Porous Asphalt Is The Environmentally Responsible Choice, But Will It Work For Your Parking Lot?


Asphalt paving is a very popular choice for parking lots, both durable and flexible. But it's not usually considered "green." By using porous asphalt and making your parking lot permeable to water, however, you can turn that paved area into an environmentally friendly piece of pavement.

Why Should You Consider Porous Asphalt?

Porous asphalt reduces the demand on storm sewer systems; if you are building your parking lot in an area where the local government charges storm-water fees to owners of paved areas, check to see whether they offer reduced fees for using permeable pavement. By preventing runoff, it also reduces the amount of pollution entering local waterways.

And while porous asphalt surfaces require extra care during construction because of the importance of the subsurface, it's still easier than putting together a conventional storm-water management system of underground pipes or catch basins.

Will A Permeable Parking Lot Really Hold Up?

If you've read Henry Thoreau's Walden, you remember the descriptions of Walden Pond as a place to connect with nature. Walden Pond is now a state park in Massachusetts, and keeping with the environmental theme, they installed a porous parking lot there in 1977. That parking lot is still there today despite the rough New England winters and the years of cars and trucks that have parked on it.

Can Porous Asphalt Be Repaired Easily?

Repairs to porous asphalt are a little different than traditional asphalt; when you fix larger potholes or cracks, you don't want those fixed areas to prevent water infiltration. Basically, this means repairing with porous asphalt rather than a standard mix for large repairs. However, according to the National Asphalt Pavement Association, repairs that involve less than 10% of the parking lot can still be repaired using traditional patching mix.

How Is Maintenance Of Porous Asphalt Different?

There's one very important difference in porous asphalt maintenance: cleaning. To maintain the permeability of the pavement, it's important to keep the asphalt from getting clogged with dirt, sand, or other small particles. This means using a vacuum sweeper twice a year to clean out this fine sediment. For the same reason, de-icing chemicals should be used in winter instead of sand or salt that can clog the pavement.

Porous asphalt has some maintenance advantages, too. It doesn't require seal coating, and thus the inevitable reapplication of seal coating, that traditional asphalt pavement does; sealant would just prevent the pavement from working properly. In addition, porous asphalt can dramatically reduce the amount of de-icing chemicals needed in the winter; some people even find that plowing alone is enough to keep permeable parking lots clear.


10 August 2015

Decorating Your Pavement

After I began working with a friend of mine to beautify my yard, I realized that there was one piece of the puzzle that I seemed to be missing. My driveway and front sidewalk were in dire disrepair, and I knew that I needed to do something to make things right. I worked with a paving contractor to completely patch, refinish, and stain the pavement, and when he was done the area blended right into my design aesthetic. This blog is all about decorating your pavement by doing things like using concrete acid stain and hiring professionals to add decorative details.