Do you want to install a new concrete driveway, patio, or slab for your home? According to Cement Concrete & Aggregates Australia, 29 million cubic metres of pre-mixed concrete is used to build Australia each year, so it is definitely in demand.

You don’t need to resort to plain concrete. Bring a raw, natural look to your outdoor space that adds character, texture, and a distinctive look that sets your property apart from the rest.

Explore the advantages of exposed aggregate concrete, supplies to support your dream driveway, how to safely install it, and why decorative concrete is a great solution for your next project.

What is Exposed Aggregate Concrete?

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Exposed aggregate concrete is a variation of washed concrete with aggregates such as sand, pebbles, and rocks. It isn’t as smooth as regular concrete, so you’re less prone to slipping when it rains. By removing the surface layer, any concrete type can be given this finish, so you’re spoilt for choice in terms of versatility.

Exposed aggregate surface is popular for outdoor spaces such as driveways, pathways, pools, alfresco, and commercial spaces like shopping centres. However, it can also be used indoors for amazing designs. This concrete type can last up to 30 years if you maintain it well enough!

How does it compare to a plain, traditional concrete finish? Plain concrete is smooth, grey and limited in terms of customisation, such as stamping and staining techniques. With less scope for creativity, exposed aggregate offers more of a tailored design approach.

Why Invest in Exposed Aggregate Concrete?

Why should you invest in exposed aggregate finishes for your driveway? Let’s look at the key benefits.

  • Simple to install. Exposed aggregate doesn’t need as many specialised tools (compared to polished concrete), can be installed by the eager DIY’ er, and is more affordable than other concrete types.
  • Exposure aggregate is safe to walk on. With a rougher surface than standard concrete, it makes gaining traction easy. Car wheels in driveways will be able to grip rather than spin out, and it is safe to walk on when it’s raining. Meanwhile, standard concrete can be as slippery as ice.
  • Aesthetic appeal. With a slightly rugged appearance, there are many colours and textures to choose from for your driveway. No two aggregate concrete are the same! Aggregate types can include rounded, soft river stones, crushed quarry stones (angular), shells, sand, or luminous stones that glow in the dark.
  • Exposed aggregate is durable. Tough on the outside, this concrete type can last for decades without intensive cleaning. Plain concrete, on the other hand, is more at risk of water damage and cracking. 
  • Materials are recyclable. Exposed aggregate concrete surfaces can be made from discarded industrial products like slag, reducing overall waste. At the end of its lifespan, aggregate concrete can be repurposed into asphalt roadways.

Exposed Aggregate Supplies

Want to install or maintain your exposed aggregate driveway? Here are some essential supplies.

i-Chem Agg-Crete

i-Chem Agg-Crete

This Concrete Set Retarder is for an exposed aggregate effect. Choose from a 5L pail, a 10L pail with a pouring spout, or a 20L pail with a pouring spout. You can cover approximately 80m2 per 20L pail. It doesn’t stain surrounding surfaces.

i-Chem Vertical Agg

i-Chem Vertical Agg

This Concrete Set Retarder gives an exposed aggregate effect on vertical surfaces such as risers in steps or retaining walls. It is also sprayable! Choose from a 5L or 10L pail with a pouring spout (reusable), which covers 10m2 per 5L pail.

Appearing green in the pale, i-Chem turns purple on concrete. Apply to surfaces by rolling, spraying or brushing.

Sika Rugasol C

Sika Rugasol C

The Sika Rugasol C is a 20L drum, able to cover approximately 40m2 per 10L drum. Its appearance is red when applied.

An exposed aggregate retarder is an excellent investment for your property driveway. Stylish, easy to maintain, and cost-effective, these supplies are hardwearing and long-lasting for Melbourne businesses and concreters.

Exposed Aggregate: How is it Done?

Exposed Aggregate

When installing exposed aggregate driveways, you need to consider the scale of your project, your budget constraints, your level of customisation, and your project timeline. Exposed aggregate has a more intricate process.

Assess the driveway area

Is there piping or cabling below the land? Check that utilities are not disrupted. If a pre-existing driveway needs to be excavated, this will add to the installation time. Once the surveying is complete, physical work can begin!

Excavation

A small excavator can be used when laying down a new concrete driveway.

Wooden formwork is placed

Once the area has been excavated, wood pieces are put around the border. When concrete is poured, it won’t seep over this marked zone. This wood must be sturdy and secure so the driveway shape does not deviate.

A steel reinforcement framework is placed

This steel framework will strengthen the concrete, and most residential driveways can use mesh wire for support. However, a stronger rebar option may be needed for high-traffic driveways and heavier vehicles.

Concrete is mixed

Mixing aggregates with concrete creates a pourable mix. Concrete can often be poured directly from the mixer (or you can use a wheelbarrow) onto your area. It is then spread evenly across the area while still wet. Once the concrete has dried, aggregates can be exposed. Using a high-pressure hose, the surface layer of the concrete is removed, revealing various stones.

Control joints are cut

After the aggregate has been exposed, control joints need to be cut into the concrete to control randomised cracking.

Finally, the concrete is sealed

Once the driveway has been poured, a sealer will protect it against stains, spills, and harsh weather conditions. This must be done 24 hours after the control joints have been cut. The sealant can take up to 48 hours to set, so avoid driving or parking on it. Now you have a sleek, modern driveway!

All in all, is exposed aggregate right for you and your home? It depends on your style preferences, whether you’re keen on the installation process, and if you believe it will benefit the appeal of your driveway in the long term.

Australian Slate Crete Supplies: Increase Curb Appeal

Whether you want a more textured surface-coloured concrete or are inspired by aggregate materials, exposed aggregate is a practical choice for your property. 

Australian Slate Crete Supplies has been a leading building distributor in Australia for over 25 years, helping homeowners achieve perfect results with tested, high-quality products. After all, we believe DIYs can improve the livability of their home without professional help. From concrete sealers to concrete hardeners, stencils, hand tools, spray-on concrete supplies and exposed aggregate supplies, contact us today and be ready to get your driveway done right.