Permeable Pavers and Installation
Permeable pavers and pervious concretes are the fastest-growing paving methods in the U.S. today. Homeowners and business owners across the country are gravitating to permeable paving systems for the many benefits of these ecologically conscious and aesthetically pleasing paving systems.
Why We Love Permeable Pavers
- Permeable pavers are attractive and aesthetic.
- Permeable pavers last for a very long time.
- Permeable pavers allow for the natural filtration of water through the paver and into the soil beneath.
Because real estate developers and contractors who utilize permeable pavers do not need to worry about stormwater runoff (as the pavers take care of that process on their own) permeable pavers quite literally expand the building apron of real estate parcels. Say goodbye to land-consuming rainwater gardens, water retention ponds, and traditional asphalt or concrete paving methods. Say hello to permeable pavers, the eco-friendly paving solution.
But how are permeable pavers installed?
While the mechanics of a permeable paver installation are easy enough to understand, the process is best handled by professionals for maximum efficacy in the installed system's ability to manage stormwater runoff. Still, as a homeowner or business owner, it is important to understand the installation process for these truly magnificent permeable systems in order to appreciate the value that they provide to any property.
How to Lay Pavers; Getting Started
Laying pavers for a driveway, patio, or parking lot seems simple enough and installing pavers is not complicated, but there are several steps to the process to get it done just right. It's a time-intensive process, but its worth it as a professional and well-installed permeable system will likely outlast the very buildings around it. Whether one is laying pavers on dirt, sand, clay, grass, or gravel, each process is slightly different, one to the next. Also, a permeable paver patio installation is different from a driveway or parking lot installation.
Excavating a Space to Install Driveway Pavers
Here is the basic process for how to install driveway pavers and/or how to lay paving stones. First, the current driveway has to be removed, which requires a great deal of driveway demolition. Bobcats and jackhammers are used to break up the existing driveway, with a dump truck nearby to haul off the refuse. Next, the driveway space is excavated to the desired depth, which depends on local factors, soil composition, annual and seasonal rainfall, driveway position, zoning and code rulings in that area, etc.
Laying Geotextile and Soil Compaction
Once the driveway space is excavated and cleared, paver base material, called “geotextile” is laid down in the excavated space to give the permeable system a fabric to rest on, keeping it from mixing into the soil below. Once the geotextile has been installed, a crushed aggregate base rock is poured into the excavated space to rest on top of the geotextile. Once poured, the first aggregate base rock layer is compacted with an earth compactor.
Sub Base Material and Leveling
Once compacted, another layer of smaller, “sub-base” material is poured in and compacted. This gravel base is covered by a final layer of pea gravel for drainage, the top and final layer of rock that the system will get. The pea gravel is compacted several times and added to where necessary, the installation crew taking care to level the entire space perfectly, end to end, corner to corner. This process is needed because leveling the ground that the pavers will rest on is key in creating a flat, uniform paver system.
Paving Stone Installation
After the last smattering of pea gravel is spread into the driveway plot and is appropriately leveled, laying down pavers is the next step. Paving stone installation is a matter of following the design closely, installing “border pavers” on the edges of the driveway to hold the system together, and expertly laying down “field pavers” to create a tight, symmetric, and effective paved system.
Fine Grit Stone is Broomed Over the Pavers
Once setting and leveling the pavers are completed, a specialty, #89 stone, a micro stone, specifically designed for pavers, is broomed over the pavers, allowing the very fine grit stone “sealant” to filter into the cracks between each paver. The fine grain stone allows for controlled and efficient water seepage into the aggregate rock layers below.
In the final step, installation crews dump a massive, dump truck load of water onto the freshly installed permeable pavers to test the system's efficacy. The installation crew monitors the simulated “stormwater” and inspects it to ensure that the system processes the water, seeps it through the pavers, and passes the water into the various aggregate rock layers below.
Permeable Crews at the Ready
At Smart Scapes LLC, we have a team of dedicated permeable installation crewmen whose sole job is to install, clean, and maintain permeable systems. We have years of technical experience in building custom systems for both residential and commercial properties. We are different because we communicate with our clients every step of the way, helping them plan for our arrival and walking them through the process, start to finish. From porous asphalt to concrete grass pavers to permeable pavers of all dimensions and styles, we can provide the best service at a competitive price point.
And did we mention that pervious concrete and permeable pavers essentially last forever? With minimal maintenance on a schedule of once every five to ten years, these systems will never stop working, performing their function to excellence and satisfaction for decades to come.
Frequently Asked Questions About Permeable Pavers
Want to know more? Wondering who is the best hardscape contractor in Nashville? We do our best to earn that title every single year. Feel free to call our direct line and speak with a knowledgeable expert who can answer your questions. We can be reached at (615) 356-0139. Or check out our FAQ below:
- Do permeable pavers need a lot of maintenance?
- Very little. Permeable paver systems are designed to be as close to maintenance-free as we can make them. About once a year all you have to do is brush and vacuum off the surface, pulling any refuse and accumulated particles out of the cracks between the pavers. Then broom #57 or #89 fine-girt crushed gravel into the cracks. This ensures the system will function at peak, water-permeating performance.
- Can I drive a heavy-loaded vehicle over a permeable surface?
- Absolutely. The interlocking feature of permeable pavers allows them to handle heavy loads, as the weight is displaced over many pavers at once.
- How long do permeable pavers last?
- Almost forever. We say that because a well-installed permeable system will likely outlast its owner, where-as traditional asphalt or concrete paving surfaces need to be replaced or resurfaced every twenty to thirty years.
- Where can I use permeable pavers?
- Anywhere you can use asphalt or concrete. Just take care not to install them in areas that have fast-moving traffic (like a highway or fast-moving backstreet). And don't install them on steep grades.