New Way to Prevent the Need for Concrete Repair: “Thirsty” Concrete

Topmix Thirsty Concrete

Concrete will eventually need repair no matter what, but one company has invented a product that helps preserve concrete surfaces while simultaneously reducing flooding and conserving and recycling water.

The new product on the market ― Topmix Permeable ― was developed by Tarmac, a sustainable building materials producer in the UK.

How Does it Work?

Regular concrete is somewhat absorbent, but Tarmac’s “thirsty concrete” has the capability to consume over 1,000 gallons of water in the first minute. On average, the company reports that 1 square meter of Topmix Permeable absorbs 600 liters, or 159 gallons, per minute.

How is this possible?

The mix has an upper permeable layer composed of larger pebbles of granite, which allows water to seep down to the next layer, which is composed of looser rubble. Within this rubble are drains that route water through and direct it back into the city’s water system.

The surfaces also can be installed to direct water back into the ground for reabsorption or captured for other reuse purposes, including irrigation.

While permeable concrete is nothing new to the industry, using it as the top layer is revolutionary. Previously, permeable concrete has not been strong enough to withstand the weight of regular vehicle traffic, but Tarmac’s product remedies this solution.

How Will the New Technology Mitigate Flooding?

Flooding is a major problem in many areas around the world. Homes and businesses are ruined when drainage systems are not able to handle sudden flash flooding, but permeable surfaces can help. Tarmac’s product also can act as a reservoir for excess water that city’s drainage system can process fast enough.

An added benefit is cooling ― when water is held beneath the surface, it cools the concrete and reduces surface temperature, decreasing the heat island effect.

Potential Drawbacks

Topmix Permeable can provide many flood-prevention and water-reuse benefits, but it has its limitations too. Once the water enters the underlying rubble layer, it has the potential to freeze if temperatures drop. Frozen water that expands could ruin the installation, so Tarmac does not recommend using their product in any location where freezing temperatures are common.

With concrete as one of the most popular building materials in the world, it is no surprise that companies are focusing on ways to transform and increase its current usefulness and longevity.

Keep your concrete in good shape ― contact Lift-Up Concrete for all of your concrete repair projects, and for more information on how to boost your concrete’s environmental friendliness.