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Wintertime has a tendency to boost the stress level of business owners. Not only are their stores' floors constantly messy from muddy boot traffic, but the harsh weather can cause quite a strain on their parking lots, and the risk of a customer experiencing a slip and fall accident is an ever-present worry. Fortunately, there's help for winter-dreading business owners from an unlikely source -- the asphalt paving industry. If you own a business, read on to learn about porous pavement and 4 things it can help you achieve this winter.
What Is Porous Pavement?
When preparing to surface a regular parking lot, contractors pour a mixture of liquid asphalt and mineral aggregate (sand and crushed stone) onto layer of compacted subgrade soil. The asphalt/aggregate must be tightly packed and rainfall must be diverted away from the parking lot in order to protect the subgrade soil from moisture. Should enough moisture permeate the pavement and enter the subsoil, the soil could freeze and expand, pushing up and damaging the asphalt surface of the parking lot.
Permeable pavement is totally different, though. When constructing a permeable pavement parking lot, contractors don't compact the subsoil. Instead, they top it with a deep (at least 12 inches) bed of large, single-sized (1 - 3 inches) stones. The stones leave a 40 percent void space, allowing plenty of room for water to accumulate within the bed. On top of these larger stones are smaller, 1/2-inch stones. These smaller stones are still porous, but lay compact enough to provide a stable surface for the asphalt to adhere to.
Finally, the asphalt mixture is poured, but it isn't any old asphalt mixture; less aggregate is added to the mix, which leaves it porous once it dries. Instead of water being a threat to the parking lot, it is encouraged to enter the asphalt and flow through it to the collection bed below. From there, the water slowly trickles back into the water table.
How Can It Help You This Winter?
Why, as a business owner, would you opt for a porous pavement parking lot over a traditional pavement parking lot? There are plenty of reasons, four of which are outlined below.
Keep Clean Floors. Much of the messiness of winter weather–floors comes from people trekking through your sloppy, slushy parking lot before they come into your store. Since porous pavement parking lots drain water before it gets the chance to accumulate, you can expect to spend less time mopping mud up off your business's floors.
Lessen Your Liability Risks. Black ice occurs when small amounts of standing water on pavement freeze, forming a super-thin, virtually invisible layer of ice. This stuff is slick and it forms fast, making it a dangerous obstacle for customers as they make their way across your parking lot in winter weather.
Since porous pavement doesn't allow any water to remain standing in your parking lot, black ice can't form. Your customers will remain safe while strolling from their car to your entrance-way, and you won't need to worry about a slip and fall liability case.
Forget About Frost Heaves. As mentioned above, damage such as frost heaves occurs when water leaches below the surface of the pavement and freezes, pushing up the pavement. Since porous pavement is specially designed to create a holding bed for water, moisture won't expand to the point where it stresses the pavement.
Save On Salt. Since the main reason you spread salt in your parking lot is to prevent standing water from freezing, you can start using a lot less of it as soon as you have a porous pavement driveway installed. How much less? If your parking lot isn't heavily shaded, you can expect to cut back on salt-spreading by about 75 percent. You won't need to spread as much sand to create traction, either; sand will only interfere with the ability of a porous pavement parking lot to drain water.
If, as a business owner, the first snowfall fills you with a sense of dread, it may be time to consider installing a porous pavement parking lot at your establishment. While traditional pavement parking lots must be protected from winter weather, porous pavement lots work to tackle the obstacles associated with winter weather, so you spend less time worrying about how the snow affects your store and more time worrying about running your business. Contact a company like Fayetteville Contractors Inc for more information.