Porous Asphalt Surfacing

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When it comes to any surfacing project for the home or the workplace, getting the right type is key to making sure you get the longevity and the quality you desire from it.

In some areas, a concrete driveway or path may work better than a surface utilising the benefits of dense bitumen macadam, in others, the benefits may be reversed. Much depends on drainage and the make-up of the underlying layers and at Tidey & Webb, the leading Sussex surfacing specialists, we understand this. That is why our versatile approach to surfacing means that you can enjoy the perfect surface for your needs without compromise.

One of our most common questions is about the permeable nature of the surface type you are considering. For some surface areas, it is best to let the water run off the top and for others, it can be best for water to penetrate the surface without causing any damage to it. So, what do you choose for where you live?

Porous asphalt is fast becoming a surface type of choice for both commercial surfacing projects as well as those at residential properties, largely in part to how it benefits areas where drainage can be a significant issue.

What is porous asphalt?

If you are considering a new residential surfacing project such as a new driveway or a play area for the children, you will likely be looking for a surface that provides durability, safety and low maintenance. Choosing a porous asphalt surface could well be your best option.

Porous asphalt is a fast-draining surface type ideal for driveways, car parks, playgrounds or any other surface that require a quick way to remove surface water.

Built with durability in mind, porous asphalt is seen as a safe and sustainable surface type due to the quick way it can eliminate the slip hazards bought on by water and ice.

Particularly popular in areas that may be affected by storms or heavy rainfall, a porous asphalt surface for your driveway, car park or any other surface type can be the perfect solution for surfacing problems you may have encountered in the past.

Should you have discovered your current surface is not sufficient, speak to our team, we can assess your needs and create a fantastic, cost-effective solution that will relieve you of the concerns your current driveway, path, playground, or car park may be causing you.

How long does porous asphalt last?

Porous asphalt is built to last and when installed by a team of surfacing experts that have assessed your resurfacing needs can last more than 20 years. This longevity provides the owner with a truly cost-effective and safe surfacing solution.

Just like other asphalt surfaces, it provides high levels of durability, low levels of maintenance and a stunning finish for any type of purpose you wish your surface to fulfil.

Common uses for porous asphalt

Porous asphalt is often used in areas where drainage may not be at its best but thanks to its durability and high quality, people will often choose it over other surfacing types even if the specific need for it isn’t there. With the financial benefit of it being cheaper than many other surface types and, as mentioned, the high quality and durability it possesses, it stands to benefit many that decide to use it.

Over the years that we have been operating as surfacing specialists for the southeast, we have found that porous asphalt has been taken on as part of projects across a variety of needs. We mainly see it used on:

  • Playgrounds
  • Driveways
  • Paths
  • Car parks

How does porous asphalt work?

Porous asphalt works by allowing surface water to drain through the asphalt itself onto the stone bed beneath. It moves through the surface much faster than water on many other surface types, removing the risk of flash flooding or random pooling of water. Once the water reaches the stone bed, the water will seep into the soil, just like rain would on a lawn for example. Should the rainwater have collected toxins from the surface itself, they will be carried along with the rainfall and pushed into the sub-base which then sees the natural process take place of cleansing the water.  Where other surfaces may hold water or allow small amounts to pass through, all of which can be of benefit to their particular need, with porous asphalt, it allows a much more general or directed drainage to take place.

Benefits of porous asphalt

Aside from the fast drainage that can prove to be extremely beneficial, porous asphalt gives users many more benefits that add to the cost-effectiveness of choosing it as your surface type.

  • Environmentally friendly when compared to other surfaces. Less energy and emissions are used in its production.
  • Water is quickly absorbed preventing potential hazards
  • Cheaper to install than concrete
  • Long lasting
  • Simple to maintain
  • Easy to install
  • Absorbance of UV rays allows for cooler air around the surface when compared to other surface types.

Whilst these benefits are key factors in deciding whether porous asphalt is the type of service you require, you should also factor in that there can be some disadvantages although, the UK climate seems to help us surpass those. If the weather is exceptionally hot for a consistent period of time, the surface can deteriorate, likewise, where there is extreme cold, the surface can fracture. In the UK, we don’t reach temperatures extreme enough, frequently enough but it may be something worth considering.

Our team will be able to advise the best surface for your location.

Porous asphalt compared to concrete

When it comes to a new surface you will no doubt find a host of options presented to you, each vying to be the one you choose as your new driveway, car park, playground or path. Each has its benefits and some far outweigh others.

When you compare porous asphalt to concrete there are perhaps a few differences that really stand out. Concrete can expand and contract due to frost heaves and if you apply salt to melt any ice, you could see further deterioration. Compare this to a porous asphalt surface that allows the water to drain away and you remove both the expansion and contraction possibilities as well as the damage caused by the application of salt.

Asphalt is also seen as a greener alternative. Whilst its manufacture may involve chemicals and emissions that concrete may not, its reusable properties see it recycled and reused, saving money, time and reducing the manufacturing processes. Concrete, on the other hand, does not lend itself to this type of greener method. When it is removed or broken down, it often has to be transported to a specialist facility.

Why not speak to our team and we can assess what works best for you? We would be delighted to share our knowledge and experience!

Porous asphalt compared to block paving

If you are considering a driveway installation, block paving may be high on the agenda. Block paving driveways look fantastic and can add value to your property both in terms of finances and aesthetics. It is just whether you feel the outlay is worth it. Block paving is more expensive than porous asphalt and does take longer to install as well as maintain. You can have an asphalt driveway laid in one day whereas block paving may take several.

Ultimately it all comes down to taste, budget and how much effort you are happy to put in with regards to maintenance.

Porous asphalt maintenance

Porous asphalt is easy to look after and that plays a large part in why it is chosen by so many people for residential surfacing and commercial use. Simple sweeping once a week, or less frequently if in low-volume areas can keep debris away but you can also use a vacuum should you feel it necessary.

Thanks to its porous nature you should never notice build-ups of water but in particularly extreme wet and windy weather, you may notice a lot of debris. This can lead to water starting to pool due to clogging caused by the debris. After such weather, check your surface a sweep, vacuum and jet wash can quickly clear the problem.

Should ice start to form on the surface, simply apply rock salt, this works well with the surface and will help remove the ice and keep the surface working as it should.


No matter the area you need a surface laid or replaced, our team at Tidey & Webb can help you find the best solution for your needs. We can arrive on-site to give you an assessment and then provide a free surfacing quote ensuring you are fully aware of all costs and timescales.

Contact the Sussex and Surrey surfacing experts today and let us create you something cost-effective, durable and easy to look after!

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