When people contact us often their first question is, “I am interested in a permeable surface. What is the permeable paver installation process?”
We start by explaining that permeable pavers are available in a wide range of options depending on the client’s budget, as well as their application and design preference.
“First generation” permeable paving grids include products such as TurfStone, which is roll-out grass filled permeable plastic pavers and interlocking paving stones.
“Second generation” permeable surfaces offer a much wider range of options. Most interlocking paver companies are now offering a permeable paver option with rigid joints or spacers that are easier to install than previous options. In some cases, this includes porous pavers as well. Flexible plastic porous pavers, often referred to as grass or gravel pavers, are becoming more and more popular.
Products such as the Ecoraster grid system have been used for three decades for a variety of applications from permeable driveways and pathways to parking lots and access roads. Other permeable surfacing options include pour-in-place permeable surfaces, which are either aggregate or rubber-based. The Ecoraster Bloxx system is another unique alternative to asphalt that combines a permeable plastic grid with paving stones.
Once the client chooses the permeable surfacing product, the true “magic” of the system is in the supportive base beneath.
We explain that the base beneath the porous surface is what provides the water storage.
Permeable paver installation is done directly on solid surfaces such as asphalt or concrete, however their water storage abilities are limited.
The ideal base beneath a pervious surface should take into account three main factors: soil conditions, water storage requirements and weight bearing needs.
The ideal base aggregate, or “fill”, for most permeable paver grids is a clear angular stone. Water storage is made possible by the voids between the stones. The lack of fines helps to ensure the base remains both free draining and stable. The preferred base beneath grass-filled permeable pavers consists of both the clear angular gravel for structural support and a growing medium to ensure healthy root growth.
The proper base preparation is truly the hardest part of installing a permeable paving surface, both technically and physically. Often, even if the permeable surface will be installed as a DIYer type project, the base preparation is outsourced.
Although it is simple, permeable paver installation is often best when completed by trained and certified professionals, however, the Ecoraster and Ecoraster Bloxx systems can be installed either by the client or by landscapers and contractors with guidance and support from the staff at LID Paving.
Permeable paver installation is straight-forward, as long as the proper attention is given to the base beneath. As Meghan Trainor (almost) sings, “It’s all about the base!”