If you’ve never heard of exposed aggregate concrete, it is a type of decorative concrete that is achieved by removing the uppermost layer of cement paste to reveal the underlying aggregate. By removing the top layer, the aggregate becomes highly durable. It forms a skid-resistant surface that is ideal for patios, sidewalks, pool decks, and driveways, as well as other areas that are exposed to extreme temperatures, as it can withstand snow, ice, rain, and direct sunlight.
Exposed aggregate has proven to be a popular choice with homeowners who want to create a visually impressive surface. However, it’s not a new concept; the decorative technique has been around since the early 1900s. The concrete provides a range of benefits.
The Benefits of Exposed Aggregate
Exposed aggregate concrete in Melbourne is a fantastic way to get a striking look at a pretty reasonable price. The advantages of the decorative concrete include:
- Aggregate is more slip-resistant than brushed concrete
- Homeowners can choose from a range of almost unlimited textures and colours, which means you can easily customise your aesthetic
- The concrete is low maintenance, and only requires the occasional cleaning and sealing
- Aggregate is an easier technique to master compared to other decorative techniques
- Aggregate requires fewer tools and materials than other techniques
- Aggregate is usually less expensive than other decorative techniques
- The concrete is resistant to extreme weather and heavy traffic
Advanced exposed aggregate techniques can be used to create even more dramatic effects. For instance, use contrasting aggregates to alternate sections of exposed and smooth aggregate finishes, or use wood divider strips to contrast the shades and textures of the concrete. Whichever effect you choose to use, exposed aggregate is sure to get you more bang for your buck.
The Three Main Methods Used for Aggregate Exposed Concrete
With seeded concrete, as soon as the concrete is laid, the aggregates are placed onto the concrete’s surface and floated.
With the monolithic concrete method, the aggregates are batched straight into the concrete truck before it leaves the concrete plant. This is the most common, and easiest, method and makes use of smaller aggregate, known as pea stone.
With the overlay method, existing concrete that is in top shape is used. Aggregates are mixed into the overlay topping and then applied to the old concrete to create a brand new, fresh look.
What’s the Secret?
There is a small secret to exposing the aggregates, which involves keeping the top layer of cement paste soft while the concrete beneath hardens. This can be done by spraying a surface retardant on the top layer as soon as it is installed. Anywhere from a few to several hours later, the cement paste is rinsed away with a hose and aggregate is exposed. Compared to other decorative styles, exposed aggregate is a low-cost method to get a decorative concrete look. The low maintenance effect will last for years to come.