Porous pavement has become a buzzword among homeowners and commercial property owners who want to go green. Also known as permeable pavement, this unique landscaping material allows water to drain freely to the ground beneath and can be used in constructing driveways, pathways, and patios. Read on to find out about four of the main pros and cons of using porous pavement in landscaping projects.
Pro: No Runoff
Since water can drain freely through the pavement, it doesn’t create runoff into stormwater systems. Instead, water is filtered as it passes through the soil, leaving it comparatively clean and free of pollution. The water then goes on to feed nearby trees, grass, and other plants. Property owners dealing with drainage problems can find more details at Cochran about this unique product.
Pro: No Need for Drainage Systems
Installing porous pavement on a driveway, walkway, or patio doesn’t require digging drainage channels, which cuts down on how much time is required to build a driveway. Porous pavement also cuts back on watering costs for plants, reduces traffic, and in some cases, avoids the need for taking out permits since it is considered a form of landscaping, not hardscaping.
Pro: Cooler Surfaces
Traditional asphalt and concrete surfaces heat up quickly. Since porous pavement is permeable, it tends to trap less heat. The water absorbed by porous pavement also helps to cool the area down.
Pro: Less Standing Water
Ordinary driveways, walkways, and patios tend to collect standing water. This can cause slipping hazards and damage the pavement when the water freezes and creates cracks. It can also create a perfect environment for algae, which is known to cause further pavement degradation. Porous pavement doesn’t collect standing water.
Con: Requires a Specialist
Installing porous pavement requires the help of a specialist since most ordinary paving contractors don’t know how to work with these new materials. Adequate preparation of the sub-base and binders requires specialized equipment, as well. As long as property owners find a contractor with experience installing porous pavement driveways, this shouldn’t be too big of a problem.
Con: Soil Issues
This type of pavement isn’t a good fit for all soil types. Soils that are heavy in clay and do not drain well won’t provide a good base for a porous pavement surface. In some cases, installing traditional drainage channels or a layer of crushed stone can help, but in others, it’s best to go with conventional alternatives.
Con: Not as Strong
Porous pavement is strong enough to handle relatively heavy vehicle traffic, but it’s not ideal for very heavily-trafficked areas. That’s why its use is restricted to driveways, walkways, and patios. It’s not typically a good fit for commercial parking lots that see a lot of traffic.
Con: Ongoing Maintenance
Without adequate maintenance, the spaces between stones can become clogged. All driveways require periodic maintenance, but porous pavement surfaces also need routine jet washes to make sure they remain permeable. Most property owners find that annual maintenance is sufficient to prevent particle buildup.
The Bottom Line
Porous pavement offers property owners who want to go green a more ecologically friendly alternative to traditional asphalt and concrete, but it isn’t right for everyone. Those who have already decided to give this new system a try should make sure to find experienced contractors. The majority of problems with porous pavement aren’t caused by the material itself but by lack of experience.