A concrete driveway is always a solid choice. But adding flair to your frontage with exposed aggregate provides functional benefits, too.
Updating a driveway is one of the simplest ways to enhance the curb appeal of your home while making your space more functional.
Having a level and finished place to park your vehicle, greet visitors, and let the kids play (supervised, of course), adds to the overall usability of your property.
There are any number of ways to enhance your driveway, but choosing exposed aggregate concrete as your material of choice has both aesthetic and functional perks. You’ll also have plenty of options when it comes to the colourways, textures, and size of the decorative stone that’s added to the mix.
The number of exposed aggregate benefits is higher than the five we’ve showcased below, but these are the most common enjoyed by our Melbourne clients. We’re confident that you’ll want to learn even more about how this option can enhance your home and your property value in the process.
Is exposed aggregate a solid choice for driveways in Melbourne?
Want the short answer?
Concrete driveways are already long lasting. When installed correctly with proper reinforcement, they can endure for decades. Aggregate driveways are no different. In fact, the aggregate adds rigidity to the mix (literally). No doubt you have seen any number of pebbled or stone embellished driveways around town. These have been popular for decades, but their versatility and designer options have them on the rise again.
Melbourne is also notorious for its erratic weather, but exposed aggregate is up to the challenge and then some. Whether it’s blistering heat, heavy rains, or a coating of frost, you’ll never have to worry about damage or maintenance as a result of the elements.
Not convinced? It’s good to consider all of your options. But first, consider these…
5 key exposed aggregate benefits for concrete driveways
What we love most about this type of residential concrete finish is the unlimited number of combinations that can make each space unique.
Not every driveway has to be straight or solid coloured. Formwork allows for curves and designs that incorporate the harder surface with the existing yard and house. Creative flair and an install from a talented, professional crew can make the driveway a work of art.
#1: Designer (curb) appeal
The most noticeable feature of an exposed aggregate is the aggregate itself. By adding stones, pebbles, shells, and (in some cases) glass, the driveway becomes a design element that welcomes every visitor. By changing up the size of the aggregate, using crushed or whole stone, or mixing multiple colourways and materials, no two driveways have to look the same.
These driveways are especially appealing to home buyers, too. A higher-end upgrade compared to standard grey concrete, exposed aggregate adds value to your home and can help it stand out on the market.
#2: All-year traction
Don’t be fooled by the designer look. Exposed aggregate driveways are built to perform while looking great. To start with, they are 10x more slip-resistant than other concrete driveways. The aggregate adds natural traction for a form that’s also functional. And while you should always be careful, you’ll have more sure footing even if you step out into a frosty winter morning.
#3: Low maintenance
Worried about having to preserve and protect your designer driveway? You don’t have to with exposed aggregate. The surface is coated with a sealant that protects the substrate from damage and staining. This means that most dust, build up, and spills will wash away with the rain or a quick squirt of the hose.
Scheduling a concreter to return every 2-3 years to check the condition of the sealer and add an extra coating is all you’ll need to keep things looking fresh. So go ahead and park your car on it. Tire marks will come right off, too.
We’ll get into exactly how long you can expect your driveway to last below (hint: it’s a long time), but exposed aggregate is an impressively durable material. This comes down to the mix. The ratio of concrete to water is different in a blend that includes aggregate materials compared to a standard concrete pour. The lower ratio actually makes the surface stronger, so it can stand up to frequent vehicle and foot traffic.
Your new driveway will be built to last, so you won’t be looking at replacing it and sending debris out for waste and disposal. The aggregate you choose can also be from sustainable sources while still achieving a designer look. Consider alternatives like waste plastic and post-consumer glass which can replace larger portions of the aggregate material. An added benefit is the sparkle shine the glass can add to your designer look.
Bonus Benefit! #6: Not just for driveways
For a completely custom look, you can integrate the same exposed aggregate for your driveway into pathways, sidewalks, patios, steps, entryways, and even pool surrounds. This creates a consistent aesthetic that can blend into or alongside existing structures. The natural appearance can blend well with earthy tones in landscaping or nearby decking to create a complete look for your entire property.
Take it a step further, and you can use a matching exposed aggregate concrete mix for benchtops in outdoor kitchens, concrete seating surrounds,
Looking for a little inspo? Click here to browse our striking project gallery
How long does exposed aggregate last?
It may not seem like it from the name, but exposed aggregate is well equipped to stand up to the elements, no matter how exposed it may seem. These driveways face weather, vehicles, and foot traffic year-round. Yet you can expect them to last up to 30 years or more with proper care. If you keep up with regular sealing (see above), the aggregate and concrete below will be much less exposed to wear and tear in the first place.
While these driveways are low maintenance, it’s important not to practice improper maintenance. For example, using a high-power pressure washer can cut through the sealer over time and even loosen stones or aggregate from the driveway. Stick to regular pressure with water from a garden hose.
Surrounds for pools can also experience a bit more wear and tear, mostly from the chemicals in the pool water. These can break down the sealer faster than the regular elements will. Chat with your installer about best practices for your design, but generally, annual resealing is recommended.
How much does an exposed aggregate driveway cost?
There’s no concrete cost when it comes to estimating a residential driveway. This is because driveways differ in size, installer rates vary, and customizations can add to or subtract from the total price. The average cost is $100 to $150 per square metre.
Compared to other driveway options, like plain grey concrete that costs just $45 to $70/m2, exposed aggregate is a higher-end option that’s well worth the extra investment. The added cost comes down to two key factors. Exposed aggregate driveways require extra steps to complete the installation and finish, which also takes more time and more team members. Also, the aggregate itself adds to the total cost of materials for the job (which is, in turn, a factor of how large the driveway is).
Need more numbers?
Click here for a complete breakdown of exposed aggregate concrete prices [2022 Edition]
Concept Concrete: For all things exposed aggregate in Melbourne
There are thousands of different combinations available to make your driveway one of a kind. But to experience all of the exposed aggregate benefits on your property, high-quality materials and installation are a necessity.
For this and all your concreting needs, turn to the experts at Concept Concrete. Our family-run business serves homeowners across Melbourne with custom designs and hassle-free projects. We’re a proud member of the Master Builders Association and even more proud of our excellent reputation with our customers.
No matter how big or small, we’re happy to provide a fast, free, onsite quote for your project. We always remain on time and on budget with every job. At Concept Concrete, we enjoy collaborating with customers on custom projects – right down to finding the best aggregate blend to match your home or dream design.
Call us on 1300 366 343 or reach out to us online today!