In the last years, people started to pay much more attention to the environment impact they have on the world. In the hardscape business, it couldn’t be different. Options of environmental friendly pavers have swept the market, and amongst the best options are permeable pavers, used to create modern permeable driveways.
But how exactly do they work, and what are its applications? Let’s talk about that as well as the current options available in the market today.
What are Permeable Pavers?
When we say “permeable paver” we do not actually mean that the pavers themselves are permeable. We mean instead that, when installed, permeable pavers create a system that allows the water to flow through the gaps between them.
This prevents the formation of puddles on the paver installation and, when properly installed, also relieve the load on storm drains.
The pavers themselves can be made from fired clay brick or concrete. As for the aggregate, unlike in a regular paver installation, which uses polymeric sand, a permeable paver installation uses crushed granite, marble, or quartz.
They are also thicker than your regular pavers. While regular pavers are 2″3/8′ thick, permeable pavers are 3″1/8′ thick.
How do Permeable Pavers Work?
Permeable pavers work thanks to a system of carefully constructed layers of filtering stone. The installation has open spaces that are filled with crushed clean rock to let the water flow and be absorbed into the ground beneath the pavers.
From that point, the water can have different uses, depending on the system you construct. There are basically three types of system:
An infiltration system can be considered the simplest version of a permeable paver system. In it, the water slowly makes its way through the layers of stones until it eventually gets back to the water table.
In this system, the water still makes its way through the layers of stones, but it gets stored rather than absorbed by the ground. In the attenuation system, part of the installation consists in placing an outflow pipe through which the water will be sent to the drainage system.
The collection system is in essence the same as the attenuation system. The only difference is that the water can be stored instead of simply sent back to the drainage system. This water can be filtered to be used for several purposes, like watering gardens and washing cars.
Installation of Permeable Paver Driveway
When working with pavers, installation is a defining factor. That is even more the case with permeable paver installations.
Since what makes the permeable pavers work is the installation itself, it is imperative that you hire professionals to help you with it. For example, a lot of test digs need to be done to determine what type of soil the system will be installed on.
But surprisingly, a permeable paver installation costs about the same as a regular one.
Advantages of a Permeable Driveway
It goes without saying that permeable systems are incredibly environmental friendly.
You can choose to either return rain water back to the water table, relieving the pressure of the sewage system on your city as well as your own storm drains. And with a collection system, you can even store and recycle water.
As for costs of installation and long term maintenance, permeable pavers also deliver. With regular pavers, most of the maintenance problems come from drainage. With regular pavers, which are designed to have an optimal drainage, that won’t be a problem anymore.
They work just like any other paver installation without the hassle of having to worry about drainage. The only thing you have to be mindful of is the regular sweep or vacuum cleaning to remove leaves and debris, that can potentially clog the system.
Best Permeable Pavers
The leading brand on permeable pavers in the market today is Belgard. With special attention to their Turfstone™ brand.
With a design that incorporates the use of grass, either natural or synthetic, the visual is stunning, and the functionality is a model to all other systems in the market.
You can find an authorized Belgard dealer in your area and ask for more information about their available options.
As we talked about, there are a lot of advantages in going for a modern permeable driveway system.
Costs are about the same as a regular paver installation, and the same goes for maintenance. Water can be returned to the water table, relieving the pressure on the sewage system, or even stored to further use.
However, once again, proper installation is fundamental for the success of the system, so we recommend you hire qualified hardscape professionals to help you with it.
We here at S&S Pavers have some of the most qualified professionals in the area, and have helped many homeowners with their permeable paver installation over our 11 years of experience.
If you happen to be around the Sarasota and Manatee counties area, we would be happy to help you with your project and add you to that list of satisfied homeowners.