When Are Plain Gravel Surfaces Really Porous?


Courtesy of Invisible Structures, Inc.

Invisible Structures, Inc. makes reinforcement structures for two forms of porous pavements – Grasspave2 and Gravelpave2. When project demands call for porous pavement, and construction budgets are tight, someone will usually suggest that plain old gravel will work just as well, and cost less money. Is this suggestion true?

Historical Gravel Pavements are not Porous

Traditional methods and materials used to construct gravel roads, drives, and parking surfaces are designed to shed water – not to allow water to quickly penetrate and pass through the cross-section. This is accomplished by sloping or crowning the surface for rapid surface runoff, and using a gravel mixture that includes a wide range of particle sizes, including “fines” (materials that pass a #200 screen, or <.075 mm) that compose up to 20% of the mixture. The fines are effective at maximizing compaction of the gravel mixture, but at the expense of porosity.

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