Pervious Concrete and Maintenance - Your Questions Answered!


Recently, maintaining pervious concrete has come up several times in a week, prompting this blog post. The good news is that this conversation is happening. The bad news is that some people who are not on board with pervious are using an ill-informed maintenance opinion to shape their judgement. We here at Bay Area Pervious Concrete would like to clear up a few of the misconceptions around maintenance.

Firstly, we have found the relevance of maintenance is tied directly to the porosity of the slab itself. A healthy infiltration rate for a slab of pervious concrete is 250-1000 inches per square foot per hour. That ensures that even if the slab was 99% clogged, and the 5 year storm event was 3 inches in 24 hours (as we have here in the Bay Area), that slab would easily be able to absorb that entire storm. So at 99% clogged, the slab would take in 2.5 inches - 10 inches of stormwater per hour per square foot!

Secondly, here are three helpful resources to help with installing a good slab, maintaining it and the fixing a worst case scenario:
1) In order to make sure you get your healthy infiltration rates, an experienced and qualified contractor is required. We have performance based specs that you may review, so that you can be sure to get a good contractor and get a great pervious concrete installation! We also have a BAPC PolishedTM Pervious Spec that we will send at your request.

2) Regular maintenance that can be done, if there is a budget and a desire for a plan. We have put together a maintenance manual that we give to clients at their request when we finish work for them. This gives an idea what you can anticipate, allows one to set up a maintenance schedule, and has resources to call if clogging does occur.

3) Pervious concrete can recover porosity after clogging over years as shown from a research paper from Florida that came out a few years ago. The paper shows several slabs of unmaintained pervious ranging in age from 6 to 20 years old that were able to recover significant infiltration after a pressure washing, vacuuming or a combination of both - after YEARS of neglect. So, no maintenance, no problem!

Do you have any unanswered questions about maintenance and pervious concrete? Submit them here, and we may add them to this post!

2 Symptoms of Failed Pervious Concrete

2 Symptoms of Failed Pervious Concrete - Raveling and Sealing

Recently it has come to our attention that there appears to be a discrepancy in what a high-quality pervious concrete jobs looks like, and what has been passed off as high quality but in fact is not at all quality.

Failed installations have 2 main features: raveling and sealing.

Raveling is when the aggregate comes off of the slab as cement coated gravel. That can be an indication of poor mix design, poor installation technique or even misunderstand the weather's impact on the day of the pour.

Sealing is when the water pools and does not go through. It is possible to have sealing at the top, where it looks blotchy, or just beneath the surface such that the finish looks appropriate but does not drain. This is an indication of poor mix design. An experienced pervious concrete installer understands how critical the proper mix is and works closely with his ready-mix partners to get it right.

As we at BAPC have said before, pervious concrete is a tricky material and only those who are qualified, experienced and show a commitment to ongoing learning about techniques and mix designs are able to install and place pervious concrete with a consistent high quality.

We have created this video, complete with an amazing sound track, to illustrate what failed pervious concrete looks like, and what successful pervious concrete looks like. If you would like us to come out and evaluate your slab, or better yet, if you would like it done well the first time, please contact us.