What is Exposed Aggregate?
The most popular decorative concrete is exposed aggregate concrete. While many types of concrete are mixed with aggregates to add to the durability of the mixture, the distinct beauty seen in exposed aggregate surfaces comes from the specific manner of laying the concrete.
To achieve the lovely and unique look of exposed aggregate, we use a high end product to remove the top layer of concrete to reveal the mixed-in aggregate. The kinds of aggregate available to create this type of concrete surface are almost limitless.
Where Can It Be Used?
Because of its durability, flexibility and stylishness, this type of surface can be used virtually anywhere. It is particularly popular for alfrescos, driveways, pathways, patios and school areas. As it’s a non-slip surface, it can also be used for pool surrounds or other areas that might get wet and slippery.
For further information, read our in-depth concrete comparison guide to discover which concrete surface is right for you.
Custom Aggregate Driveways, Walkways, Patios, Alfrescos & More
Our expert team create looks with more specific details by laying stones or other materials directly to the top of the concrete before the surface hardens. By using the exposed aggregate method, we assist our customers in creating a one of a kind blend to harmonise with the existing surroundings. The aggregate is mixed in with the concrete batch or set onto the surface for a truly individualised look.
We can help you work through the designing phase and offer you expert suggestions. As such, we’re completely confident you’ll love the finished product.
Exposed Aggregate Benefits
Exposed aggregate is more than just beauty and style. It is also durable, making it a cost-effective option for home and business owners in Perth. Here is an overview of its advantages:
- Durable: Compared to normal concrete, exposed aggregate lasts longer. It is designed to endure high traffic and heavy vehicles moving down the paths. This is in compliance with AS 3600.
- Stylish: Enjoy the visual benefits that can enhance the look of your property. No matter which type you choose, washed or honed, you can be sure it will meet your design expectations.
- Flexible: This type of surface is customisable in every aspect of layout, colour, and design. The possibilities are endless.
- Cost-effective: Sealer does not require yearly applications. Depending on the location and sun exposure, sealer reapplication can vary from three to five years.
- Weather-resistant: Weather damage has always been the main concern with every type of material. Western Australia is generally hot and dry, but it is not a problem with exposed aggregate. We user a sealer for protection, along with other weather-resistant components.
- Maintenance-free: It is long-lasting and does not have issues such as pebbles and sand that get between the pavers, tree roots popping out, and so on.
Over the last 20 years, concrete has come a long way. When you choose a highly reputable company such as Decorative Concrete WA, we ensure the exposed aggregate matches the style and colour scheme of your home.
Exposed aggregate is a type of decorative concrete or cement finish. As the name suggests, it exposes or reveals the aggregates used in cement, which include rocks, sand, and pebbles. Sometimes, stones, such as granite, are also added to come up with a surface that looks like a mosaic. It was introduced in the early 20th century and has increased in popularity since. Many homes, parks, and commercial spaces use exposed aggregate.
The cost depends on a lot of factors, including the type of finish you want and the area size. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $90 to $100 (typically) per square metre. In contrast, standard or plain concrete costs about $60 to $85 per square metre.
The method of revealing the rocks will depend on the installer and the type of surface. Low-depth exposure is for showing small, sand-like particles for slip resistance. A retarding agent is used to determine the amount of exposure required. An even reveal is achieved with a uniform sprayer. It is applied across the surface, which is performed after the final finishing process.
Compared to standard concrete, exposed aggregate is a little bit more expensive per square metre. However, it is cheaper in larger projects involving stamped concrete. In the long run, exposed aggregate is more cost-effective than standard concrete because it requires less maintenance and can handle even harsh weather conditions.
Wet exposed aggregate can take about a few hours to dry. Since it is a special type of concrete, it will harden right after pouring. It can take about 24 hours to cure, but it is still susceptible to damage for the next four weeks. Therefore, homeowners should avoid placing significant weight on the surface, such as vehicles, for at least 10 days.
First, you need to pour concrete just like you would in any other project. A retarder can be used over the steps’ surface, which allows the top layer of concrete from drying. Then, the top layer is removed using a spray or strong water jet to expose the aggregates.
Exposed aggregate is exceptionally durable and can withstand abuse due to constant foot traffic. It can be installed in pathways or driveways and will not give in to the weight of vehicles. When properly maintained, it can last for at least four decades or more.
Concrete materials tend to get hot and exposed aggregate is not an exception. When the area receives full sun, the temperature of the surface can soar, especially during summer. It is advised not to walk barefoot on an exposed aggregate surface.
Occasional cleaning can help make exposed aggregate looking brand new. It does not require a lot of work and usually involves the use of pressurised water and a cleaning solution. You may carry out this task one to two times every year.
Clean the surface with pressurised water to get rid of dirt, oil, and other substances. Sweeping once a week can remove debris from your garden. Use a hard bristled brush when sweeping, which can also help with twigs and leaf mould.
Steps for Laying and Finishing Exposed Aggregate
Here's a brief outline of the basic process when laying and finishing:
1.) In order to come up with a design that's best suited to a customer's home or business, we sit down and have an in-depth discussion about the layout of their premises, their budget, the finish/surface they desire and more.
2.) Based on our detailed planning, we mark out everything with string lines and chalk lines. Water drainage is essential in 90% of concrete jobs, so we make sure we're prepared in the event of excessive rain. Once the earthworks (compaction) are complete, we install a strong SL62 mesh in all areas, including pathways.
3.) The exposed aggregate mix will then be placed. If the area is elevated or a long distance, we will use a concrete pump or line pump. Otherwise, we utilise wheelbarrows in normal circumstances.
4.) Control joints are then placed 25 to 30mm deep. This process is normally done within the first 12-16 hours of the pour.
5.) If a washed aggregate mix was poured, our team will be back the next morning to wash off the top layer of cement to reveal the aggregate. If a honed or polished aggregate mix was poured, then the concrete will be left for about a week to reach a completely hardened state to begin machining.
6.) It may take one to two days to properly finish the job. We use acid wash (hydrochloric acid) and water with a 1:10 or 2% ratio. This step is essential in removing all residues and contaminants. The result is a consistently evened out, beautiful looking surface.
Looking for More Reasons to Choose Us?
If our stunning past projects don’t impress you, keep in mind that:
- We handle everything from the initial pour to the final blasting and clean-up.
- We make sure that the entire process is as stress-free as possible.
- We believe communication is the best ingredient for success.
- Decorative Concrete WA chooses only quality products from trusted Perth suppliers.
- To avoid concrete cracks, we put the sealer on the product, so it is more durable. We use stone with better quality than the standard aggregate, with testing in compliance with AS 1379.
We Use Only the Highest Quality Sealers
Making sure your new concrete exposed aggregate driveway, pool surrounds or walkway is properly sealed is essential to the life and beauty of any concrete work.
At Decorative Concrete WA, we give the same amount of care and attention to sealing your project as we give to every other part of the job. We use only the highest quality sealers available; those rated to keep out 99.5% of moisture. We will not use lower quality, less expensive sealers on the market, because we care about every detail of our craft.
Sealers come in two main types; penetrating sealers and topical sealers.
- Penetrating sealers absorb into the concrete, binding to it via a chemical reaction that takes place between the sealer and the concrete. The sealer is applied to concrete that is dry or slightly damp. The typical life span of penetrating sealers is five years.
- Topical sealers are, as the name suggests, coatings which stay on the surface of the concrete. These sealers are typically epoxy/urethane blends that work on dry surfaces. The topical sealers give a brilliant shine to concrete and have a life span of one to five years.