PERMEABLE PAVEMENT SYSTEMS
Pavers are an indispensable tool for designing outdoor living spaces and commercial pavement solutions alike. But if you’re not familiar with permeable pavers, you’re missing a growing market segment. Permeable pavers, also known as permeable interlocking concrete pavement (PICP), provide stormwater management by reducing runoff volume and rate, filtering pollutants and keeping water on site without the necessity of retention ponds. They’re key players in sustainability and low-impact development.
With additional design techniques, water collected from PICP can be retained in a cistern for watering plants, washing cars, or directed to an alternative storage container. PICP has been used in Europe since the late 1980s, making its first appearance in the United States in the early ’90s. Basically, permeable pavement consists of pavers with joints filled with aggregate so that water flows through the surface like a grate straight through to the groundwater.
About Permeable Pavement
Permeable pavers are part of a system of various layers and sizes of crushed stone. These pavers have joints filled with aggregate allowing water to flow through like a grate from the surface into the groundwater, as shown in the system below.
The joint sizes can vary (1/8 – 1/2 inch wide) depending on the volume of water that must be managed. Permeable pavers are 3 1/8 inches thick compared to thinner non-permeable pavers, which are approximately 2 3/8 inches thick.
Permeable pavers have incredible durability and can be used in a variety of climates and applications ranging from patios to parking lots. Since the earth below is warmer than ambient air temperature the snow melts and drains allowing heat to waft through the system. The surface can be plowed like other surfaces but with less need for deicing products since there will be no puddling.
As far as we are concerned at Custom Hardscapes... We believe that permeable pavement systems are the future of paved surface water management and sustainability. Feel free to contact us to discuss more of the details today!
Benefits of Permeable Pavement
One of the biggest benefits of permeable pavers is that they can be used in a variety of climates and applications ranging from parking lots to patios. Permeable pavers average 8,000-psi compressive strength. "They have incredible durability," says Jay Womack, director of landscape and ecological design for WRD Environmental in Chicago. "There’s no peeling and cracking like other surfaces."
They also tolerate freeze-thaw cycles well. “Due to the use of open aggregates, there’s tremendous air space so water goes into air pockets and freezes, minimizing risk of heaving,” says Womack. Snow melts and drains due to the fact that the earth below is warmer than the ambient air temperature, so heat wafts up through the system. There’s no puddling so few deicing products are required, and the surface can be plowed like any other.
Life-cycle costs are the biggest benefit. "The true savings is measured in the fact that you don't have to build a retention pond and you’re actually creating water savings," says Adams. In addition, you won’t need to seal or replace as often as other surfaces. Repairs are straightforward, as individual pavers can be removed and replaced.
Ongoing maintenance is simple. Keep debris from clogging the joints by vacuuming commercial surfaces once a year, or more often if grass or leaves have settled in the joints. For residential applications, gently clear out joints with a leaf blower on low as needed.