Get the lowdown on what to put down for your project when it comes to pavers.

Ready to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk, when it comes to updating your walkways and patio this year?

More and more homeowners are looking for easy and low maintenance solutions to create additional usable space in their outdoor areas, and pavers are one of the mainstays they’ll turn to in order to get the job done.

But pavers come in a wide variety of sizes, materials, and types. Most notably, there are some that allow water to pass through them, called permeable pavers, and others that do not, called non-permeable pavers. This is a big difference when you’re dealing with a yard that has poor drainage since it can make or break turning your garden into something resembling a swamp.

When it comes to choosing between permeable pavers vs. non-permeable pavers, there’s more to look for than just whether they let water pass through. Let’s take a look at how you can choose what’s best for your project.

If you want to learn more about permeable paving, check out our other resources:
1. How Much Does Permeable Paving Cost?
2. How to Choose the Best Permeable Paving Contractor
3. Pros and Cons of Permeable Paving
4. Permeable Pavers vs. Asphalt: Which Route to Take
5. Permeable Paving Vs. Concrete: Choosing the Right Material for Your Surface

Permeable paving and your patio

Permeable pavers are those that let water either pass through them or around them into the groundwater system to help manage runoff. This can be critical when dealing with areas where stormwater management is subpar and often leads to hazardous puddles.

Pavers made of permeable concrete allow the water to pass right through the material itself and into the ground. This is because the concrete is mixed with a larger aggregate that creates space or air pockets within the solid looking paver. This not only helps with water flow but also air flow, allowing the soil below the paved walkway or patio to breathe more naturally and gather nutrients.

These pavers can also be laid out in ways that allow for the water to run off between paver joints that are filled with a crushed aggregate. The water will not only flow through the paver itself but also through the spaces between the pavers, allowing for ample drainage.

In either case, most permeable pavers are installed on a layer of base mix, usually made of a stone aggregate filler that allows water to trickle through the stones and into the groundwater system.

Piqued about permeable pavers? Learn more: Pros and Cons of Permeable Paving

Non-permeable pavers 101

Then there are “regular” pavers, or those made out of standard concrete or similar materials that are simply not going to let the water through. There’s nothing wrong with using non-permeable pavers, and they are likely the more common type given their availability and cost.

Non-permeable pavers are installed touching one another with no gaps and are treated like any other solid surface. Runoff and pooling are expected, but by grading the surface away from structures, you should see the flow of water moving away from your home.

Since these pavers are a bit more common, there are quite a few options to choose from when it comes to designs, shapes, and even colours. They are also available in different materials such as brick, natural stone, or concrete.

When it comes to installing these, they typically get laid on compacted earth or gravel specifically designed not to let water through so that the pavers themselves remain stationary throughout their lifetime.

Bonus info: What’s a porous paver?

All of the terminology can start to sound the same if you aren’t careful, but we’re going to add one more item to the mix just so you know how to distinguish it and rule it out (or in) for your next project.

Porous pavers are laid in a grid structure similar to a cellular layout that has plenty of space in between. These spaces are filled with grass, dirt, or gravel and can give a more natural and modern look to an outdoor space. The grid layout also helps with providing strength to the ground surrounding it while allowing for water to run off the pavers directly into the grass. While they’re becoming more popular in outdoor design, they’re largely used in agricultural settings.

Permeable pavers vs. non-permeable pavers: Which should you choose?

When you’re choosing pavers, you need to go with the flow. Or at least make sure you have proper flow for the water that makes its way into your garden.

Permeable pavers are designed to draw water away from the surface, making them ideal for spaces with drainage issues or where a full drainage system isn’t a possibility (or affordable). They’re also designed to last for decades, with most not needing any attention for 40 years or more. These pavers also tend to be a bit more comfortable underfoot during the hotter months because the air pockets in them allow for the release of hot air. Permeable pavers are also a hit around pools since they stay cooler and draw water away from the edge to help limit fall hazards.

Non-permeable pavers, on the other hand, are perfectly acceptable as a choice for areas where drainage and runoff simply aren’t a problem. Your installer should still check the grading of the ground near and around your pavers and your home to make sure that any runoff that does occur makes its way away from the foundation of your house.

Ready to get started? Get our price breakdown: How Much Does Permeable Paving Cost?

Ponder the possibilities of pavers with Concept Concrete

Whichever type of paver you choose, you’ll be well on your way to a great patio, walkway, or pool surrounds in no time with Concept Concrete. And if you aren’t sure which type is best, we’re happy to help you figure it out.

Our team is made up of a family-run business that places the emphasis on high quality, professional projects that stick to timelines and budgets throughout the process. We are also proud members of the Master Builder Association and are a registered building practitioner.

We offer free, no obligation quotes and can come check out your outdoor space, the grading, and the waterflow to ensure that you choose the best option for you. Just call us on 1300 366 343.