Exposed aggregate concrete can almost be compared to a piece of granite or marble transformed by polishing: A plain, unremarkable surface has been stripped away to reveal the exceptional beauty lying beneath. In the case of concrete, that beauty is in the form of decorative aggregate, either natural or manufactured.
The decorative process of exposing aggregate has been around since the early 1900s, well before pattern stamping, stenciling, and decorative overlays became trendy. But this method is far from being ready for retirement. An exposed aggregate finish offers numerous advantages. And many of today's contractors are finding creative ways to take exposed aggregate to a new level.
An exposed-aggregate surface is obtained by placing concrete and then removing the outer 'skin' of cement paste to uncover decorative coarse aggregate (either batched into the concrete mix or seeded onto the surface). Because of its durability and skid resistance, an exposed aggregate finish is ideal for most flatwork including:
Easy to maintain and naturally skid-resistant, exposed aggregate is an ideal decorative treatment for concrete driveways.
With an exposed aggregate finish, you can achieve spectacular effects at a reasonable cost because few additional materials (other than the decorative aggregate) and tools (beyond basic finishing tools) are required. Here are some other notable advantages of exposed aggregate finishes: