March 2016 - TRUEGRID Pavers
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5 Ways Permeable Pavers Can Improve Your Commercial Paving Project

Posted on March 21 , 2016 by TRUEGRID

Commercial paving systems must stand up to large volumes of heavy traffic, constant assaults from the sun and inclement weather, and pollutants such as oil, fuel and other automotive fluids. Both concrete and asphalt, the conventional materials used for commercial paving, tolerate theses forces relatively well, but they are expensive, difficult to install, require extensive drainage systems and need constant maintenance. They also disrupt the natural flow of water and absorb the heat of the sun, creating maintenance problems and negative environmental effects.

As an alternative to asphalt and concrete surfaces, permeable pavers offer significant advantages. They are easy to install, incredibly strong, require little maintenance and they are environmentally friendly. Here are a few of the ways that permeable pavers can improve your commercial paving project:

#1 Cost Savings

Permeable pavers require less surface preparation, no extensive drainage system, and far less labor to install that traditional asphalt or concrete paving systems. The area to be paved simply needs to be cleared of vegetation and graded, after which, a layer of subsurface material is installed, such as crushed recycled road bed or limestone. Then, the pallet-sized permeable pavers are laid in place and interconnected, trimmed to fit around obstacles, and filled with a suitable material, such as gravel, crushed limestone, recycled glass, or even soil and grass seed.

Because the permeable pavers are made from lightweight plastics and cover such a large area, they are easily maneuvered into place and can quickly cover the entire surface. With a compression strength of up to 6880 PSI before being filled, heavy equipment can safely drive on the empty pavers to dump the fill material, spread it and compact it to create the finished surface. The entire process is quick and easy, and it costs less than half the price of installing a concrete paving system and is price-competitive with equivalent asphalt systems.

#2 High Load-Handling Capability

After they are filled, TRUEGRID permeable pavers have a high compression strength, over 8000 PSI, making them suitable for the most demanding commercial traffic, including constant passenger car traffic, delivery vehicles, snowplows, semi-trucks and heavy equipment like forklifts, wheel loaders or backhoes.

Asphalt or concrete paving systems must be specially designed to handle heavy traffic, and even then, it will result in more frequent maintenance and higher costs. A permeable paving system typically lasts up to 40 years in a commercial environment, and requires very little maintenance over its lifetime.

#3 Elimination of Drainage Systems

Asphalt and concrete paving systems provide an impermeable surface that disrupts the natural flow of water in and around the paved area. Without a sufficient drainage system, water would quickly collect on the surface, causing flooding and large amounts of runoff, which can create erosion problems in the surrounding areas and spread pollutants from paved area to unprotected areas nearby. To prevent this, large drainage systems are installed that collect the water with storm drains, and direct it through a sub-surface plumbing system to either a retention pond or a municipal wastewater system. These systems are expensive, and require constant maintenance to prevent clogging and to control pollutants.

The porous nature of permeable pavers allows storm water to soak through the paved surface, naturally filtering out pollutants and eliminating flooding and runoff problems. This eliminates the expensive drainage systems required by other paving solutions, and allows the waste water to naturally return to underground aquifers.

#4 Weather Resistance

Asphalt and concrete paving systems are prone to damage from inclement weather. Water can collect beneath the surface and freeze during the winter, causing cracks and buckling the paved surface as it expands. Wear and tear from vehicular traffic can cause potholes to form, and they can be further eroded by high-speed runoff from storms. The heat of the sun can cause the surface to expand and crack, and on asphalt, the heated surface can easily be compressed or otherwise damaged, because it becomes soft and flexible in the sun.

Because a permeable paving system is not one contiguous surface, it does not store the heat of the sun and it allows water to drain through the surface naturally. This prevents damage from the sun and erosion from runoff. Permeable pavers are also flexible, allowing the surface to adapt to changing subsurface conditions, such as frost or erosion, without suffering damage.

#5 Sustainability

Concrete and asphalt paving systems require large amounts of energy to acquire the raw materials, transport them to the site and install them, and asphalt itself contains a large amount of petroleum products. In addition, both systems disrupt the natural flow of water, contribute to excessive runoff and erosion, and do little to prevent chemicals on the surface from polluting nearby areas.

Permeable pavers are much more environmentally friendly. They are made completely from recycled plastics, and because they are very light when empty, they reduce the amount of fuel needed to ship them, as well as the shipping costs. Fill materials and subsurface materials are acquired locally, reducing energy consumption, and they require very little heavy equipment work to install, compared to asphalt or concrete.

Because they are porous, they do not interfere with the natural flow of water or contribute to erosion, and they help to filter pollutants from the surface and keep them out of the local water table. They also do not absorb heat like asphalt or concrete, reducing the urban “heat island” effect that can lead to higher air conditioning costs. Because of all these environmentally-friendly features, permeable pavers can help a commercial building project earn points towards LEED certification.

These are just a few of the many advantages that permeable pavers have to offer your next commercial paving project. They are relatively inexpensive, lightweight, durable, low-maintenance, and can handle just amount any type of commercial traffic, while having a lifespan that rivals or exceeds conventional paving materials such as concrete or asphalt. Permeable pavers are also very versatile, and in addition to their commercial paving applications, they can also be used to create landscaping details, walkways, bike paths, residential driveways, grass parking areas, fire lanes or they can be used on top of vulnerable areas as an erosion control system.