One type of decorative concrete that is seen more often than most others in Canada is the exposed aggregate concrete. It is found being used as large bays for footpaths or low-speed traffic areas, as decorative vertical walls, and in dozens of different pre-cast units, ranging from block pavers, to decorative patio flags/slabs and to large pre-cast construction sections for multi-storey buildings.
The basic premise of an exposed aggregate concrete is that the brute strength of concrete is combined with the aesthetic appeal of a decorative aggregate and you have, hopefully, the ideal combination of looks, strength, mouldability and relative low production cost. The cost can be further controlled by limiting the use of the decorative aggregate, which is commonly the most expensive constituent of the concrete, to the top layer or face of the unit or structure.
Types of Exposed Aggregate Concretes
There are two basic ways of constructing an exposed aggregate finish to a concrete; the first, Surface Dressing, achieves the effect by pressing the decorative aggregate into the body of the freshly poured concrete, whilst the second, Washed to Expose, which is preferred for heavy-duty or commercial use, is brought about by stripping away the matrix from the top 2-6mm of the concrete to reveal the constituent aggregate.
Where can exposed aggregate concrete be used?
Exposed is a popular choice for driveways or areas requiring more grip. It also makes a great surface for garden paths, pool surrounds, custom landscaping and outdoor entertainment areas.
- Driveways; stylish, hardwearing and durable surface,
- Swimming pool edges/surrounds; textured surface for slip resistance,
- Landscaping, pathways in parks and gardens; performs well in high traffic areas,
- Outdoor entertainment areas
- Subdivision footpaths and community areas.