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Exposed aggregate driveway

Decorative concrete is an increasingly soughtafter choice for residential and commercial projects. Because of the versatility it offers, there is a type of decorative concrete for nearly every taste and budget. 

Burnished vs Exposed Aggregate Concrete: The Key Differences

Among the decorative options available, burnished concrete and exposed aggregate concrete are two of the most requested types. While both look wonderful in many areas, these types of decorative concrete are not the same. 


Key Difference between burnished and exposed aggregate concrete

  • The main difference comes from the finish of the surface. Burnished decorative concrete has an elegant satin finish. The surface of aggregate concrete allows for the various colours and textures to be visible.  


What is Burnished Concrete? 

The term burnished concrete describes a concrete surface with a polished finish where no aggregate can be seen. Correctly doing this requires the concrete’s placement to be as level as possible. Because no material is removed from the surface, irregularities are intact. 


What is Exposed Aggregate? 

Exposed aggregate is concrete whose surface is visible and is an integral part of the design of the structure where it is placed. The one-of-a-kind look comes from removing the outer layer of concrete, which reveals the aggregates within the mix. This look is achieved by grinding, sandblasting, or the use of acid etching. Exposed aggregate concrete offers almost unlimited options to enhance décor inside and outside of your home or office. Unique looks are achieved by adding numerous  materials, such as, 

  • Stones 
  • Sand 
  • Recycled glass 
  • Shells 
  • Pebbles 

These options are visually appealing and also enhance the product’s durability. Another helpful feature of exposed concrete is that the surface is not as slippery as other finishes, so that accidents can be prevented. 


What is the Difference Between Burnished Concrete and Exposed Concrete? 

These types of decorative concrete have the ability to transform your home or office from ordinary to extraordinary. But, the products have unique characteristics. 

Substantial differences between these types of decorative concrete include, 

  • How the concrete is finished- Burnished concrete has a smooth finish. However, exposed concrete has a textured finish because the top layers of the concrete are removed. This allows the beauty of the aggregate materials to stand out. 
  • Environmental friendliness- Burnished concrete has little waste associated with it. However, grinding layers to expose the aggregate can create some waste. 
  • How the concrete looks when finished-  Burnished decorative concrete has a smooth, satin-like finish. It lends itself to many styles and settings. The surface of exposed aggregate concrete has a unique, one-of-a-kind look. It is determined by the kind and colour of aggregate added to the mix because once the surface is removed, the various colours and textures will stand out. 

Exposed aggregate concrete driveway in Perth

Where to Use Exposed Concrete

Exposed aggregate concrete is one of the most popular concrete finishes. It is sturdy and offers versatility as it is easy to customise depending on the types of aggregate added to the concrete mix. Exposed concrete is well suited to a number of locations, both residential and commercial. These include, 

  • Pool surrounds- The exposed aggregate offers slip resistance for added safety. 
  • Driveways and walkways- The inherent slip resistance of exposed concrete makes walking outdoors safer. 
  • In landscaping- Adding exposed concrete elevates the look of natural landscaping. 
  • Unique aesthetic- Inside your home, exposed concrete will offer an impressive look and elevate any space. 
  • Outdoor cafes and restaurants 
  • City walkways 
  • Public buildings 
  • Any location that bears very heavy loads on a regular basis 


Where to Use Burnished Concrete

Because burnished concrete has an exceptionally tight and sturdy finish, it has traditionally been used in various business settings. Common locations include, 

  • Car parks  
  • Warehouses  
  • Hospitals and medical facilities 
  • Factories 
  • Shopping centres 
  • Fitness centres 
  • Industrial buildings 


The popularity of burnished concrete in residential settings is rising. Concrete flooring inside a home is a great choice. It is durable and looks fantastic. Burnished concrete is at home in many residential areas and is used in, 

  • Outdoor entertainment areas 
  • Garage floors 
  • Entryways 
  • Bathroom and wet room floors 
  • Laundry room facilities 
  • Kitchen floors 


Decorative Concrete WA, Your Concrete Experts!

Choosing between two excellent options (like burnished concrete and exposed aggregate) can be a challenge. Often, external factors like weather or location can help make that decision easier. Sometimes, you may benefit from a bit of expert advice. 

That is where we come into the picture. At Decorative Concrete WA, we have more than 15 years of experience in the industry, and we are considered leaders in the decorative concrete world.  

Our goal is always to provide our customers with a superior product that is expertly installed. The vast number of satisfied customers is a testament to our commitment to excellence. 

When you work with the professionals at DCWA, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your project is in excellent hands.