Commercial Water Drainage Tips for Concrete and Asphalt Projects

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You may hear the words “asphalt” and “concrete” and wonder how such durable materials can possibly factor into water drainage. The common understanding is that both surfaces (and concrete in particular) are all but impervious to water and thus pretty useless in managing it. These misconceptions can lead to some costly consequences for commercial landlords who don’t appreciate the possibilities.

These hard-wearing surfaces can actually be effective allies in your overall commercial drainage plan. This guide will explain how concrete and asphalt can help control commercial water drainage, how to avoid potential risks and penalties, and who to call for the premier paving service in Maryland.

The Basics of Commercial Water Drainage

The goal is simple: commercial spaces need surface water to be removed as fast as possible from their premises. The job is more complex. The impact of and solutions to water drainage in commercial spaces can be better understood by spotlighting the essential factors that connect drainage to paving. 

1. A Porous Top Paving Layer

Concrete and asphalt are naturally porous and thus automatically contribute to drainage. This contribution must be carefully managed, however, because porous top layers may absorb water but send it nowhere, which isn’t what you want. A winning top layer is all in the nature of the blend, which is directly affected by the following two considerations.

2. Surface and Subsurface Drainage

Effective surface drainage helps protect paving by directing and disposing of water quickly and efficiently, drawing it away from the surface and into gutters, shoulders, spillways, or dikes. Subsurface drainage deals with how water is handled after it has permeated the upper layer and moved into base layers such as the surrounding soil. The depth and size of subsurface drainage provisions must ensure that water can never rise to contact the paving layer from below.

3. Local Conditions

The local climate, topography, and soil characteristics are crucial factors when installing or re-engineering any drainage system. Excessively arid, moist, or elementally variable locations can create warm or wet problems for paving (and thus drainage) and contribute to a damaging freeze/thaw cycle. Local soil and land levels can make or break drainage through absorption and grading, depending on how sensitively each is factored in.

Experienced professionals always consider these matters when planning paving for commercial spaces. The right concrete or asphalt mixture tailored to your specific site can yield an effective drainage system.

4 Ways Concrete and Asphalt Can Aid Commercial Drainage

Experienced and attentive contractors can give you the best concrete or asphalt solutions to augment your drainage based on the three key factors above. They can blend paving to superior levels of porosity and augment more typical blends using additional drainage measures, such as:

1. Pervious Concrete

As the name suggests, this blend is more giving than standard concrete mixes. Pervious paving can allow a significant amount of water to pass easily through to the base course at rates of up to 2 to 18 gallons a minute per square foot. This concrete is ideal for rainy locales, and like all forms of the material, it is also environmentally friendly. 

2. Concrete Drainage Additions Can Assist Standard Blends

Not every site will opt for extra-porous or pervious paving. Standard concrete and asphalt blends will require drainage assistance from catch basins, dry wells, or trench drains. One or more of these is an effective way to trap, contain, and drain water in commercial spaces.

3. Concrete and Asphalt Can Be Sloped

Pavement needn’t be a sitting duck for water that pools faster than it drains. Sloping (also called “grading”) allows water to run off in the desired direction without waiting for vertical drainage or evaporation. Sloping is a precision skill – too shallow and the water won’t move, too steep and excessive runoff speed will only quicken paving erosion.

4. Asphalt Can Also Be Extra-Porous

Asphalt can be mixed to allow water to drain through to the stone bed, and from there into the soil where it’s naturally absorbed. This blend is created using an open-graded friction course – a thin, permeable layer of asphalt that integrates a skeleton of uniform aggregate size with a minimum of fine aggregates. Sites with permeable soils and gentle slopes are particularly well-suited to this mixture when it’s blended well.

Good paving plans prevent multiple issues, but bad ones open the floodgates for more than water. Accidents, lawsuits, and fines are possible outcomes when paving is not laid correctly, drained, and maintained.

7 Common Pitfalls of Badly Designed Commercial Drainage

Concrete and asphalt can give many years of durable and safe performance, or they can quickly become a commercial liability. All paving, and particularly that with higher porosity, requires ongoing care and an appreciation of the common risks posed by carelessness or ignorance. Here are some issues to watch for:

  • Poorly drained paving creates multiple hazards. Liquid or frozen standing water can cause vehicle skidding and collisions, physical slip and fall risks, and pools of toxic runoff where gasoline chemicals coagulate.
  • Standing water and toxic runoff slowly but surely erode even the most durable surfaces. This creates substandard conditions that lead to further potential for accidents and lawsuits.
  • Stormwater regulations, stormwater quality, and site runoff should be considered from the outset, or problems with local and state authorities are as likely as lawsuits. Failure to implement code-compliant drainage can trigger thousands of dollars in daily EPA fines.
  • Not every contractor appreciates the mechanics of drainage. Don’t presume the team you hired will make it part of their plan.
  • Asphalt can be vulnerable to water from above and below. Bad blends will soon come apart if not precisely mixed with drainage in mind and supported by an effective subsurface base.
  • Porous is not the same as pervious. Ask your contractor if the porosity of your asphalt or concrete will allow sufficient drainage or just hold the water in and damage the surface.
  • Substandard drainage can have a visual impact on commercial spaces. Stained areas can result in black, white, or rust-colored patches, depending on the source and runoff content of poorly drained water.

Proper commercial water management requires discussing your site with an experienced concrete or asphalt team that appreciates your unique needs. This will deliver a durable, cost-effective solution while helping you understand the importance of ongoing pavement maintenance.

Contact Limitless Paving and Concrete for Safer Drainage Designs

Drainage is an essential factor in your commercial logistics and overall operational safety. The skilled team at Limitless Paving & Concrete can walk you through the commercial drainage process from start to finish to ensure your project exceeds your expectations for design and construction. We are your go-to in Maryland for commercial and residential projects of any size and scope. 

Contact Limitless Paving & Concrete for an estimate or to speak with an expert today.

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