What is Exposed Aggregate?

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Everything You Need to Know about Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Exposed aggregate is a widely popular concrete application that is perfectly suited to the outdoor areas of your home.

It’s ability to be customised with different types of stones and colours makes it a popular option for any new home build or renovation.

While the versatility of exposed aggregate allows you to create a design and finish that is unique, complimentary, and will add value to your property.

This type of decorative concrete finish is produced first by creating a mix of coloured and various sized stones that can be pre-chosen or customised to your liking. From here the mix is poured for your project, then a retardant is applied to prevent the top 3 – 5mm of concrete from setting, which allows the process to expose the aggregate. In exposing the aggregate the top layer of cement is removed through a special process, exposing the natural stones in the concrete.

Quartz, pebbles and sand are the most commonly used, but granite and other natural stones are sometimes added to an application to create a stylish finish.

Introduced during the 1950’s, exposed aggregate became a standout feature for homes worldwide, popular for its timeless look and long life. Popular across driveways and paths, it has jumped back on the home renovators and new home trend lists, with the popularity of mid-century modern style design has rising over the past decade.

Types of Exposed Aggregate finishes

There are plenty of reasons why you should choose exposed aggregate concrete for your outdoor application, but the most popular reason is its limitless design options. By customising a mix of various coloured stones, or even choose from one of our beautiful readymade mixes, homeowners are given the freedom to create the perfect look for their space.

The main difference between exposed aggregate styles will be how the stones are added to the application. There are several different ways that the stones can be dispersed through the product, and the process chosen will give the stones either a more uniform or sporadic look throughout the application.

Quarry Grey Exposed Aggregate

Types of Exposed Aggregate

Standard Exposed Aggregate

The most common and affordable aggregate application, standard aggregate applications are known for giving your area a more natural, organic look.

For standard exposed aggregate, the stones are mixed into the concrete before it is poured.

This style of exposed aggregate application means that you will have less control over where the colours and stones will show once the top layer is removed, but will still deliver a beautiful final product.

Seeded Exposed Aggregate

For those who are meticulous about how the design of the final application will look, then a seeding aggregate application is a perfect choice for you.

The process for seeding is meticulous and typically takes longer than other applications because the aggregate is placed into the wet concrete rather than being pre-mixed per the design request.

Seeded aggregate is a great option for those looking to add feature stones or glowing stones into their application. Coloured and various sized stones are hand seeded through the application, adding design and complementing the overall décor of the area.

Glowing stones add a radiant natural light to your outdoor areas and absorb solar energy during the day. Once the sun goes down, the stones illuminate, providing a natural glow and a unique look to your application. 

Topping Exposed Aggregate

The process for topping exposed aggregate is done by first pouring the cement and letting it dry, then adding a thick layer (around 2.5cm) of aggregate on top.

The aggregate stone application is usually laid quite thick, rather than dispersed through the cement. Which makes it a great option for heavily trafficked areas or pool surrounds.

This style of aggregate is popular because it allows for more control during the pouring process, providing you with more consistent look across the application. 

However, it is not without fault as it is prone to cracking due to the thinness (concrete needs to be poured at minimum of 80mm), and reinforcement issues. For this reason, it is not an application that Terrastone currently has available and will not recommend for your concrete project. 

Types of Finishes

Honed Aggregate

This is a popular choice for people wanting to either have a more sophisticated look for their outdoor spaces or are looking to add an aggregate application for alfresco and pool areas.

The process for honed aggregate is more extensive than an exposed aggregate application, as the project will require a concrete grinding and surface professional.

Once the exposed aggregate is ready, the floor preparation specialist will then grind the top layer of aggregate down till it the desired look and smoothness is achieved.

If you choose this application for your alfresco area or pool surrounds, we add an additive to the sealing process to create a non-slip finish, preventing unwanted falls by improving traction.

See more on What is Honed Aggregate.

Benefits of Exposed Aggregate

Still on the fence if exposed aggregate is the right choice for your new home or renovation? Have a look at the many benefits of installing exposed aggregate concrete around your property:

1)

It’s Resilient

Exposed aggregate is a hard wearing application that can take on the heaviest foot traffic. As a composite material, it is sturdy, weather resistant and designed to last the lifetime of your home if maintained properly. The only other products that are considered equal are stones like marble and slate, which tend to be extremely expensive to install.

2)

Low Maintenance

There’s very little you need to do to take care of your exposed aggregate application to keep it looking fresh and new. Giving it a spray with a pressure washer 1-2 times per year with a cleaning solution is about all you’ll need to keep it looking great.

It is recommended that re-seal your exposed aggregate flooring every 3-5 years to maintain it’s durability, colour and lustre.

3)

So Many Options

The amazing thing about exposed aggregate applications is that no two finished projects look the same. With the limitless stones, colours, sizes and finishes available for you to choose from, you are able to create a concrete design for your homes outdoor areas that will truly be one of a kind.

4)

It Increases The Value Of Your Property

It’s no secret that the addition of decorative concrete not only adds style to your property, it can also help increase the value of it as well. Investing in the exterior and outdoor living spaces of your house, creates more aesthetically pleasing spaces that make your property look more valuable to potential buyers.

5)

No Slipping On Exposed Aggregate

You don’t have to worry about slip ups on your floor, as the exposed stones in the aggregate act as a skid resistant coating across the application. This makes it perfect for pool surrounds, alfresco areas, driveways, decks and garden terraces.

For commercial properties, exposed aggregate is a great option for carparks and pathways, while also having it honed for use across lobbies, shopping centres, and office halls.

6)

It’s Affordable

Exposed aggregate is about 80% cheaper than other natural stones like marble and slate. While there are other options out their that are more affordable, the cost vs benefits of having exposed aggregate installed for your project over cheaper materials is vast.

The lifetime and timelessness of the application alone, is enough to consider it for your next project that requires concrete. You can potentially make your exposed aggregate installation cheaper by sourcing locally made aggregate products and hiring a team of professionals, like the team at Terrastone, who know what they are doing.

Terrastone Architectural Concrete is a premiere decorative concrete contractor servicing the greater Perth region. If you’re interested in how your home’s driveways, pool areas, alfresco areas and other outdoor areas could benefit from the installation of exposed aggregate, contact the experience and friendly team at Terrastone for a free consultation and quote.

Interested in learning more about your other decorative concrete options? If so, please visit our informational pages on honed aggregate, polished concrete, and liquid limestone.

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There are a lot of different concrete products available. From Honed Cconcrete to Exposed Aggregate and Coloured concrete to liquid Limestone, your options are limitless for colour, style and design.

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