Traditional concrete is treated to prevent water from soaking into it and through the material. This leads to erosion and soil loss when water drains off a patio, driveway, or other concrete structure in your yard. Installing pervious concrete lets the moisture flow through and soak into the soil below, and these five tips will help you get the most out of a slab made with this type of material.
Spread the Mixture Quickly
Unlike other types of slumping concrete, this material sets up very quickly and starts out pretty stiff when mixed properly. The installers need to get the concrete out as quickly as possible to create a smooth surface across the top before it sets. Clear the area so the concrete contractors can access all sides of the work area for better spreading.
Keep It Covered
Once the pervious concrete hardens and starts curing, it needs to maintain a fairly high moisture level for a full week. Covering the surface with a cement blanket or plastic wrap prevents evaporation from speeding up the curing process. You might need to wet the concrete with a mister attachment on a hose if the installers recommend it due to high temperatures or windy conditions.
The moisture requirements of the sand-free mixture means it's easier to spread the material during certain parts of the year. Aim for warm temperatures staying above 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and no lower than 50 degrees F at night. Spring and fall installations cure faster and more reliably than winter and summer projects.
Decorate the Surface Carefully
Some decorative techniques for concrete interfere with the porous nature of this material. Safe decorating options include:
- Dyeing, with color sprayed on the surface or incorporated into the mix
- Stamping, especially if the installers use firm plastic molds
- Engraving, where lines and patterns are cut into the surface
Avoid sealing the surface unless the product is recommended by the installers. Exposed aggregate finishes aren't available for this type of concrete because leaving the aggregate covered creates the wicking effect needed to clear standing water. Go for textures over coatings to leave the surface properly exposed.
Plant Your Area
With all that water saturating the ground instead of pouring off in sheets, you can plant your favorite flowers along the edges of pervious walkways and driveways. Even small shrubs and grasses grow well with all that extra moisture flowing right to the roots. With properly finishing along the edges, it's unlikely that the roots will grow into the open structure of the concrete from your newly planted beds.
Make sure your chosen landscaping plants can handle a little extra warmth from sitting next to a concrete surface. While pervious concrete doesn't reflect as much heat as the regular material, it's still going to warm up a few degrees in the middle of summer. If you're located in a hot climate, you'll need to stick with heat tolerant varieties to prevent crispy plants from cluttering up your landscape.
Consider Freezing Damage
Most concrete is treated to keep water out so it can't freeze under the surface in the winter. Protect your installation by choosing a mix that drains quickly enough to prevent moisture from lingering in the gaps. For example, a slab with a permeability of three to five gallons a minute can handle rain storms and melting snow pack during all four seasons.
Stop struggling with puddles on your driveway and runoff that damages your plants when pervious concrete is available for nearly any kind of outdoor concrete project. Design a beautiful outdoor landscape around your home by using the best modern concrete and hiring experienced installers from places like Island Asphalt Co to build it.