Though not exactly new, pervious concrete is innovative and exciting. It offers a durable parking and driving surface that simultaneously reduces runoff by allowing water to filter directly through it. That has to be too good to be true, right?
Certainly, there are a lot of people out there who would say so. But some of the negative things we hear them saying about pervious concrete just aren’t true. Here are a few common myths and facts about pervious:
Myth: It’s too expensive.
Fact: The actual installation cost of pervious alone can indeed be higher than its traditional counterpart, but pervious can reduce the overall costs of residential and commercial projects by reducing the need for other drainage features. Because pervious concrete allows rainwater to drain directly through to underlying soil, less stormwater management is needed with pervious installs.
Myth: It won’t last as long as traditional concrete.
Fact: When installed by certified pervious installers, pervious has a fantastic longevity. As with any concrete product, how long it lasts has to do with the quality of installation. Occasionally, longevity also can be tied to the concrete mix, which is usually decided by the engineer on larger projects. On such large, commercial jobs, project engineers choose the mix based on the requirements of the project. Pervious concrete has also been shown to be more durable than its asphalt counterpart.
Myth: The “pores” will clog.
Fact: The key here is maintenance. No concrete is maintenance-free. It’s a common concern that plants might grow in the pores of pervious concrete, but that shouldn’t happen with a well-maintained installation. Pervious concrete is just like a boat. You have to clean it periodically, or gunk builds up that decreases performance.
Modern pervious concrete vacuum systems can pull clogged stuff out, even if it’s been there a while. Even if pervious concrete pores get clogged, there is a way to clean them.
Myth: It won’t stand up to heavy or commercial use.
Fact: A pervious driveway is just as durable as any other concrete driveway. The key here, for both pervious and regular concrete, is that the pour is thick enough to handle the expected traffic. Custom Concrete will pour 5- to 6-inches thick on some projects instead of the standard 4 inches if the load will be heavier. Most parking lots, for example, will be at least 6 inches thick. At Meridian High School in Bellingham, WA, Custom Concrete installed pervious 8 inches thick because fire trucks and buses would be using the lot to turn around. On commercial projects, engineers design the surface thickness to handle the traffic that’ll be using it.
Myth: Snowy conditions clog pervious concrete.
Fact: Actually, the opposite is true. Because of its porous nature, pervious concrete increases airflow and helps melt snow more quickly. It’s totally fine to use shovels and snow plows on pervious, too. Just make sure the scoop has a rubber edge, so you’re not using metal to scrape the concrete surface.
Myth: It’s a fad, and it soon will go away.
Fact: Cities and counties nationwide say pervious is the way of the future. Municipalities all over Washington state are investing in it and planning for it. In fact, most of the pervious installs done by Custom Concrete are for governmental agencies.
Ready to talk to local experts about the benefits of installing pervious concrete in Northwest Washington? Contact Custom Concrete Contracting in Bellingham, WA. They employ NRMCA certified pervious installers and technicians.