What is a Permeable Driveway and What are its Benefits?


Permeable driveways have been a topic of discussion for many homeowners worldwide because they provide a sustainable option that is both cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. By allowing rainwater to pass through, these pavement types can prevent runoff from storms and filter pollutants away from waterways before it reaches them.

In addition, many people now prefer these over asphalt or concrete simply because they look better with their natural stone or wood appearance.

There are also two very distinct types of permeable driveways available today, those which require a pre-filter and those that do not. The latter type is preferable if you’re looking for a quick fix, while the former has more long-term benefits.

What is a Permeable Driveway?

A permeable driveway consists of pavement that allows water to pass through the surface. This includes gravel, brick, stone, asphalt, and more. The main difference in these driveways types is whether they require an under-drain system (or pre-filter) to prevent the soil from clogging up with water runoff and blocks drains which can be costly to unblock.

Many homeowners prefer this option because it creates a natural appearance rather than looking like your typical concrete slab. However, if you live in areas that receive large amounts of rainfall, it might be worthwhile to invest in pre-filters (it will also help prolong the product’s life).

Benefits of a Permeable Driveway

Natural drainage reduces puddles

By allowing water to pass through the surface, these driveways reduce puddles after rainfall. This is due to the lack of runoff trapped on the surface, causing a pooling effect in some areas. They can even work so well that you’ll only need an occasional rain shower for it to be able to handle all of your paving needs!

In addition, water will be allowed to percolate into the soil below rather than flow off into neighbouring properties or bodies of water. There has been recent talk about installing one next to a lake or wetlands area to speed up the natural filtration process for these environments.

Natural filtration

One of the most discussed benefits is that rainwater gets filtered as it passes through the surface, which helps reduce pollutants from entering local waterways and ecosystems during a storm event.

When concrete or asphalt driveways cannot absorb excess water before passing it along, runoff from roofs and roads can contain gasoline byproducts, heavy metals, fertilizers, and pathogens/bacteria that harm fish in river systems.

In addition, this is very beneficial when it comes to limiting non-point source pollution (which occurs mainly due to runoff) because many people will witness their yard draining into a nearby creek after heavy rainfall.

If you live in an area prone to flooding during these storms, it would also be beneficial if you were to invest in a driveway that allowed water to pass through the surface!

Natural and sustainable materials

Due to the natural appearance of permeable driveways, they have been shown to complement many different landscapes, including gardens, woodlands, and desert-type habitats.

The look of these materials can range from having a more traditional gravel type top layer (like those used as road surfaces) up to modern flat tiles made out of synthetic fiberglass mesh mats, which provide extra strength or the lesser known ferrock. You’ll also find natural stone options such as slate or flagstone, among other choices, which are popular because they provide a great contrast to their surroundings.

Reduces the heat island effect

Because most of these require an under-drain system or pre-filter, this makes them an excellent option for those looking to reduce the amount of thermal energy that would otherwise pass through asphalt and concrete.

This is because it can absorb up to 90% of solar radiation from entering the surface, which turns into heat energy after being absorbed by dark materials.

In comparison, a typical asphalt or concrete slab can only absorb around 50%.

This helps prevent large amounts of ambient air from becoming trapped below your area, allowing temperatures during the summer months to be lowered not just on your property but within your neighbourhood, which has been shown to help reduce air conditioning costs during those months.

Disadvantages of a Permeable Driveway

Although these driveways are beneficial in that they are more environmentally friendly than traditional impervious driveways, they also have some disadvantages that must be considered when choosing whether or not to install one.

Many homeowners feel that permeable driveways may reduce the property value of their homes because they don’t look as lovely as other types of driveways.

It’s important to note here that although many people initially believe this is true, so long as the driveway is properly maintained, no studies have been conducted which show that properly installed permeable driveways reduce a home’s value.

Permeable driveways also have a much shorter life expectancy than typical asphalt, concrete, or other impervious driveways. These driveways usually last between 10 and 20 years, while permeable ones typically only have a life expectancy of 5 to 10 years because the materials used are not as hardy.

This may be seen as an inconvenience because homeowners will need to pay for regular maintenance such as resealing and patching, which can cost anywhere from $500 – $1,000 per year, depending on how large your driveway is.

Despite these disadvantages, many people feel like they make up for them in the long run. Studies conducted by the University of California at Los Angeles show that constructing a traditional driveway costs about six thousand dollars more than a permeable one.

For those who are environmentally conscious or need to make up for water runoff on their properties, this is a small price to pay.


Overall, if you’re looking for a sustainable and eco-friendly option to use conventional materials such as asphalt or concrete, then it might be worth looking at permeable driveways!

They have been proven to work very well under normal conditions but have also been shown to perform even better when water is being passed through the surface, which happens pretty much all of the time in some areas.

This means that one would benefit from installing this type of product over other more traditional materials from an environmental standpoint. After all, it will not only prevent erosion issues from forming on steep hillsides or roadsides but protect water sources as well.

In general, installing a driveway made out of more natural materials will also be better for the environment over traditional materials because it is more sustainable. Not only are you reducing adverse environmental effects, but they are doing something positive for the planet that is benefiting other creatures!


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