Most people will be familiar with the traditional style of paving. The obvious example is a parking lot for cars – it is an area set-aside for a specific purpose, the surface needs to be even and able to be used in all types of weather, so it is sealed with an asphalt of concrete material in order to provide a useable finish.
This traditional type of paving is very effective, but most of the materials used in this traditional type of construction are impervious – this means that they create a surface that does not let water penetrate, the water either collects on the surface or, if there is a sufficient gradient, the water will run off and will ultimately be collected in the storm-water drains.
An alternative to this traditional form of paving is what is known as pervious pavers. This is a new type of paving solution that uses material in its construction that delivers the requirements of paving but creates a surface that enables the water to be absorbed.
One of the most popular types of pervious pavers uses a reinforced plastic base to create a framework on which the paving is built. The reinforced plastic comes in modular units that are easy to work with and can be tailored to create the size and shape of paving required. Once the area has been prepared and the reinforced plastic framework has been laid out, then loose gravel is used to fill the plastic base. It is this layer of gravel that makes the paved area pervious and able to easily absorb water, while the plastic framework anchors the gravel into places and provides a stable structure upon which the paved area is created. One additional advantage of this type of paving solution is that a layer of soil and grass or turf can be laid on top of the gravel so that a grassed landscape can be created that still retains the permeable benefits of this type of paving solution.
In addition to pervious pavers that use a reinforced plastic base, there are other types of pervious pavers that use a porous concrete. However, the concrete pavers are not able to absorb as much water as the system that uses a gravel base, and they also require regular cleaning.
One of the advantages of pervious pavers is that the installation costs will generally be considerably lower than traditional forms of paving. Ongoing repair and maintenance costs are also much lower with this new type of pervious paving system.