Updated 25 May 2022
Exposed aggregate concrete has become an absolute favourite and a household term in recent years. This ornamental aggregate concrete is a type of surface concrete. It is commonly used on patios, driveways, and walkways. It has a highly unusual and extraordinary appearance due to the abundance of stones, pebbles, and sand. Its finishing is brought about by sharpening or inoculating the surface to accentuate distinct designs, effects, and patterns. This post will look into some of the benefits of exposed aggregate concrete.
When it comes to flooring options, looks and sturdiness are two of the biggest factors that affect your choice. You want a surface that is long-lasting and appealing at the same time. However, you probably think that you need to sacrifice looks to get a hardwearing surface and vice versa.
With exposed aggregate, you can get the best of both worlds: durable flooring with a stunning finish. This flooring option will not only improve the overall appeal of your property but can withstand harsh conditions. Therefore, you can expect it to look good as it is now for several years to come.
Exposed aggregate, to be concise, is a type of finish where the top layer is removed to expose the aggregates, such as stones and sand. To achieve it, chemical retarders are used on the surface or a water washing technique. These methods effectively etch away the layer without causing any negative impact on the aggregate.
Where to Use Exposed Aggregate
Exposed aggregate is used in many parts of a property, both commercial and residential. You can have it installed in driveways, pathways, al frescos, pool surrounds, and more. The mentioned areas, as you may already know, are those that demand good looks and reliable performance. You do not want to waste money on useless flooring that can even cost more yet does not offer the same benefits of exposed aggregate.
Let us have an in-depth look at the areas where you can use this flooring option:
- Patios and Pathways Some would argue that outdoor flooring needs more attention from homeowners than indoor floors. Whether you agree or disagree, you cannot deny the huge impact of the outdoor area. The patio is among them and you know it is one of the spaces in your property that should have exceptional flooring.Neighbours can see the area, as well as passers-by. Guests enter your home through the patio and it can even serve as the venue for your events.Therefore, patio floors are important, so you should guarantee their appeal and beauty. At the same time, they should be functional, efficient, and hardy. You need patio flooring that will not deteriorate over time. You can already tell that exposed aggregate is the best choice for your patio.
- Driveways and parking areas Your driveway and parking area require a type of flooring that is highly durable. Because it accepts at least one vehicle daily, which can even stay there for several hours, the floors should withstand the weight.While there are numerous other options for driveway flooring, exposed aggregate is certainly one of the best. You do not want the area to be slippery. It should also be durable and easily maintained. All these benefits come with using exposed aggregate.
- Entertainment areas If you always invite people over for a party or get-togethers, you know the outdoor entertainment area should have a hardy flooring as well. One of the things about concrete that make homeowners turn away from it is the grey colour. It is not exactly inviting and warm. On the contrary, it looks dull and cold for some people.However, exposed aggregate is far more decorative than a boring grey colour. If you want to breathe new life in your entertainment area outdoors, this flooring option is for you.
Precast Panels or Concrete
Some sources say that precast concrete started in ancient Rome, considering that there was an extensive network of tunnels designed during that time. They still exist up to this day. No matter where it came from, precast concrete is making waves all over the world, including the US and Australia.
Precast panels are those that you see created away from your home. A mould is used to shape the panels. Concrete is poured into the mould that usually comes with rebar or a wire mesh and the product is later cured in a controlled environment. Typically, it takes place at a plant.
When the curing process is complete, the precast concrete will be delivered to your home or the construction site where it will be installed.
Exposed aggregate can make precast panels more attractive. The panels are often a part of parking structures, building foundations, bridges, culverts, and kerb inlets among many others.
Parkland and Other Public Spaces
Decorative concreting has become one of the top options in public areas. Exposed aggregate is extremely attractive with unique designs. It is popular in residential properties but also in spaces that receive a continuous influx of people.
It is non-slippery, making it safe for those walking around, whether young or old. Children tend to play in parks and run around in huge open spaces. You must select the right type of flooring. Exposed aggregate is one of the most useful options around.
Make exposed aggregate a part of your landscaping. It does not stick out but blends in well with the surroundings. This decorative concrete variety is a great alternative to other options that you may see in other landscaping projects, such as paving slabs and block paving. It also goes well with limestone walls.
You can have a free-flowing pathway all around your garden or yard. You will not see any unsightly joints, so you do not have to worry about weeds as well. If you welcome many visitors daily, this concrete type is also hardwearing.
You surely want to have a private paradise right in your backyard. Instead of settling for a typical looking pool, you can turn to exposed aggregate to enhance the appearance of the pool deck, landscaping, and paving.
Colours and styles are limitless. But more important than the design, exposed aggregate ensures a non-slip surface. It is the perfect choice for families and everyone with a pool.
Benefits of Exposed Aggregate Concrete
Even after reading everything above, you may still not be convinced that this decorative option is for you. To make it simpler, here are the top reasons why you want to go for exposed aggregate for your next flooring project:
The exposed aggregate is as tough as any plain hard floor and can take more pressure than real stone. The exposed aggregate surface, most crucially, can withstand years of hard and harsh weather with little or no upkeep. The quality of the aggregate surface will be maintained for years regardless of where it is placed. If you clean and seal it, it will last much longer.
It Requires Low Maintenance
Another advantage is that exposed aggregate concrete does not necessitate much upkeep. Polishing is not necessary for this sort of concrete. After five years, you must seal it to maintain its beauty. To maintain it, you must clean it regularly. As a result, many contractors regard this as one of the most practical choices.
It’s a Practical Solution
Exposed concrete gives your home an appealing appearance that draws attention. The surface of these aggregates will also have a more “natural” aspect than regular concrete or brick due to the exposed core elements. As long as you work with a professional, the installation should go smoothly and according to your specifications. This makes it simple to put in enormous driveways, long walkways, or little slabs wherever they’re needed. This concrete is also ideal for homes because it inhibits the growth of weeds and moss, and it is not only simple to maintain but also to remove troublesome weeds.
It is Sturdy With Great Traction
Exposed concrete is not only durable but also robust. Most exposed aggregate surfaces are elevated, providing good traction. This is particularly useful during the winter months. Your vehicle will have more to grasp, thanks to increased roughness. If you build a proper draining system for your aggregate concrete, you will have fewer troubles in the future.
Other materials, while rough, lack the raised texture of gravel. In this way, aggregate surfaces are more dependable and durable enough to withstand considerable activity, whether from humans or automobiles.
It is Eco-Friendly
Exposed aggregate is made from recycled materials, including slag and other industrial waste. Aggregate concrete can also fill up cracks in asphalt roadways and other concrete structures.
Comes In Various Varieties
There are numerous varieties of aggregate concretes available. You can utilize practically any combination of stones and gravel to come up with a distinctive contemporary look in your backyard. Different coloured aggregates can be used to produce different patterns or to resemble other materials.
You can save money by avoiding the expense of expert maintenance. The grout on the exposed aggregate does not change colour over time. Weeds, gaps, and sand erosion will not be an issue. Other materials, such as bricks or pavers, may not be able to overcome these problems, but the exposed aggregate is not one of them. This is a type of decorative concrete that, unlike others, does not require painting. In most cases, it also doesn’t warp or tear, as we have already seen.
The Negatives of Decorative Concrete
We do not want to sound like we are heavily promoting exposed aggregate.
Here at CoastCrete, it is more important that customers learn about concrete products. The following are some of the disadvantages of using exposed aggregate:
- You cannot do it on your own. Unless you have done many concreting jobs before, you should not attempt to DIY exposed aggregate. Always go for a trusted professional to do the dirty work for you.
- The material can be prone to damage. This statement is especially true with decorative stones. They can break in just a few years since they will be exposed to heavy and consistent traffic. It is why you should make sure that the materials are high-quality. They have a much lower risk of getting destroyed by walking feet and vehicles.
- You could deal with unprofessional and inexperienced installers. Many homeowners think that installing any type of flooring does not involve any rules and regulations. However, Australian Standards are set to remind both the consumers and professionals the ethical procedures in anything related to flooring. For instance, the Australian Standard 3827 provides details about residential pavements. Reading it will tell you about performance requirements. Another is the National Construction Code, which should also be followed about water drainage. For concrete finishes, you should first check the guide to concrete flatwork finishes from the Cement Concrete and Aggregates Australia. Knowing about these rules may seem to be a waste of time, but it surely pays to be a smart consumer. Otherwise, you could end up with incorrect thickness, finishes, and levels. Pitting, ponding, and messed up surfaces are just among the problems you can encounter with inexperienced concreting traders.
Decorative Concrete Variations
Decorative concrete lets you add colour, texture, and life to a certain space. Whether it is the driveway, alfresco, patio, or pool surround, you can achieve an eye-catching design with decorative concrete. Plus, you can choose the best style that complements your landscaping and house.
Aside from exposed aggregate, you can also choose from other types of decorative concrete, including:
- Stamped concrete
- Polished aggregate
- Burnished concrete
- Polished concrete
- Honed aggregate
The above-mentioned types are other methods of applying decorative concrete. One method involves adding some special components into the concrete mix before it is poured onto the surface. Other ways include adding an extra layer with decorative concrete on top of the existing concrete after the curing process.
Just like exposed aggregate, there are almost no limits in the possibilities of design with most of the decorative concrete options above. If exposed aggregate is not for you, make sure that you consider the options listed above. Let a professional guide you on which choice is better suited for your flooring requirements. Talk to one of the pros at CoastCrete to learn and discover your options and which one to go for.