Exposed Aggregate

Driveways, Patios, Slabs, Sidewalks

You may not recognize the name "Exposed Aggregate Concrete", however it’s probably a material you are well acquainted with  - you just never knew its name! Once you know what it is however you won’t stop noticing it in every day life.

This is because exposed aggregate concrete has a wealth of practical applications, making it a very commonly used material. It also has a range of benefits and advantages, which will be discussed below.

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What is it?

To understand what exposed aggregate concrete is, it is firstly necessarily to understand what concrete is (bear with us here, it will be worth it!)

You may not be aware of this but concrete is actually a compound. By this, we mean that it is combination of dry ingredients mixed together. It comprises cement as the binder and bulk of the material, and into this is mixed sand and another material called aggregate.

Aggregate is a mix of small stones and crushed rocks.

When these ingredients are mixed to very specific ratios, the end result becomes concrete. When it is time to pour, this dry compound is mixed with water, well stirred and it’s ready to go!

Now you know what aggregate is, you should be able to guess that exposed aggregate concrete is a poured concrete application where the aggregate has been left exposed. This is achieved by treating the very top layer of cement with a special chemical agent that prevents it from drying. This means it can be carefully removed, exposing the aggregate and leaving it behind on the surface. 

So if you have ever seen or walked over a patch of concrete where the surface is studded with visible stones then you have seen exposed aggregate concrete.

What are the Advantages?

Firstly it should be highlighted that the process by which the top cement layer is removed in no way weakens the concrete that is left behind. In other words, exposed aggregate concrete will still provide the same rugged durability you would expect from any other concrete product.

Exposed aggregate concrete has also often been selected in the past for aesthetic reasons. Fresh poured concrete or plain stamped/uncolored slabs can be a little on the boring side!  This may well be fine for use in applications where the surface won’t often been seen, such as a garage floor. In areas where more people will see the finished product however you may be looking for a material that’s a little easier on the eyes.

At the same time, stamping and coloring concrete will add time to your construction project and concrete that is pre-poured and installed already stamped and colored will cost a premium for this high finish.

If you are looking for a material that is a great middle ground between dull, plain concrete and the full on aesthetics of stamped concrete then exposed aggregate concrete could well be the choice for you.

It provides an excellent and natural looking finish with far less hassle than the high end stamped concrete products.

How Can it Be Used?

This form of concrete has a wide range of uses however it naturally provides a very good anti slip surface. This therefore makes exposed aggregate concrete an excellent material to use around back yard pools – whether this is forming the pool decking itself or a patio/pathway close to the pool.

Speaking of pathways, this concrete product is also an excellent material choice for them too. The natural anti-slip finish provide by the rough stone finish means that paths made of this material will remain easy to navigate even when soaked with rain or covered in snow.