Most people are quite familiar with the traditional concrete – smooth, grey, and very serviceable for sidewalks, driveways, buildings, and so on. This is the “usual” picture that comes to mind when someone mentions the word “concrete.” But in recent years, homeowners, business owners, contractors and concrete specialists have taken this material to a new level, using colour, patterns and exposed aggregate to change its appearance.
What do the finishers do to achieve the appearance of exposed aggregate? In very simple terms, they remove the very top layer of cement so that the stone or rock underneath is visible. When done properly, this technique gives results that are ideal for those who want a non-slip surface. It is perfect for pool decks, patios, sidewalks, driveways and other areas.
There is another benefit that has captured the interest of thousands of property owners. When you consider exposed aggregate concrete in Melbourne, think about the wonderful appearance that can be achieved. There are three methods for getting the look and feel you want: monolithic, where the aggregate is placed directly into the mix when the concrete is prepared, seeded, where aggregate is scattered or hand placed on the still-damp surface, and overlay, in which a surface material is prepared and placed on top of finished concrete.
Experience has taught concrete finishers and contractors that exposed aggregate, when properly finished, usually lasts longer than some other decorative measures. As more and more people have asked about this finish, the industry has obliged by offering more colours and options for appearance. Because the rock or stone is partially exposed the concrete surface is not as slippery as smooth concrete, especially when wet.
It is also recommended that the surface be sealed to help reduce staining and provide a nice shine for the area. Some property owners and contractors have chosen a new item, Glow-crete, which provides a comfortable glow in the dark. As with most concrete finishes, it is best not to walk on it for at least a couple of days. Vehicles should stay off the surface for about one week.
So Many Options
Before we close this brief discussion of exposed aggregate, let’s a look at the variety of colours and appearances you can achieve with this method. Some homeowners like the basic grey of cement with two or three colours of stone spread across the surface. One such option would be white, tan and blue stone of a small size.
Others have chosen a tan hue for the basic concrete and used stones of darker brown and black for appearance. In a very different design, a base grey is combined with glass beads in different shades of blue. Some homeowners have selected sea shells or sea glass as the aggregate, which gives the surface a very special look and feel. No matter which direction you decide to go with this great idea, you will have something to enjoy for a long time to come.