Exposed aggregate is a type of concrete. A thin layer of concrete is removed to expose the gravel or sand that is usually part of the mixture but hidden. Different sizes of gravel can usually create the perfect three-dimensional surface, natural appearance, and colors.
It will make your pathway or driveway unique among the other benefits that this timeless material offers. It never goes out of style and even if nowadays there are many types of decorative concrete, an exposed aggregate could be called an original.
It is mainly used for pathways, driveways, surrounding swimming pools or even around fountains. This form of decorative paving can be beneficial for your home and it looks timeless and gives your home a rustic, vintage look. Similar to concrete tiles, it is been used for hundreds of years and looks unique besides the fact that it has practical advantages.
What is Exposed Aggregate?
Having in mind that the exposed aggregate is a mixture of cement, water, sand, and pebbles or stone, it depends on your wishes how it will look like. These three elements are mixed proportionally and laid, but depending on the preferences of the client there are some different approaches when it comes to the aggregate finish.
- Standard aggregate is the most common type but you will need a professional to prepare the right mixture and to be sure that the end result will be according to your wishes.
- Seeded aggregate is another type of exposed aggregate that has a different approach. It is popular and the aggregate mix is poured on top of a wet cement and sand base.
- Polished aggregate is a subtle aggregate finish where the surface is smoothened and polished. It gives different look to the final product.
Is Exposed Aggregate best for a Driveway
If you are thinking about applying an exposed aggregate on your driveway you are on the right track. It is durable, has an attractive finish, it is not expensive and it remains the best choice for your driveway. Not convinced yet? There are some other benefits for choosing exposed aggregate for your driveway.
- It comes in different colors and textures. It complements your home and up to your preference of colors and textures, it can be as bold as you wish or as subtle as you wish.
- It is safer than other types of concrete, meaning that the rough surface makes it less slippery than other materials.
- Its durability makes it a perfect choice. When you get into work and expenses of building your driveway you have to have in mind the durability of the material and enjoying it in the years to come.
- The other reason is that the exposed aggregate is very easy to maintain and to keep clean.
What are the Advantages of Exposed Aggregate?
Exposed aggregate is a type of concrete that is popular all over the world, including Australia. Its advantages make it perfect for both residential and commercial use.
For residential use, because of its perfect look, people use it in patios, pathways, driveways, parking areas as well as for the entertainment areas back in the yard.
It can be also used in parklands and other public spaces, around swimming pools, and to emphasize some landscaping with its beautiful colours and materials.
What is the cost of Exposed Aggregate in Australia?
Exposed aggregate is more expensive than regular concrete because of the labor involved in it. What is the cost of Exposed Aggregate in Australia? You can expect the price of $100-$150 per square metre.
Comparing to the class concrete which price ranges from $60 – $85 per square metre or reinforced concrete from $65 to $90 it is almost double the price. But there is also the fact that this is decorative paving and the process of applying it is different from the other concrete.
To understand it better, the strength of concrete is measured in megapascals (MPa) with a scale of 20, 25, 32,40, and 50 MPa. Your home patio or driveway requires concrete rated at 20 or 25 MPa. If you have heavy traffic that you will need more strength.
However, the final cost will depend on several factors and you need to make the approximate final cost taking into consideration what needs to be done as well as the final design of your project:
- The size calculated in square metres
- Excavating and leveling your site
- Access to the site
- Drainage of the site
- The cost of pre-mixed concrete
- The type of concrete
What is the process for exposed aggregate concrete?
As it is considered decorative paving, the exposed aggregate comes in a lot of different colours and textures. It has the unique look and can be made by the wishes of the client.
To get the finish the concreter waits for the concrete to become nearly firm and then exposes the aggregate or gravel by brushing or washing the cement away for the stones to be exposed.
Any loose concrete is removed by an acid wash, and then the whole thing is sealed using a special concrete sealer, and then it gives the final perfect look.
Is Exposed aggregate an expensive material?
Comparing to the classic concrete or reinforced concrete, the exposed aggregate is almost double the price from the previous. Of course, its process is different and more complexed as well as it can not be applied on your own.
However taking into consideration the perfect look, the possibility of different colours and textures, its durability, and the other advantages, we should say it is worth the price of deciding to go with it. It complements everybody’s home, it is timeless and as mentioned in the beginning it is used for hundreds of years and never goes out of style.