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Community and Q&A

Will permeable pavers be useful over clay?

Barbara Matheson | Posted in Green Building Techniques on

We need a new driveway and would like it to help with drainage problems. We sit at the bottom of a hill and have a big roof. The old drive slopes and has inlets and subterranean pipes to direct water from hill and downs spouts to street. The underlying soil is clay and I mean clay, as in the clay that is used to make pottery. I don’t think permeable pavers would be of any use here as there is very limited percolation into the clay. Am I thinking correctly and if so what would be a good material to use to make the driveway?


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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    You are thinking correctly.

  2. Barbara Matheson | | #2


  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    If the soil under your driveway consists of "clay that is used to make pottery," then (as you correctly note) you can't expect the soil to absorb much rainfall. With soil like that, you need to handle rainfall with ditches at the shoulders of the driveway. The ditches should direct the water to catch basins or culverts.

    Your driveway can be surfaced with gravel, asphalt, concrete, or some type of pavers -- your choice.

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