Do you want your surface to look better for longer? Concrete might be as hard as, well…concrete. But it needs a little help to stay sharp, durable, and vibrant for longer. Read on to find out how to maintain your exposed aggregate concrete surfaces.
While exposed aggregate offers striking visuals for Melbourne homes and businesses that are hard to beat, those same visual features can also make this form of decorative concrete tough to clean and look after.
Unlike plain concrete, exposed aggregate is not a uniform slab. Depending on your choice of aggregate, you’ll have plenty of stones on your concrete surface that can become loose or dislodged. You’ll also need to watch out for dirt and debris falling between your aggregate and becoming wedged.
Finally, it (like any concrete finish) can fade over time, so there is a range of potential problems you’ll need to stay on top of.
But don’t panic, because maintaining your surface is easy with our ultimate guide. Read on to learn everything you need to know about keeping your concrete clean, clear, and looking as good as new.
Seal your exposed aggregate concrete
If you want to extend the life of your concrete surface, consider concrete sealing. Sealing provides a layer of protection against hazards, impact damage, and general wear and tear. The right sealant will also provide protection against UV-related fading and weather damage (and we all know how temperamental Melbourne’s weather can be).
Oh, and sealing your concrete can also enhance the aesthetic features of your exposed aggregate, giving you a surface that’s equal parts strong and sexy for many years to come. In short, there are plenty of benefits that come with an exposed aggregate surface.
When it comes to sealing your exposed aggregate, here’s what you’ll need to know.
Step One: Choose your sealer
All concrete sealers are NOT created equal. The most common choices include silicone, urethane, and acrylic-based products. These sealers are designed to protect against mould and mildew, retain vibrant colour (where relevant), and stabilise the surface.
The best sealer will come down to your surface’s usage (for example, avoid glossy sealers on poolside concrete as these can become slippery when wet), and your choice of aggregate (for example, some sealers work better for crushed aggregate while others are suited to chipped aggregate).
When choosing your concrete sealer, make sure the product will resist yellowing, dry in an even, thick coat, and easily accept coats down the track. Most concrete sealers last 1 to 2 years, depending on the climate and volume of traffic.
Step Two: Apply your sealer
Picked a concrete sealer that ticks all your boxes? Great. Now it’s time to apply your sealer and give your surface the lasting protection it needs. You’ll want to choose an applicator that lets you apply a thick, consistent coat on your driveway, patio, pathways, etc.
Exposed aggregate isn’t a uniform surface, so it’s crucial your application provides complete coverage and prevents water from permeating your concrete surface. Once applied, it’s best to leave your surface untouched for 24 to 48 hours before testing with your finger to see if the sealer has fully cured (or dried).
Staying on top of sealer maintenance will help you get the most out of your surface. But let’s be honest, accidents do happen. If you run into spills, read on for our quick tips on exposed aggregate concrete cleaning.
General cleaning tips for exposed aggregate concrete
Maintenance of exposed aggregate concrete comes down to regular cleaning. It’s easier to spend 10 to 15 minutes each weekend performing a quick clean than waiting 6 months and trying to tackle built-in dirt, grime, and muck.
For best results, aim to sweep your concrete surface once a week to remove dust and dirt (or use a leaf blower to make the job quicker). Once the surface is free of debris, you can use your trusty garden hose to blast away any tougher muck or stubborn stains.
Congrats, you just learned how to keep your exposed aggregate concrete looking fresh and clean. But maintenance doesn’t always end there…unfortunately, spills and stains can leave your surface looking a mess, and the trusty garden hose may not be enough to get the job done.
Read on for our cleaning tips to maintain exposed aggregate concrete for the most common household and business hazards.
Prefer to talk prices over presentation? Click here for our ultimate exposed aggregate price guide [2022 Edition]
Common stains to watch out for
No matter how careful you are, your concrete driveway, garage, or commercial space is going to take a beating. From accidental spills to unavoidable stains, here are the hazards to keep an eye out for.
Bore Water Stains
Common on the driveways, bore water can pool on your surface before drying. Instead of vanishing fully, the minerals in the water are left behind to stain your surface a reddish-brown colour. This occurs when the leftover minerals (which are mostly iron) start to oxidise and rust. Just like rust damaging metal, you’re left with an unsightly stain that doesn’t put a smile on your face each morning.
How to clean these stains…
Strong rust stains require strong acid. The chemicals required to remove rust stains can be extremely toxic, so always exercise caution and wear protective gear when cleaning your concrete surface.
Oil & Grease Stains
If your surface handles the family car or commercial traffic, then you’ll run into oil and grease stains eventually. Left too long, these stains can cause lasting damage to your concrete surfaces. But you won’t need to worry about that because we’ll show you how to clean them!
How to clean these stains…
A high-pressure washer and commercial-grade degreaser may help remove tough stains, but not everyone has access to either of those things. Typically, the easiest way to remove oil stains is to make a degreasing solution from household products including baking soda and dishwashing liquid.
Using hot water will lift oil from the surface, while your DIY degreasing mixture will emulsify the stain and make it easier to remove.
Tyre marks are another common concern, particularly if you’ve got a concrete driveway in your Melbourne home. These are also tough to get rid of as rubber stains are water-resistant. Thankfully, the solution isn’t as complex as removing the tyres from the family car.
How to clean these stains…
Tyre marks can be removed with a strong chemical degreaser (whether commercial or homemade) and a little ol’ fashioned elbow grease. A hard broom or hard-bristle brush can work tyre marks out to prevent unsightly stains or long-term damage.
What if my concrete has cracked and I can’t fix it?
Concrete may look indestructible, but over time it can crack and break down. If your home’s driveway is cracking, or your commercial concrete slab is showing serious signs of wear and tear, it may be time to cut your losses and opt for a new concrete slab or new concrete surface.
Maintaining exposed aggregate concrete can mean replacing it. If you’re considering a concrete upgrade, read on to find out how…
Looking for striking & stylish exposed aggregate concrete in Melbourne?
Prevention is always better than a cure. The quality of your concrete installation will go a long way towards your maintenance program. The wrong concrete installation team in Melbourne can leave you with constantly chipping surfaces that end up a nightmare to maintain (and extremely painful to walk on bare feet).
At Concept Concrete, we specialise in residential and commercial concrete services throughout Melbourne. With modern, 100% custom-designed concrete our surfaces are designed to stand the test of time and make cleaning and maintenance easy.
Whether it’s a concrete sealer chosen to suit the specific needs of your home or business, or an aggregate that doesn’t just look stunning but is easy to take care of, we believe great concrete surfaces should make your life easier, not harder.
Speak to a member of the Concept Concrete team on 1300 366 343 or click here to request a fast, FREE quote online.