Permeable Pavers vs. Stormflow Surfacing in Long-Term Stability

As property owners and developers explore sustainable and permeable pavement solutions, concerns about long-term stability and safety inevitably arise. This blog will dive into the intricacies of permeable pavers and Stormflow Surfacing, specifically examining the potential for shifting and trip hazards over time with pavers. By understanding the structural differences and performance characteristics of these two options, stakeholders can make informed decisions about their choice of pavement for a lasting and secure outdoor environment.

Permeable Pavers: The Initial Appeal

Permeable pavers have gained popularity for their ability to combine aesthetic appeal with environmental benefits. These interlocking units allow water to pass through, reducing stormwater runoff and promoting groundwater recharge. While permeable pavers initially seem like an attractive solution, concerns arise when evaluating their long-term stability.

  1. Interlocking Design: Permeable pavers feature an interlocking design that provides stability by distributing loads across multiple units. This design is intended to create a strong and durable surface.
  2. Base Material: The stability of permeable pavers relies heavily on the quality and composition of the base material. A well-prepared and compacted base is crucial for ensuring that the pavers remain in place and resist shifting over time.
  3. Flexibility and Movement: Permeable pavers can withstand a degree of flexibility and movement. This adaptability is beneficial in regions with freeze-thaw cycles, as the pavers can adjust to ground expansion and contraction.

Concerns with Permeable Pavers: Shifting and Trip Hazards

Despite their initial promise, permeable pavers are not immune to challenges that can arise over time. Several factors contribute to concerns about shifting and trip hazards:

  1. Settling and Unevenness: Over time, the base material beneath permeable pavers may settle unevenly, leading to variations in the surface level. This settling can create trip hazards as pavers may no longer align seamlessly.
  2. Weed Growth and Erosion: The gaps between permeable pavers can become susceptible to weed growth and erosion. As weeds take root and the ground erodes, the stability of the pavers can be compromised, potentially leading to uneven surfaces.
  3. Maintenance Challenges: Maintaining the stability of permeable pavers requires ongoing attention. The need for regular cleaning, joint refilling, and addressing potential settling issues can become a maintenance challenge for property owners.

Stormflow Surfacing: A Solution to Stability Concerns

In contrast to permeable pavers, Stormflow Surfacing offers a different approach to permeable pavements. Instead of interlocking units, Stormflow Surfacing utilizes a single, seamless surface. This design minimizes the potential for shifting and creates a stable foundation. Let's explore the features that contribute to the long-term stability of Stormflow Surfacing:

  1. Monolithic Structure: Stormflow Surfacing is designed as 1 large expansion joint, providing a continuous surface without individual units. This eliminates the gaps that can contribute to shifting and trip hazards seen in permeable pavers.
  2. Porous and Permeable: Similar to permeable pavers, Stormflow Surfacing is porous and permeable, allowing water to drain through. However, the absence of joints and seams reduces the risk of erosion and weed growth, maintaining the stability of the surface. Our product also allows more water to drain through with a runoff coefficient of 0.9.
  3. Base Stability: The stability of Stormflow Surfacing is supported by a well-prepared base that minimizes settling issues. The absence of joints and the monolithic structure contribute to a more uniform load distribution, reducing the likelihood of uneven surfaces.
  4. Low Maintenance Requirements: Stormflow Surfacing generally requires lower maintenance compared to permeable pavers. The absence of joints eliminates the need for frequent joint refilling, and the seamless surface minimizes opportunities for weed growth. We have also studied our product over time, and found it is still highly permeable 7 years later with zero maintenance.

Comparative Analysis: Permeable Pavers vs. Stormflow Surfacing

To provide a comprehensive understanding of the long-term stability of permeable pavers and Stormflow Surfacing, let's conduct a comparative analysis based on key factors:

  1. Design and Structure: Permeable pavers feature an interlocking design, while Stormflow Surfacing boasts a monolithic structure. The latter offers a more continuous and stable surface, minimizing the potential for shifting and trip hazards.
  2. Base Stability: Both pavement options rely on a stable base for support. However, the absence of joints in Stormflow Surfacing contributes to more uniform load distribution and reduces the risk of settling issues over time.
  3. Maintenance Requirements: Permeable pavers often require regular maintenance, including joint refilling, cleaning, and weed control. Stormflow Surfacing generally has lower maintenance requirements due to its seamless design and reduced susceptibility to weed growth.
  4. Adaptability to Freeze-Thaw Cycles: Both permeable pavers and Stormflow Surfacing are designed to adapt to freeze-thaw cycles. The flexibility of permeable pavers allows them to adjust to ground movement, while Stormflow Surfacing's monolithic structure provides stability in varying conditions.
  5. Weed Growth and Erosion: Permeable pavers, with their joints and gaps, may be more susceptible to weed growth and erosion. Stormflow Surfacing's seamless surface minimizes opportunities for weed intrusion and erosion, contributing to long-term stability.

Choosing the Right Solution for Long-Term Stability

The decision between permeable pavers and Stormflow Surfacing ultimately depends on various factors. Stormflow Surfacing, with its monolithic structure and reduced maintenance requirements, presents a compelling alternative for those seeking long-term stability. While permeable pavers offer an initial appeal, concerns about shifting, settling, and trip hazards over time must be taken into account.

View more articles

Depave Paradise with Stormflow Surfacing at Fanshawe College

An overview of a project completed in London Ontario at Fanshawe College with MTE
Case Studies

Permeable Dog Run at Toronto Condominium

Do you live in a high rise building and have a pet dog? Do you struggle to find a convenient space nearby for your dog to do their business and run around freely? Whether you answered yes or no, this is a struggle for a lot of dog owners living in apartments and this...
Case Studies

Stratford Al Fresco Dining Picnic Areas

Dining out looked different for many people this past year. The pandemic had a huge impact on restaurants especially. However, cities like Stratford were able to adapt in unique ways to still deliver the optimal dining experience. One of the ways for businesses in...
Click to go back to the top of the page