Permeable Paving Solutions

Permeable pavers up close

Managing stormwater is a critical concern for municipalities, engineers and developers. As our communities grow and develop, naturally permeable surfaces like grass and gravel are replaced with impermeable materials like concrete and asphalt.

Permeable paving is a green infrastructure solution that allows you to pave a strong and stable surface without sacrificing permeable space.

If you’re looking for a green solution that is practical for you and the environment, keep reading to learn about the benefits of permeable paving.

What is Permeable Paving?

Permeable paving is an alternative to traditional paving that intends to improve stormwater infiltration. This environmentally friendly paving technique is a favorable way to increase the total permeable area on a development while still supporting foot and vehicular traffic. Permeable paving, however, is not meant to be a substitution for traditional paving on every site.

We hope to answer some of your permeable paving questions in this article by covering the following topics:

            1. Permeable paving vs. traditional paving

            2. Advantages and disadvantages of permeable paving

            3. Product options

Permeable Paving vs. Traditional Paving

The difference between permeable paving and traditional paving is the porosity of the paving material.

Traditional paving applies asphalt, concrete or pavers to a graded base in order to create a smooth road, driveway, path or parking lot.

Paving with these products, however, increases the impermeable surface area. Runoff doesn’t infiltrate asphalt and concrete but rather flows over the hard surface.

Permeable paving, on the other hand, applies materials that absorb stormwater runoff.

Permeable products include pavers, porous paving systems, cellular confinement systems, and even artificial turf. Each product is designed to improve infiltration and increase the permeable surface area.

Porous paving systems and cellular confinement systems can be filled with stone, soil and natural vegetation. These materials naturally absorb runoff while also creating a stable base for traffic. These environmentally friendly options are not intended to be a direct substitution for all paving projects, however, you will find that they do have proven success for a wide variety of applications.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Permeable Paving

Porous paving products are proven solutions for green infrastructure but that doesn’t mean they will work for every project. Before specifying or purchasing, learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of permeable paving.

Advantages

Improved runoff infiltration is at the top of our list for why you should consider a permeable paving product. If you are having issues with flooded driveways, pooling parking lots, and puddling cart paths, a porous paving product might be the solution you need. Other major advantages include:

Reduce the volume of stormwater runoff

Reduce impermeable surfaces

Improve aesthetics

Earn LEED credits

Reduce the threat of flooding

Disadvantages

Permeable paving’s greatest shortcoming is that it is not suited for all of the same applications as traditional paving.

Although many products have an H-20 rating, you wouldn’t pave a highway or an entire port with a permeable paving product. Installing porous paving systems on these projects would take too long and would be too expensive.

Additionally, porous materials should not be installed on sites like gas stations where there are hazardous materials. Permeable products are designed to maximize runoff infiltration which means gas, oil or chemicals could infiltrate the cells and seep into the ground water system.

Permeable Paving Options

Although many permeable paving products appear similar, each product has a unique design that distinguishes its performance from others.  

We’re going to break down four of our favorite permeable paving options to help you decide which product works best for you.

PaveDrain

PaveDrain is a permeable articulated concrete block that interlocks to create a permeable paving system. PaveDrain is not a traditional permeable paver.

Equipment installs PaveDrain blocks
Image courtesy of PaveDrain

There are several characteristics that distinguish PaveDrain from traditional permeable pavers.

First, PaveDrain blocks are big blocks (12” x 12” x 5.56”) that each weigh 50 pounds and are manufactured in a variety of colors. Each block has an arched internal storage chamber that collects stormwater runoff.

Additionally, the joints in between PaveDrain blocks are left open. Most permeable paver joints, on the other hand, are filled with aggregate. The open joints allow water to infiltrate quickly. If the joints become clogged with debris, a vacuum truck can clean out the build-up and restore the joints to nearly new form. Smaller projects can be cleaned out with an air compressor and wand attachment.

Finally, PaveDrain has a HS-25 load rating and a compressive strength of 4,000 psi. This means it can withstand heavy loads like fire trucks and some equipment.

Applications

Parking lots

Fire lanes

Street parking lanes

Sidewalks

Cart paths

Emergency access roads

Residential driveways

Size

12″ x 12″ x 5.65″

Why We Like PaveDrain

We love the product’s arch design that maximizes stormwater storage but the stormwater monitoring system is what truly distinguishes PaveDrain. The P4 INFIL-Tracker and P4 Rain-mX monitoring system reports the infiltration rate and the volume of captured stormwater runoff in order to accurately document infiltration success and guide maintenance requirements.

EZ-Roll Grass Paver

This paving system is manufactured by NDS, a leading provider of innovative drainage products. The EZ-Roll Grass Paver is a flexible roll with a honeycomb cellular structure that is manufactured from 100% recycled HDPE. The bottom of the cells are 80% open in order to maximize infiltration. Each roll has locking clips that connect multiple rolls and minimize movement.

EZ-Roll flexible permeable paving
Image courtesy of NDS

The EZ-Roll is designed to be unrolled and installed directly onto a compacted base. Once installed, fill the cells with sand, soil or sod.

Like PaveDrain, the EZ-Roll Grass Paver can also handle heavy loads. The unfilled cells have a load rating of 53,683 pounds and soil filled cells have a maximum load rating of 400,000 pounds.

Applications

The EZ-Roll works for light, medium and heavy duty applications. Common applications for the EZ-Roll include:

Golf cart paths

Green parking lots

Trails and paths

Emergency vehicle lanes

Sizes

4′ x 150′

4′ x 24′

Why We Like the EZ-Roll Grass Paver

The EZ-Roll is manufactured in a roll and shipped on a pallet which makes shipping, stocking and installation very easy.

TuffTrack

TuffTrack is very similar to the EZ-Roll. Both products are manufacured by NDS, feature a honeycomb cellular system and are made of durable HDPE.

Panels of unfilled TuffTrack
Image courtesy of NDS

TuffTrack, however, is manufactured in square panels with nested cells that have a dome base. The dome design is a new upgrade to the TuffTrack product. The dome allows runoff to ravel vertically and horizontally for improved absorption.

Each TuffTrack panel has 12 lounge and groove clips that connect the system’s panels together. Connect the panels together on a compacted base then fill the cells with top soil.

TuffTrack has a soil-filled compressive strength of 400,000 pounds and 85,563 pounds in empty condition. This high unfilled strength means that TuffTrack does not rely on the load material for structural strength.

Applications

TuffTrack is rated to withstand heavy loads but can also be installed for lighter applications like paths and private driveways.

Cart paths

Equestrian parks

Runoff areas

Residential driveways

Overflow parking

Equipment yards

Construction entrances

Fire lanes

Sizes

24″ x 24″ x 1.5″

Why We Like TuffTrack

TuffTrack’s panels snap together perfectly which makes installation easy. Just like the EZ-Roll, TuffTrack is palletized for easy shipping and unloading. Each pallet has 132 pieces totaling 2,112 square feet.

Geocell

Geocell is a cellular confinement system that is specified for many purposes including permeable paving. Our Geocell is also manufactured from HDPE, just like the EZ-Roll and TuffTrack. This permeable paving system design, however, is much more flexible than the before mentioned products.

Detail image of geocell installation

Geocell ships in panels of flexible strips that you pull apart to expand during installation. The panels are secured with EnviroClips, EnviroLocks or steel stakes. Once the cellular confinement system is installed, fill the cells with soil, stone, sand, concrete or grass.

Applications

Slope stabilization

Swale stabilization

Erosion control

Soil and ground stabilization

Green parking

Equipment yards

Access roads

Sizes

EGA 30 3″ x 8.4′ x 27.4′

EGA 30 4″ x 8.4′ x 27.4′

EGA 30 6″ x 8.4′ x 27.4′

More sizes available upon request

Why We Like Geocell

Geocell cellular confinement systems are priced very competitively for permeable paving. The cell’s large openings also make it easy for grass to grow and establish a root system.

Conclusion

We hope that this article provided you some key details for comparing permeable paving products. If you need further information or would like to request pricing for any of these products, please contact our sales team