Permeable pavement and permeable pavers have been available for decades, but many contractors still have the impression that the permeable interlocking concrete pavers (PICP) are best used in commercial or municipal settings.
While it is true that permeable pavers are ideal for these applications, they also offer a wealth of benefits for homeowners and communities in residential environments. As homeowners become familiar with permeable pavers and demand begins to increase, contractors should be educated on the background, benefits and installation best practices for these eco-friendly pavers.
For those unfamiliar with permeable pavers, they are installed with layers of varying-sized stone or aggregate underneath that filter and allow rainwater to replenish underground aquifers.
Permeable paving essentially mimics the way natural land absorbs water – meaning that any rain that falls on the surface is filtered and seeps back into the ground, instead of flowing into the nearest storm drain or stream. In addition, with enhanced design techniques, collected water can be harvested for homeowner use such as watering plants or washing cars.
Permeable pavers offer a number of benefits for both homeowners and communities. For homeowners, permeable pavers:
These environmental benefits also extend to communities:
Water filtration is an additional benefit that many are not aware of. As rainwater hits a normal surface, such as concrete or asphalt, it picks up pollution elements such as oil or gas, which in turn enters the groundwater. With permeable pavement, bacteria grows within the aggregate below, which helps to break down those materials and harmful toxins, filtering them out before the water goes back into the ground.
While the benefits of permeable pavers are clear, contractors may be wary of the installation process. However, there are three key rules to follow to ensure accurate and functional installation of permeable pavers.
Overall, contractors should look for a permeable paver provider that serves as a true partner and provides the support and resources necessary to ensure the installation is done correctly. The supplier will know their product best and can provide guidance every step of the way, making business easier and keeping the customer happy.
Permeable paving within the residential market will continue to grow, as more consumers become aware of the benefits to their home, property and local environment. They provide a beautiful solution for hardscapes, as well as promote ongoing stewardship of our beautiful communities.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was written by Joe Raboine, national design and training specialist with Belgard Design Studios.