Permeable Pavers and Impermeable Concrete Pavers Compared

Permeable Pavers VS Standard Concrete Pavers

What Paver is The Best Paver for California Homeowners?

Hardscaping is a wonderful way to add value and curb appeal to your home. Today, you have a wide variety of choices when it comes to hardscaping materials. If you're planning a project, you have two choices in concrete pavers; permeable pavers and standard concrete pavers.

They're both durable and available in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, styles, and colors. Both are flexible and both require professional installation to perform at their maximum efficiency. The difference lies in how they are installed and in how they perform.

View Our Portfolio Of Paving Projects

All pavers require installation that includes several steps like excavation and several steps to prepare the area to be paved. When choosing which paver to use, consider the materials cost, the demands of installation, and the environmental impact.

“Paved Paradise and Put in a Parking Lot”

Asphalt roadways, parking lots, and driveways have had an appreciable negative impact on the environment. By replacing natural land cover like grasslands and forests with impervious surfaces like parking lots, streets and driveways with impervious surfaces, like standard concrete pavers, the water retaining role of soil is lost. Runoff from these surfaces can cause flooding, damage to streams, diminish aquifer recharge rates, and carry pollutants like nutrients, pesticides, sediment, and bacteria to be deposited into groundwater.

Standard interlocking concrete pavers, while not as damaging as other substances when properly installed to allow for drainage, are impervious to water. It is placed on a compacted base of gravel, small gravel, fine gravel, and fill that seals the seams making it a “tight” installation. The base is not meant to drain water but to prevent water from draining through the surface.

Permeable pavers are installed using a different method that is designed to allow water to slowly drain through the base layers. This process of installation is known as “open grading.” It involves using larger pieces of gravel and more “open” seams which allow water to easily pass through where it is restored to groundwater after less contact with potentially harmful contaminants.

This is the major difference between standard concrete pavers and permeable pavers.

The Environmental Benefits of Permeable Pavers

Almost 90-percent of the water that hits standard concrete pavers is deposited into drainage systems that lead to rivers, lakes, and streams. This water is often full of debris and contaminants. The excess water rush can contribute to localized flooding as well as erosion.

Permeable pavers allow this water to slowly seep into the soil which reduces harmful runoff and help to protect watersheds. While permeable pavers are generally a bit more expensive, they require less installation time and do not require a separate drainage system which can actually make them as affordable as standard concrete pavers.

Standard Pavers Require Less Maintenance

Is it “bad” to install an impermeable paver driveway or patio. No, they are a perfectly acceptable option. They are no stronger than permeable pavers and can look nearly identical when installed. If professionally installed with a proper drainage system, their environmental impact can be reduced, but not eliminated.

The most important difference between the two is that standard, impermeable concrete pavers require less maintenance than most permeable pavers. The aggregate between permeable pavers will need to be cleared of debris regularly and may have to be topped off every few years to keep them functioning properly. Impermeable pavers require no such care.

Here in the California Bay area, many homeowners are opting to install environmentally friendly materials and choosing options like permeable pavers. While they do require regular maintenance, permeable pavers offer significant environmental benefits that make them worth the slightly higher cost. Installation is less intensive and can often be completed faster than standard interlocking pavers.

While prices for both options are comparable, permeable pavers offer environmental benefits that increase their ROI. As we all strive to make less of an environmental impact in our daily lives, choosing permeable pavers for your next hardscaping project is an affordable and environmentally responsible one. Plus, they look great, and with a little maintenance, will last a lifetime!

If you're considering an outdoor project, and you'd like to learn more about the benefits of permeable pavers, give the experts at Bayside Pavers a call. Schedule a free estimate and let us help you design the perfect driveway, patio or outdoor area featuring environmentally friendly permeable concrete pavers! If you're in the San Jose area stop by our locations in Concord at 2455 Bates Ave, Ste K, or visit our location in Santa Rosa at 1619 4th Street Ste 12. We're always happy to help homeowners create their dream outdoor space!