Concrete is known for its durability, low maintenance, and industrial look. But that popular industrial look can be the dealbreaker for Perth homeowners who like to express their personality and creativity. Fortunately, there are plenty of options, such as exposed aggregate concrete. This decorative concrete finish is a combination of water, cement, and a variety of aggregates, which may include crushed stones, gravel, shattered glass, quartzite, and pebbles. The result of this mixture is a textured surface so visually appealing and unique-looking that it also comes with the benefits of concrete.
Exposed aggregate is highly versatile, so it is often used in indoor and outdoor applications. You can find this decorative concrete finish anywhere, from driveways to patios, pool decks, and even interior floors. It’s also used in stairs and walkways, as well as in columns, walls, and other architectural features.
Exposed Aggregate Driveways
An exposed concrete aggregate driveway involves removing the top layer of cement paste, “exposing” the natural beauty of the embedded aggregates. It can have a variety of appearance depending on the colours, sizes, and materials used, giving homeowners the ability to select aggregates that complement their property’s landscape and existing architectural style. This decorative finish creates a textured, three-dimensional look as the aggregates protrude from the base. The result is a rich, layered design with added depth and character. It’s the perfect choice for a driveway!
Like a standard concrete driveway, exposed aggregate is a long-lasting surface that stays slip-resistant. That’s why it is a practical choice for driveways, as it can withstand heavy traffic and harsh weather conditions in Perth. With the inherent strength of concrete, you get a hard-wearing surface that supports the weight of cars, trucks, and caravans.
Here are more reasons for installing an exposed concrete aggregate driveway:
- Exposed aggregate creates a driveway that stands out, enhancing the kerb appeal of the whole property.
- The aggregates are customisable, offering a range of sizes and colours, from vibrant hues to earth tones and more, for an inimitable visual effect.
- Depending on the pattern design you prefer, your driveway’s edges can also be personalised. For example, you can pick between straight-lined edges and curved borders, whichever complements your property’s architectural style.
- Exposed aggregate decorative concrete offers resistance to wear and tear, even when continually being beaten by vehicle tyres and heavy foot traffic. The aggregates are naturally tough, as is the concrete, making sure that the surface remains intact for years to come.
As with any concrete surface, an exposed concrete aggregate driveway requires minimal maintenance. Regular sweeping and cleaning, along with occasional resealing, will keep it fresh and robust.
Exposed Aggregate Patio
Exposed aggregate is indeed versatile, making its way from your driveway to your patio. It combines the strength of a concrete patio with decorative aggregates whilst generating a textured and visually captivating surface. Because the aggregates tend to stick out, the whole finish already provides a non-slip patio surface, even without added mixtures. It is durable and weather-resistant, as well.
To create an exposed aggregate concrete patio, we follow these steps:
- Prepare the base, making sure the patio area is excavated and compacted thoroughly to prevent drainage and stability issues during and after the process.
- The next step is to prepare the concrete mix. At this stage, homeowners can decide on the combination they want or simply discuss their vision for the resulting surface. The contractor will generally have an idea of the additives or aggregates to use, relaying it to the client.
- Once the concrete mix is ready, it’s time to pour it, ensuring it is level for a smooth and even surface.
It’s now time for the application of the chosen aggregates. Before concrete fully sets, these aggregates will be mixed and spread over the surface, gently pressed into the concrete, and leaving a portion exposed.
- We’re almost done! The surface should be trowelled to expose the top layer of cement, which will highlight the aggregates even more. This step is crucial to give the decorative patio a uniquely textured appearance.
- Finally, the only job left is to wait and allow the cement to cure. The length of time will depend on the product and location, amongst certain factors. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how long curing takes to determine when to apply the sealer. Follow this guide to learn more about sealing concrete.
Concrete patios are naturally hardy, but that doesn’t mean they do not require maintenance. You should still clean regularly and do a little bit of pressure washing, especially after a rainstorm. Your patio will also benefit from deep cleaning when you notice the accumulation of dirt, stains, moss, and algae.
Other Places You Can Use Exposed Aggregate
In addition to patios and driveways, exposed aggregate can be used in virtually any application. Thanks to its attractive appearance, it’s an excellent choice for garden paths and walkways. Stepping stones commonly feature exposed aggregate, which is known for its toughness and the ability to withstand constant foot traffic even in a busy area.
With the aggregates protruding to the surface, exposed aggregate is innately slip-resistant. That’s why it is a prime choice for pool decks and moisture-prone areas. Although it does benefit from sealing, exposed aggregate is one of those finishes that do not rely on sealers or additives to help prevent slips.
While many areas mentioned above are located outside the house, exposed aggregate also finds its way inside homes. This decorative finish is quite popular in interior flooring, including entryways, kitchens, and basements. Some even incorporate it in their bathrooms, often because it reduces slip accidents and injuries.
Exposed aggregate is not only exceptional for floors and horizontal surfaces. It also works well on vertical surfaces, such as retaining walls, exterior walls, planter boxes, fences, and fireplace surrounds. It gives these features additional texture, resilience, and a decorative touch that takes work to replicate.
It’s time to transform your driveway, patio, or even your indoor space with exposed aggregate. Contact CoastCrete today to learn about our premium exposed aggregate options, where you can select the perfect aggregates, finishes, and colours that will complement your upcoming project.