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What Makes A Paver Permeable?

How to: Here’s what you should know about permeable pavers


Permeable pavers can solve problems and at the same time look good. Will they be useful for your business needs?


Pavers are an essential tool in the design of living spaces outside. But if you're not familiar with permeable pavers, then you should be updated what’s new in the market. Permeable pavers, also known as PICP, provide stormwater protection by reducing the volume and level of runoff, removing contaminants, and holding water on site without the need for retention ponds. They are key players in the production of sustainability and low impact.


Here’s what you should know about working with permeable pavers:


  • PICP is a system
    Permeable pavers in use are not stand-alone; they are part of a system of different layers and crushed stone sizes. 

For commercial employment, most cities now require certification. Look for classes offered by paver manufacturers at trade shows or throughout the year, or get the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute certification.


  • Proper installation is key

Permeable installation of pavers differs in several ways from traditional pavers. Next, the pavers are 3 1/8 inches (80 mm) thick versus thinner non-permeable pavers, typically around 2 3/8 inches (60 mm) thick. PICP joints vary from 1/8 inch to 1⁄2 inch wide, depending on the volume of water to be managed, and no sand between the joints is used to allow water to pass through.


It is recommended that test digs determine the soil type and assist in the specifics of the design. Heavy clay, for example, requires different sand installation techniques.


In most applications, you can begin by placing geotextile (to prevent soil from moving into the base layer) at the bottom of the excavated area, followed by a stone sub-base layer such as No. 2 stone (thickness varies by design), then a 4-inch open-grade base layer such as No. 57 stone, topped with a 2-inch layer of bedding course such as No. 8 aggregate, then the pavers. Finish with an edging material using a stone or cast concrete curb or maker.


  • They’re durable

One of the greatest advantages of permeable pavers is that they can be used in a wide range of climates and applications from parking lots to patios. The maximum compressive strength of permeable pavers is 8,000-psi. 


Freeze-thaw processes are also well tolerated. Because the ground below is hotter than the ambient air temperature, snow melts and falls, and water wafts through the process. So few deicing products are needed and the surface can be plowed like any other, there is no puddling.


  • Maintenance is minimal

Initial PICP installation costs are equivalent to concrete or about two to three times higher than asphalt or conventional pavers. When stone has to be transported long distances, costs are higher, so having a local supplier of stone is beneficial.


The greatest benefit is the price of the life cycle. However, you won't have to cover or remove them as often as other surfaces. Reparations are straightforward as it is possible to remove and replace individual pavers.


Continued maintenance is simple. Stop dust from clogging the joints by vacuuming commercial surfaces once a year or more regularly when grass or leaves settle in the joints. Gently clear joints with a leaf blower at low as required for residential applications.

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