Thinking of investing in a strong, stylish exposed aggregate surface? Before you pull the trigger, let’s compare the pros and cons of this decorative concrete finish.

You’ve been thinking about exposed aggregate concrete for your driveway, patio, or business.

But you’re still on the fence.

With seemingly countless decorative concrete finishes available, it’s tough to know what’s right for you. At Concept Concrete, we’re Melbourne’s trusted concreters and flooring experts, so we know a thing or two (hundred) about concrete.

Whether you’re looking to transform your home or upgrade your commercial space, read on for the ultimate pros and cons list you need to decide whether an exposed aggregate finish is right for you.

How is exposed aggregate concrete made?

It’s tough to know if a concrete finish is right for you without unpacking how it’s created. A popular decorative form of concrete, exposed aggregate is a striking and versatile surface that’s used for driveways, pathways, pool surrounds, alfresco areas, and more.

The process of laying an exposed aggregate finish starts with your basic building blocks of concrete – mixing cement, sand, water, and aggregates (think stone, pebbles, or rock) that bind to create an impenetrable rock-like mass.

However, when laying exposed aggregate, the aggregate materials (of which there is a wide variety) are up to you. Choose from granite, limestone, quartz, basalts, or a range of natural stones and hardened materials, your aggregate can be mixed together for deep penetration or laid as topping, which means your exposed aggregate will occupy the top space only.

How long does exposed aggregate concrete last?

There’s a reason for the expression “hard as concrete”. When choosing a decorative concrete finish, you’ll want to factor in its expected lifespan. No one wants to pay for a concrete surface only to find unsightly (and dangerous) cracks forming within a few years.

This is where exposed aggregate concrete shines. With the right care and maintenance, an exposed aggregate surface can last for 10 to 20 years. You’ll need to factor in a range of variables when determining the expected lifespan of your surface, these include:

  • Weather conditions
  • Traffic (both foot and vehicle)
  • Cleaning routine
  • Sealing
  • Choice of aggregate

If you’re looking for a tough but attractive surface that can handle everything you throw at it (and then some), then exposed aggregate is ticking your boxes. So let’s unpack some of the advantages that come with this stylish decorative concrete finish.

Exposed aggregate concrete pros

Durable, strong enough to support vehicles, tough enough to withstand Melbourne’s unpredictable weather conditions, exposed aggregate offers plenty of benefits to make your life easier.

Here are a few of the top reasons to say ‘YES’ to your own exposed aggregate concrete surface.

Highly customisable

Concrete is dull, drab, and grey, right?

WRONG.

The term ‘exposed aggregate’ is an umbrella term that covers a range of materials that are included in your concrete mix (or added as a top layer). And there are plenty of options for you to choose from to suit your Melbourne home or business.

For example, popular aggregate choices include:

  • Crushed rocks
  • Polished rocks
  • Marble
  • Porcelain chips
  • Sand
  • Seashells
  • Granite
  • Limestone
  • Quartz
  • Basalt

These options give you control over how your driveway, path, or concrete surface looks. Are you looking for a slick, colourful, and polished finish? Or a textured and neutral tone to suit your home’s facade?

Long gone are the days of boring concrete finishes. With exposed aggregate, you can customise your space to reflect your style, your business branding, or your home’s decor.

Super tough

Everyone knows concrete is tough and durable, but did you know an exposed aggregate finish can be just as durable as plan concrete?

Able to handle heavy traffic better than natural stone, exposed aggregate surfaces can handle the weight of the family car or commercial vehicles without breaking down or cracking. Throw in an ability to withstand Melbourne’s weather and you’ve got a robust surface that requires little to no maintenance for years.

As an added bonus, regular cleaning and sealing will keep the strength and durability of your surface for even longer!

Multi-purpose finish

You’re thinking of a new concrete surface to make it easier to pull your car into the garage, or provide grip around the pool, or improve the aesthetics of your home – and an exposed aggregate finish does it all (and more).

Through exposing the aggregate mixed into your concrete, your surface is more attention-grabbing than plain concrete or brick. At the same time, that finish provides leading traction for vehicles.

The more you unpack the benefits of exposed aggregate concrete, the more you’ll see how multi-purpose and valuable this decorative finish is. So whether you want to make your home stand out, add a touch of safety underfoot, or boost the value of your property if you ever decide to sell, you’ll get everything you want.

Exposed aggregate concrete cons

We might be Melbourne’s premier installers of exposed aggregate surfaces, but that doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone. It’s important to look at both sides of the story (not listen to an enthusiastic salesman) to find out if exposed aggregate concrete is right for you.

So here are a few potential downsides to keep in mind.

Repairs are more challenging

The unique finish of exposed aggregate can become a double-edged sword if you need to apply small repairs. It’s tough to replicate the same texture and colour if you need to fill in cracks or damaged areas, meaning you won’t always have a perfectly uniform surface if ongoing repairs are needed.

Outside of aesthetics, repairs are also tougher than fixing cracks in plain concrete. The process – involving choosing and packing the correct aggregate for your surface – will take more time than patching a section of plain concrete.

More maintenance may be required

An exposed-aggregate surface may need extra attention when it comes to cleaning. That means you can’t always pull out the garden hose and spray down the surface, as dirt and debris can become lodged between aggregate stones. Instead, a wire brush or strong pressure hose may be needed.

As long as you’re keeping debris and dirt out of your exposed aggregate, you’ll enjoy a concrete finish that’s durable, low-maintenance, and hard-wearing. But your weekly clean may take a little more effort than a once-over with the hose.

Not a DIY project

Installing exposed aggregate concrete is not a DIY job to be taken care of on a spare weekend. You’ll need a trusted local professional to ensure the installation process follows the necessary steps to deliver a great finish.

In many cases, your concrete slab will need to be prepared prior to installation which may involve a thorough clean or concrete grinding to get your surface ready. Whatever level of prep is needed, installing exposed aggregate isn’t a home improvement project that’s easily taken on board.

Prefer to find Melbourne’s leading concreters to save you the time and hassle instead? Read on to find out what to do next.

Still can’t make up your mind? Here, this should help…

Deciding on any home improvement upgrade can be a challenge.

Throw in the decades of use you’ll get from concrete and picking any decorative finish can be tough. At Concept Concrete, our team of highly trained and experienced flooring experts has been helping customers in your shoes with free onsite assessments and quotes – and we want to offer you the same!

Contact our friendly team to talk through your options, compare our prices against our competition, and discover what a new exposed aggregate concrete surface can do for your space.

Call 1300 366 343 or click here to schedule your 100% obligation-free site assessment now!