Concrete finishes have come a long way from the days when concrete was drab, dull and grey.

Today, concrete finishes come in a range of styles, textures and colours. Your choice in concrete finish can transform your space whether you’re looking to upgrade your driveway, garage or business.

In this guide, we’ll compare two of the most popular options:

  • Honed concrete
  • Exposed aggregate

On the one hand, honed concrete delivers understated elegance by grinding down the surface of freshly poured concrete to reveal a smooth, polished finish.

This process enhances the visual appeal of your concrete and adds a layer of durability, making it an ideal choice for both indoor and outdoor applications.

On the other hand, exposed aggregate takes a slightly different approach, showcasing the raw beauty of natural materials embedded within the concrete.

By washing away the top layer of concrete after pouring, the aggregate – such as stones, pebbles, or shells – is exposed, creating a textured, visually dynamic surface that adds character and depth to any space.

Read on as we take a closer look at these two popular concrete finishes, exploring their respective advantages, applications, and the factors to consider when making your choice. 

Let’s dive in!


  • Prioritise Aesthetics: If you’re looking to create a contemporary, sophisticated look with a smooth, polished finish, honed concrete may be the way to go. However, if you prefer a more naturalistic, textured appearance that highlights the beauty of natural materials, exposed aggregate could be the perfect choice.
  • Consider Functionality: For outdoor areas such as driveways, crossovers, and pool surrounds where slip resistance is crucial, exposed aggregate’s textured surface provides added safety and practicality. Meanwhile, honed concrete may be better suited for indoor spaces or commercial settings where a sleek, polished finish is desired.
  • Factor in Maintenance: If minimal maintenance is a priority, honed concrete may be the preferred option, as it requires less upkeep to preserve its appearance. On the other hand, if you’re willing to invest the time and effort into regular cleaning and maintenance, exposed aggregate can offer long-lasting beauty and performance.

Choosing Your Concrete Finish: Weighing the Pros and Cons

When it comes to selecting the perfect concrete finish for your project, it’s essential to consider the unique advantages and drawbacks of each option.

Let’s break down the key points for both options:

Honed Concrete

Pros Cons
✓ Sleek Aesthetic: Honed concrete offers a sophisticated, modern look that complements a wide range of architectural styles. ✗ Limited Texture: While the smooth finish of honed concrete is appealing to many, it may lack the textural interest that some prefer.
✓ Durability: The grinding process not only enhances the appearance but also increases the concrete’s resistance to wear and tear. ✗ Cost: Achieving a perfectly honed finish requires skilled labour and specialised equipment, which can increase the overall cost of the project.
✓ Low Maintenance: With its smooth surface, honed concrete is easy to clean and requires minimal upkeep over time.

Exposed Aggregate

Pros Cons
✓ Natural Beauty: Showcases the raw, organic beauty of the materials within the concrete, adding a unique aesthetic dimension to any space. ✗ Maintenance Challenges: The exposed surface can trap dirt and debris more easily than smooth finishes, requiring regular cleaning to maintain its appearance.
✓ Slip Resistance: The textured surface provides excellent traction, making it a practical choice for outdoor areas like driveways and pool surrounds. ✗  Potential for Wear: Over time, it may become worn or chipped, especially in high-traffic areas, detracting from its initial visual impact.
✓ Versatility: With a wide variety of aggregate materials available, you can customise the look of your concrete to suit your design preferences.

Concrete Finish Comprehensive

Comparison Factor Honed Concrete Exposed Aggregate
Efficiency Requires skilled labour and specialised equipment Requires skilled labour and specific techniques
Cost Moderate-high, due to labour and equipment costs Moderate, depending on the type of aggregate
Durability & Lifespan Highly durable with proper maintenance Durable, but may show wear over time
Aesthetics Sleek, modern look Natural, textured appearance
Environmental Impact Requires less water Utilises natural materials, can be eco-friendly
Maintenance Easy to clean and maintain Regular cleaning required to preserve the appearance


Both options require skilled labour and specific techniques to achieve the desired finish. However, the process for honed concrete may involve more specialised equipment, potentially impacting efficiency.


Honed concrete tends to be more expensive due to the labour-intensive process of grinding and polishing. Exposed aggregate, while still requiring skilled labour, may be more cost-effective depending on the type of aggregate chosen.

How Much Does Exposed Aggregate Concrete Cost in Melbourne? 

Durability & Lifespan

Honed concrete is highly durable and resistant to wear and tear, making it suitable for high-traffic areas. Exposed aggregate is also durable but may show signs of wear over time, particularly in heavily used spaces.

How Long Will Exposed Aggregate Last?


Honed concrete offers a sleek, modern aesthetic with a smooth, polished finish. In contrast, exposed aggregate showcases the natural beauty of aggregate materials, providing a textured appearance that adds character to any space.

Environmental Impact

Honed concrete typically requires less water during the finishing process. However, exposed aggregate utilises natural materials, making it a potentially more eco-friendly option depending on sourcing practices.


Honed concrete is relatively easy to clean and maintain, requiring minimal effort to preserve its appearance. Exposed aggregate, on the other hand, may require regular cleaning to prevent the buildup of dirt and debris that can detract from its visual appeal.

How To Clean Exposed Aggregate Concrete [The Quick & Easy Way]

Choosing the Right Concrete Finish: Meeting Your Installation Needs

Selecting the ideal concrete finish for your project involves considering various factors, including the type of installation and the desired aesthetic outcome.

Let’s explore which option is better suited for different types of installations:

Honed Concrete

  • Indoor Spaces: Honed concrete is an excellent choice for indoor installations such as floors, countertops, and feature walls. Its smooth, polished finish adds a touch of sophistication to interior spaces, making it particularly well-suited for modern or minimalist design aesthetics.
  • Commercial Settings: In high-traffic commercial settings such as retail stores, restaurants, and office buildings, honed concrete offers durability and easy maintenance. Its sleek appearance can enhance the professional atmosphere of commercial spaces while withstanding the demands of daily foot traffic.
  • Contemporary Landscapes: For outdoor areas where a clean, contemporary look is desired, honed concrete can be used for patios, pathways, and outdoor seating areas. Its refined finish complements modern landscaping designs and provides a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Exposed Aggregate

  • Driveways and Pathways: It is an excellent choice for driveways, pathways, and other outdoor surfaces where slip resistance is essential. Its textured surface provides excellent traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls, particularly in wet conditions.
  • Pool Surrounds: When it comes to pool surrounds, it offers both practicality and aesthetics. Its natural, textured appearance complements the outdoor setting, while its slip-resistant surface enhances safety around the pool area.
  • Naturalistic Landscapes: In garden settings or naturalistic landscapes, it blends seamlessly with the surrounding environment. Its incorporation of natural materials adds to the overall aesthetic appeal, creating a harmonious connection between the built environment and nature.

Is Exposed Aggregate the Right Concrete For Your Driveway?

Ready to Transform Your Space? Contact Concept Concrete Today!

Are you inspired to elevate your space with a stunning concrete finish?

Whether you’re envisioning the sleek sophistication of honed concrete or the natural beauty of exposed aggregate, Concept Concrete is here to bring your vision to life.

For more personalised advice, expert guidance, or a detailed quote tailored to your specific project needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Our team of experienced professionals is ready to assist you every step of the way, from concept to completion.

Reach out and claim your 100% obligation-free quote today.