If you're looking for a landscape option that will serve more than one purpose in your yard, talk with a contractor about using permeable pavers for your walkways and patio. Permeable pavers are created with open joint spaces to encourage water runoff. When installed above a layer of crushed stone or other aggregate material, it creates a structure that allows storm water to drain away easily instead of pooling on the surface and saturating the ground. If you're new to permeable paving, here are some common questions and answers to help you decide if they are right for your yard.
Can You Use Permeable Pavers with Clay and Dense Soil?
Permeable pavers are an ideal way to improve drainage if your yard has clay-rich or otherwise dense soil. Adding a perforated pipe underneath the aggregate base will help you draw water away, running it to the edge of the property or to a storm drain. Additionally, with the improved drainage comes natural filtration of the water as it flows through the pavers and the aggregate layers.
Do Permeable Pavers Work if the Climate is Prone to Freezing?
Freezing temperatures won't threaten the integrity of permeable paving systems. Additionally, most permeable pavers have a durable surface that can stand up to shoveling and snow plows, allowing you to have your driveway cleared with a plow service if you live in an area with snow accumulation during the winter.
The porous nature of these pavers actually encourage ice and snow melting on the surface because they improve air circulation. As the ice and snow start to melt, the moisture will soak into the pavers and through the aggregate below. By drawing this moisture away from the surface, there's no residual water left on the pavers to re-freeze when the sun sets, reducing your risk of injury from slipping. And, since the moisture is drawn away through the aggregate beneath, it reduces the risk of heaving in your walkways and driveway surfaces. There's limited moisture left directly beneath the paver surface, so you don't have the same risk of freezing and expansion under the surface. If you do choose permeable pavers in a snowy or cold climate, invest in salt for any necessary ice treatment. Don't use sand for added traction on the pavers, though, because sand can clog the joints that are necessary for drainage.
Can Permeable Pavers Handle Heavy Rain?
If you live in an area that is prone to heavy rain storms, you'll want to talk with your drainage specialist about the type of aggregate that is most effective under your pavers. You'll want to have a system that drains quickly to handle heavy rains. Most permeable pavers can handle small, frequent rain storms with little struggle, but persistent, heavy rains may need more planning.
How Do You Clean and Maintain Permeable Pavers?
If you decide to use permeable pavers for your property, make sure that you understand how to maintain them. The open joints can be prone to clogging from dirt and sediment, so you'll need to keep them clear for water to drain properly. Sweep the pavers on a regular basis, making sure that they're dry before you clean them. That ensures that the sand will brush away instead of sticking to the paver.
You may want to invest in a vacuum cleaning system a couple of times a year to clear out any stubborn particles in the area. If you have a section that's particularly clogged, you can remove them to clean the space out and then replace them.
When you're looking for a way to keep your property looking great while maximizing your drainage, permeable pavers are an ideal option. Talk with a contractor about the best installation option based on the structure of your property and the soil composition.