Exposed Aggregate Concrete Driveway Melbourne, Australia
An exposed aggregate concrete Melbourne driveway provides a natural textured surface that’s always in style. The concrete surface is stripped, removing the outer skin of cement paste, to reveal the stones and sand that bond the concrete together. This exposed aggregate creates a nubbly uneven surface with non slip qualities while maintaining the durability of traditional concrete. The non slip surface makes an aggregate concrete driveway a practical yet eye-catching choice!
The use of aggregate concrete in Melbourne has grown more popular over the years, but the process has been around since the 1900s. Today we aren’t limited to plain stone: exposed aggregate in decorative concrete can also be seashells, sea glass, glass beads, and dyed stone. No matter what you choose, exposed aggregate concrete has great curb appeal. Looks Great Concrete installs exposed aggregate driveways in Melbourne to get that unique concrete finish you’re looking for.
An exposed aggregate concrete driveway is just as durable as regular concrete, but with an attractive non slip, skid resistant finish. Polished aggregate concrete can also be used in home and business interiors for a similar look to polished marble or granite. Another way to get a textured look is with fleck concrete also known as a spray on exposed overlay. Keeping the exposed aggregate as-is without polishing makes for an amazing outdoor surface. Beyond an exposed aggregate concrete driveway, this decorative concrete can also be used for patios and pool areas.
How Exposed Aggregate Look Concrete is Made
There are a lot of types of aggregate decorative concrete out there, and there’s a big difference between the type of exposed aggregate concrete used for sidewalks and the type you might see in a commercial building.
Monolithic Exposed Aggregate Concrete
This is the type of aggregate concrete you’ll see most often in driveways, sidewalks, and pathways. It often uses smaller aggregate than you’ll see in more decorative concrete installations, to create a non slip surface that won’t trip you up. The pebbles and sand (the aggregate) is mixed in with the concrete at the source, so it’s already in there by the time it arrives at your driveway.
Seeded Exposed Aggregate Concrete
Similar to how flake epoxy is applied, this method involves sprinkling or spraying your aggregate of choice onto the freshly placed concrete surface. Obviously, this method would be time-consuming on a driveway, but can work well for smaller areas like outdoor showers or decorative borders. You can use all sorts of colorful pebbles and beads!
Overlay Exposed Aggregate Concrete
If a pre-existing concrete surface needs to be refreshed but not necessarily replaced, the overlay method with spray on concrete may be used. This method is like applying a fresh top coat to the concrete, and is a great way to refresh old concrete and strengthen it. The aggregate materials are mixed in with the spray on concrete overlay.
How to Expose the Aggregate
The method of exposure depends on the desired look and size of the project. We generally want to remove surface mortar to a depth of one third of the diameter of the aggregate particles. Don’t worry, Looks Great Concrete will do all of the math!
The Brushing and Washing Method
Although this method doesn’t require special tools or chemicals, timing is critical. The concrete is sprayed with water and the surface is scrubbed with a broom to expose the aggregate. This method isn’t used for exposed aggregate concrete driveways since driveways tend to be large projects.
The Surface Retarder Method
The chemical surface retarder is ideal for creating exposed aggregate concrete in Melbourne on a hot day. The chemical makes it easier to remove the cement paste to expose the aggregate even if the new surface is left to sit for a day. Scrubbing or pressure washing will remove the top layer that has been affected by the surface retarder.
The Abrasive Blasting Method
Using sandblasting or shotblasting can reveal the aggregate under the surface of set, hardened concrete, but risks fracturing the aggregate. This may not be a concern for driveways, but around patios and pathways, we want to preserve the color intensity of the aggregate so it can be fully enjoyed.
Advantages of an Exposed Aggregate Concrete Driveway
- Durability and weather-resistance
- Reasonable cost
- Skid resistant, non slip surface
- Low maintenance – just wash down with water and a gentle water-based solution periodically!
- Timeless aesthetic appeal
Of course, exposed aggregate concrete isn’t just for driveways! Looks Great Concrete has the expertise to handle all sorts of decorative overlay concrete projects.