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HomeHome ImprovementThe Advantages of Installing Exposed Aggregate Concrete

The Advantages of Installing Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Exposed aggregate concrete is a type of decorative concrete that is used in a variety of applications, including driveways, patios, sidewalks, and pool decks. It is created by placing layers of concrete on top of one another and then exposing the aggregate, or small stones, within the concrete. The result is a unique and attractive surface that is both durable and low maintenance. It can be used in a wide range of colors and styles to suit any taste, and it is relatively easy to install and maintain.

What is Exposed Aggregate Concrete?

Exposed aggregate concrete is a type of concrete that is used for outdoor surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks, and patios. It is made with a mix of coarse gravel and concrete and has a unique look that is often used for decorative purposes. The exposed aggregate is created by washing away the top layer of concrete and exposing the gravel embedded in the concrete, giving it a unique texture and look.

Benefits of Exposed Aggregate Concrete

  1. Easy Maintenance: Exposed aggregate concrete is easy to maintain due to its durable nature. It can be easily cleaned and sealed to protect it from staining and wear.
  2. Durability: It is incredibly durable due to the combination of aggregate, cement, and sand. The aggregate and cement mixture creates a strong surface that is highly resistant to abrasion and impact, making it an excellent choice for driveways and other areas where it will be exposed to heavy use.
  3. Aesthetics: It provides a unique look that is hard to achieve with most other materials. The combination of different aggregates and colors creates an attractive and unique finish that is sure to turn heads.
  4. Cost-Effective: It is cost-effective for many projects. It is less expensive than some other materials and can be used to create a beautiful finish without breaking the bank.

Installation Process for Exposed Aggregate Concrete

  1. Prepare the area: Clear the area of any objects and vegetation and grade the surface as necessary. Check for any underground utilities that may be in the area and mark them for protection.
  2. Install the edging: Install edging around the perimeter of the area to contain the concrete. The edging should be deep enough for the depth of the concrete.
  3. Install wire mesh or rebar: Install wire mesh or rebar into the concrete to help reinforce it and make it stronger.
  4. Pour the concrete: Pour the concrete into the area and spread it evenly. Make sure there are no large voids or air pockets.
  5. Trowel the concrete: Use a trowel to smooth the surface of the concrete and create a desired finish.
  6. Install the aggregate: Install the desired type of exposed aggregate, such as pea gravel, into the wet concrete.
  7. Allow to dry: Allow the concrete to dry completely before walking or driving on it.

Maintenance and Care for Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Exposed aggregate concrete surfaces can be quite beautiful, but they do require a bit of maintenance and care. Here are some tips for keeping exposed aggregate concrete looking its best:

  1. Sweep regularly: It should be swept regularly to remove any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the surface.
  2. Pressure wash: Pressure washing is an easy and effective way to clean exposed aggregate concrete surfaces. Be sure to use a pressure washer setting that is appropriate for the surface of your concrete.
  3. Seal: It can help protect it from dirt, staining, and wear.
  4. Repair: If your exposed aggregate concrete is cracked or damaged, it should be repaired as soon as possible.
  5. Re-expose: If your exposed aggregate concrete is starting to look dull or discolored, you may want to consider re-exposing the aggregate. This can help to restore the look of the concrete.
  6. Apply a top coat: Applying a top coat of acrylic sealer can help to protect your exposed aggregate concrete from weathering and wear.

Tips for Working with Exposed Aggregate Concrete

  1. Prepare the surface. Before you begin working with exposed aggregate concrete, make sure to clean the surface with a pressure washer and remove any debris or dirt. This will ensure that the aggregate is fully exposed and give you a smooth surface to work with.
  2. Seal the concrete. Sealing the concrete will help protect it from moisture and ensure that the surface remains intact. Use a sealer that is specifically designed for exposed aggregate concrete to ensure the best results.
  3. Apply a release agent. Before you pour the concrete, be sure to apply a release agent to the forms and the surface of the concrete. This will help prevent the aggregate from sticking and ensure a clean finish.
  4. Use a trowel or a float. When working with exposed aggregate concrete, it’s important to use a trowel or a float to even out the surface and ensure that the aggregate is exposed evenly.
  5. Use a broom. Once the concrete has been poured and the surface has been troweled or floated, use a broom to lightly sweep the surface and further expose the aggregate.
  6. Protect the surface. After the concrete has been finished and the aggregate has been exposed, it’s important to protect the surface with a sealer. This will help protect the concrete from damage and keep the exposed aggregate looking great.


Exposed aggregate concrete is a durable, attractive, and versatile building material that offers a range of benefits for a variety of construction projects. It is easy to maintain, provides excellent traction and slip resistance, and is relatively low-cost compared to other paving options. When properly installed and sealed, it can last for decades with minimal upkeep.

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