalt and concrete.
Basics of Permeable Design and the Traditional Alternative
This type of pavement presents an attractive option that's low maintenance and fairly durable. Currently the design of this product does not provide sufficient strength for areas of heavy traffic. Highways and city streets would not hold up well with this type of pavement, although foot traffic paths, parking lots and driveways are excellent locations for the technology.
Often asphalt or concrete pathways (for vehicles or pedestrians) wreak havoc with water run off and city sewers. These surfaces move rainwater at a rapid pace, collecting debris and carrying pollution and garbage into storm water management ponds, sewer systems and local bodies of water.
These surfaces may be damaging the vegetation on your property as well, blocking airflow and altering natural drainage patterns. Erosion may also increase with traditional paving, due to the forceful path of run off. And traditionally paved driveways and walkways present a greater risk in the winter, with slippery conditions resulting from water on the top of the surface.
Why Opt for Permeable?
Installing permeable paving in your landscape provides a variety of benefits. The obvious advantage is the reduction of water run off, which ends up filling the sewer system and creating more frequent flooding.
When water hits permeable pavement it finds the path of least resistance, which in this case is through the tiny holes in the surface and down into the ground. Block pavers and bricks that are secured in place with sand or crushed stone, instead of mortar, allow for effective drainage. Rain travels through the sand and into the ground, where tiny microbes work hard to filter out impurities and pollution. By the time that rain has hit the aquifers deep underground it is fairly clean, as opposed to the run off that travels straight to the sewers full of pollutants. In this way permeable paving solutions create a cleaner water system throughout your property and community.
Plant life also benefits from permeable products. Sealed asphalt and concrete blocks rainwater from absorbing into the soil, delivering much needed nourishment to the roots. You'll often see certain kinds of plants thriving along the edges of traditional paving, whereas many others are starved out by the blockage.
Permeable pavement products allow that water to drain through, feeding the roots and depositing minerals into the soil. Advantageous to the entire eco system in this way, installing products like porous asphalt or porous concrete will create healthier soil and thriving plant life, which in turn improves air quality. The benefits spread throughout the area.
Battle the Heat Island
When typical asphalt driveways and paths are found in a concentrated area the combined capabilities to store heat increases the average temperature by a few degrees. Studies show that urban concentrations record average temperatures that are between 2 and 6 degrees higher than their rural counterparts. Large areas of asphalt are contributing to the worldwide growth of heat.
By allowing water to move through the paving -even if it is asphalt -this design effectively cools the paved surface, reducing the effects commonly referred to as the â€œheat island.â€
Where Permeable Paving Won't Work
If you have heavy clay soil with fairly bad drainage a permeable pavement surface will do nothing to remedy that. Water will run through the surface, as opposed to over it, but the clay underneath will serve as an effective barrier and the resulting water collection will damage the paving.
Industrial areas that handle toxic chemicals may not be the best place for permeable pavement. If ever a spill were to occur, safety engineers need to know that the toxins will be properly directed to a certain location, not drained or absorbed into the soil.
Permeable designs provide more safety in the winter months, since frozen moisture and puddles are not an issue. But in any case, salt and sand should not be used on permeable paving projects. Those substances are likely to clog the tiny passages designed into the paving, negating any positive effect this type of paving has to offer.
Can You DIY This Green Paving Project?
Permeable products are available at most major building supply stores. Many of these products are installed in the same way that standard paving products are, although an adequate base is crucial to the success of permeable designs.
If you feel that the excavation is possible in DIY mode and you're confident that the base will support the design and provide adequate drainage, go ahead and tackle this project yourself. But if the idea of calculating the base doesn't appeal to you, it's very worthwhile to invest in a professional paving firm.
These companies offer the expertise and advice a project like this requires. They also provide the equipment and manpower possible to get it done well in a shorter period of time. Professionals should also be able to provide the very best solutions, taking into account the climate, grade and site conditions. You may be able to do the physical work, but without the advice of an experienced firm your driveway or walkway project can become a nightmare.
Whether you install permeable paving stones set in crushed stone or opt for the porous concrete or asphalt products, your paved driveway and walkway will provide a healthier property. Plants will thrive, sewer systems will run more efficiently and the heat island effect will be greatly reduced. Choose permeable paving and enjoy a variety of benefits for your home and the surrounding community.Posted by: TrustedPros