Caring for concrete isn’t difficult but it also isn’t one-size-fits-all when it comes to tactics and products. Discover the best way to clean exposed aggregate concrete in our helpful guide.
Congrats on your amazing looking aggregate concrete surface! Whether you’ve redone your driveway or paved a new path and patio for your back garden, exposed aggregate concrete can look stunning.
That is, until they get grimy from the elements.
It stands to reason that you’ll want to clean up your concrete so that the aggregate looks as good as new again. The cleaning process will also keep the surface safe for everyone to walk or drive on as build up is removed.
But did you know there are actually a few things you should absolutely NOT do when it comes to cleaning your concrete? In turn, there are also a few must-do tactics that can keep your concrete in top shape for years to come. That’s why we put together this guide for how to clean exposed aggregate concrete.
Why cleaning aggregate is different from other concrete surfaces
Consider what exposed aggregate actually is. There is concrete as the base and majority of the material, but mixed into it is a custom aggregate or material that gives it texture and colour. This aggregate can be anything from crushed or polished rocks to seashells and porcelain chips.
So unlike smooth polished concrete, exposed aggregate has additives that need to be protected when cleaning. Some methods, like high-pressure washing or harsh chemicals, can destroy the protective coating and either loosen or damage the aggregate itself. What you can be left is a surface more susceptible to the elements or missing pieces that are more difficult to patch or repair.
6 steps for clean exposed aggregate concrete
The good news is that properly cleaning exposed aggregate is not difficult once you know what to do (and what not to do). So put any water blasting or overly high powered washers away, and check out our step-by-step overview of how to get your concrete looking fresh.
Step #1: Protect yourself
Of course, before starting any DIY job, it’s important to protect yourself with the right equipment. Goggles and gloves are the bare minimum here. You can also choose to call a reliable concrete service to take care of the process for you. But assuming you’re forging ahead yourself, you might also want waterproof shoes, since things are about to get soggy.
Step #2: Remove debris
Either a soft broom or motorised leaf blower could work here, but the goal is to remove any dirt, debris, or other materials that have settled on the surface. One of the pros and cons of exposed aggregate is the unique surface which can hold debris and muck, so you’ll need to ensure this excess waste is removed.
Step #3: Water it down
Using a standard garden hose, you can water down the surface to make sure its completely wet. This is where it’s important to remember that you don’t want to use a high-power pressure washer. If you insist on using one to clear off pesky staining, don’t go over 3000 PSI when it comes to the pressure.
Step #4: Apply cleaner
With the surface soaked, you can apply a cleaner. Do not use anything with harsh chemicals, since this can ruin the finish or sealer on the concrete. Instead, look for water-based cleaners. Be sure to read the instructions on the cleaner you choose. Some will recommend leaving the cleaner to rest on the surface for a set time period before you rinse.
Step #5: Brushing up
Be on the lookout for any stubborn spots with grease, oil, or other stains (all common on concrete driveways). You can gently take a hard brush and scrub a spot, being sure to work with it wet and not dry, to bring the stain out. It’s always best to apply a little pressure and increase as you go depending on how embedded the dirt actually is.
Step #6: Rinsing off
Once you are done, you can rinse away the cleaner and any extra debris that has come up with the suds. This should be done gently and while working from one end of the surface to the other. This will give you a clear indication of any places that might need a little more cleaning or brushing. This step is also recommended with a garden hose to avoid applying too much pressure to the exposed aggregate.
Happy with your cleaning steps but more interested in price? Here’s how much a new exposed aggregate concrete surface will cost
Concrete care tips to avoid cleaning overall
Getting clean exposed aggregate concrete is rather straightforward once you have the right equipment and know the best steps for the job. But most homeowners would agree that preventing the job for as long as possible is preferrable. After all, who wants to clean a driveway often? (hint: no one)
One way to ensure this is to make sure your driveway is properly sealed. If you had it installed by a reputable and professional concrete company, they likely finished the surface with the proper kind of sealant. But sealants degrade over time as they do their job protecting the exposed aggregate below from the elements, foot traffic, and the occasionally over-zealous cleaner armed with a power washer.
With this in mind, you may want to have your driveway or other surfaces resealed every 5 years or so. A professional can assess the condition of your concrete and make a recommendation for the sealer to use and how often you should refresh it.
Of course, another way to avoid cleaning is to help prevent messes. While these will be inevitable given how much driveways, pathways, and patios are subjected to, simple tasks like making sure your vehicle is not leaking oils before parking it can certainly help. If you go a long time without much rain, a quick rinse with a garden hose can also wash away debris and prevent build up that could warrant more extensive cleaning.
Protect your concrete surfaces with the pros at Concept Concrete
While concrete sealers are on the market, it’s best to leave the application of this added protection to the pros. And at Concept Concrete, we have extensive experience installing, maintaining, and protecting concrete surfaces of all shapes, sizes, and varieties. We can provide you with guidance to clean exposed aggregate concrete or offer options for resealing the surface for added protection.
Our family-run business serves the greater metropolitan Melbourne area with pride, always putting customer satisfaction and safety first. Concept Concrete is renowned for quality, reliable, and professional service with hassle-free project management and experiences.
For help with your exposed aggregate concrete, call us on 1300 366 343 or review a fast, free, no-obligation quote online today!