Why Permeable Pavers Are Ideal for Snow and Ice Removal

Why Permeable Pavers Are Ideal for Snow and Ice Removal

Permeable pavers are a popular choice because they’re durable and convenient. If you live in an area with cold temperatures and heavy snowfall, you should know that permeable pavers driveway snow removal is made easier thanks to the porous characteristics of the materials used for those surfaces. Here is why a permeable driveway could make snow and ice removal easier for you.

What Is A Permeable Paver?

A permeable paver is a surface that uses a porous material as its top layer. Some permeable pavers rely on small spaces between the materials used to let water seep through.

The purpose of a permeable paver is to prevent water buildup on its surface. The cracks or porous material allow water to reach the sub-base of the paver or the soil, depending on the design of the paver. It’s a surface that supports the natural process through which water reaches underground reserves, and it reduces the risks associated with water pooling on your property.

There are different types of permeable driveways. Here are the most popular permeable driveway options:

  • Interlocking grids are a popular option because they’re a durable design. It’s possible to build an interlocking grid with different materials. This design lets water seep through the spaces between the elements of the grid.
  • Permeable concrete is another popular type of driveway material. You will typically find a sand or gravel sub-base underneath the layer of concrete. Concrete is mixed with stones to create a texture that will let water through.
  • You can also find permeable pavers that use porous asphalt. There is usually a stone bed underneath the top layer of porous asphalt.
  • Some pavers use a plastic grid. It’s a versatile option because you can fill the plastic grid with the material of your choice. Gravel is a popular option since it’s a low maintenance material.

How Do Permeable Pavers Work?

Are permeable pavers a good fit for your home? Let’s take a closer look at how they work.

A permeable driveway has a top layer made from a material like concrete or asphalt or uses interlocked elements with a small space in between.

Where it rains, the top layer of the permeable driveway will trap water and allow it to seep through at a slow and natural pace. That process helps remove pollutants from water. Water doesn’t have enough time to pool and collect more pollutants before being absorbed into the soil, and materials like porous concrete and asphalt act as filtration layers that retain pollutants.

That process also allows water to reach a natural temperature. Having water seep through the soil at a natural temperature is beneficial for the environment.

Depending on the design of your permeable paver, water might pool in the sub-base before seeping into the ground. If your driveway doesn’t have a sub-base, water will be absorbed into the soil after going through the top layer.

Once water ends up in the soil, it will find its way to nearby water reserves. It’s an effective and natural way of managing water runoff, it helps replenish local water reserves, and it prevents pollutant buildups.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Permeable Pavers and Driveways?

Stormwater runoff can be an issue in urban areas. Water tends to pool and collect pollutants before ending up in local water reserves. If water has enough time to sit on the surface of your driveway, it can collect pollutants like motor oil and chemicals.

Water pooling is an issue because it can cause erosion. In the winter, a pool of water can freeze and become a safety hazard. A paver driveway in winter will be safer because water won’t have time to pool and form ice. Preventing ice formation will make your driveway last longer since ice can get inside of cracks and worsen them.

Even without ice, water pooling on your driveway is an inconvenience. Water can cause pitting, holes, cracks, or result in an uneven surface.

A permeable driveway will manage water runoff and help prevent flooding on your property. It will also prevent the formation of stream channels during heavy precipitation. Stream channels can become an issue because they cause erosion.

There are a few downsides you should be aware of before exploring permeable paver options:

  • There is some maintenance needed. You will need to clean and vacuum the surface of the driveway to prevent debris and sediments from clogging the porous material.
  •   If you have a permeable paver with an interlocking grid, you will need to replenish the grid elements with more material if needed and clean the spaces between these elements.
  •  Permeable surfaces aren’t ideal for heavy traffic areas but are a suitable option for most driveways.
  • A heavy vehicle can damage a permeable surface, but this shouldn’t be an issue for a residential application.


How Do Permeable Pavers Help with Snow and Ice Removal?

You are probably wondering about permeable pavers and snow removal. Can you use traditional snow and ice removal methods on those surfaces?

Snowplowing paver driveways is safe and will help prevent snow buildup. You can also use shoveling, salt, ice melts, or get rid of snow with a snowblower.

Traditional snow and ice removal methods work with permeable driveways and are safe to use. None of these methods will damage the permeable surface.

One of the advantages of a permeable driveway is that it makes snow and ice management easier. When the snow melts, water will go through the porous material instead of stagnating on the surface. You won’t have to worry about water accumulating on your driveway and freezing again.

A permeable driveway won’t eliminate ice completely, but it will prevent melted snow from freezing again in cold temperatures by letting water seep through. You will be less likely to end up with large patches of ice in your driveway.

You should still use snow removal methods to prevent buildups and keep your driveway safe. It’s best to keep your driveway clear of ice and snow for safety reasons, even if the permeable material reduces risks of icy patches forming.

Permeable driveways are more durable in cold areas because a regular driveway will let melted snow form pools of water that can freeze again. That process of thawing and freezing causes pitting, holes, and cracks to form and expand.

The other advantage of a permeable driveway is that it lets water reach the soil instead of retaining it. You won’t have to worry about water freezing and causing cracks to appear on the surface of your driveway. This advantage should reduce the need for maintenance in the long-term.

What Should You Consider Before Getting A Permeable Driveway?

You should compare the different designs and materials available. Find out more about the maintenance needed for different materials, and determine the size of the area that you want to cover.

It’s best to work with a professional who can help you explore the different options available to you and recommend a customized solution adapted to your needs. You should also look into installing additional water drainage solutions if there are issues with water runoff on your property. A professional will be able to answer all your questions about permeable driveways and recommend the best solution for you.