When it comes to enhancing the street appeal of your home, one often overlooked aspect is your driveway.
Sure, your driveway serves a practical purpose whether that’s a place to park the family car(s) or a pitch for a game of cricket. More than what your driveway does though, is what it can do for your home.
In Melbourne, one popular choice for driveways that seamlessly combines functionality and style is an exposed aggregate finish.
In this article, we will delve into what an exposed aggregate driveway is, its benefits, and why it has become a popular choice among Melbourne homeowners.
Let’s jump right in!
What is Exposed Aggregate?
Exposed aggregate is a type of decorative concrete finish that has gained immense popularity in the construction and landscaping industry.
It involves exposing the natural beauty of stones and pebbles within the concrete mix, creating a visually appealing and textured surface. This process is achieved by removing the top layer of the concrete once it has cured, revealing the aggregate beneath. The resulting surface is not only durable but also offers a unique and decorative look.
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Why an Exposed Aggregate Driveway is a Winning Choice
One of the primary reasons behind their popularity is their aesthetic appeal. The combination of various coloured stones, pebbles, or even glass beads embedded in the concrete creates a visually stunning surface that can complement any architectural style. Many homeowners appreciate the versatility of exposed aggregate, as they can choose from a wide range of aggregates to achieve the desired look.
Melbourne’s ever-changing weather conditions can be harsh on outdoor surfaces, including driveways. Exposed aggregate driveways are known for their durability and ability to withstand the Australian climate. The exposed stones and pebbles add an extra layer of protection to the concrete, making it less susceptible to cracking or damage caused by temperature fluctuations.
Maintaining a driveway can be a time-consuming task, but exposed aggregate is relatively low-maintenance. Regular cleaning and occasional resealing are usually all that’s needed to keep the surface looking its best. This ease of maintenance is a significant advantage for busy Melbourne homeowners.
Melbourne experiences its fair share of rainy days, making slip-resistant surfaces a crucial consideration for driveways. Exposed aggregate offers excellent slip resistance, thanks to the textured surface created by the exposed stones and pebbles. This ensures the safety of both pedestrians and vehicles, even in wet conditions.
One of the standout features is their customisability. You can choose from a wide range of aggregate materials, colours, and textures to match their specific design preferences. This level of customisation allows for endless creative possibilities, ensuring that each driveway is a unique piece of art.
Increased Property Value
Investing in a driveway can boost the overall value of your property. Potential buyers are often drawn to the appealing aesthetics and durability of these driveways, making your home more attractive in the real estate market.
Let’s Explore Your Design Possibilities
One of the most compelling aspects is the myriad of design possibilities they offer. Melbourne homeowners have the freedom to express their individuality and creativity through their driveway designs. Here are some design elements to consider:
They allow you to select from a wide range of aggregates, including:
Each type of aggregate imparts a unique look and texture to the driveway. For instance, you can opt for a natural, earthy appearance by choosing brown or beige river pebbles, or go for a more contemporary and vibrant look with coloured glass beads. The choice is yours.
Mixing different types of aggregates in various colours can create visually stunning patterns and contrasts. Melbourne homeowners often choose complementary colours to match the overall colour scheme of their homes. This versatility in colour selection ensures that your driveway seamlessly integrates with your property’s architecture and landscaping.
Textures and Finishes
In addition to choosing the type and colour of aggregates, you can also select the desired texture and finish for your driveway. Common texture options include smooth, semi-smooth, and rough surfaces, each offering a distinct tactile experience. The finish can range from a high-gloss shine to a more subdued matte appearance, depending on your preference.
Patterns and Borders
To further enhance the visual appeal of your driveway, consider incorporating patterns and borders. Intricate patterns can be achieved by arranging aggregates in specific configurations or using different sizes and shapes. Borders can define the edges of the driveway and create a polished and refined look.
What is the Installation Process for an Exposed Aggregate Driveway?
The installation is a meticulous process that requires the expertise of skilled professionals. Here’s an overview of the installation process:
The first step involves preparing the site for the driveway. This includes excavating the existing surface and ensuring proper drainage to prevent water accumulation. The base is then compacted to create a stable foundation.
Once the site is prepared, the concrete is poured onto the base. During this stage, the selected aggregates are added to the mix. The concrete is spread evenly, and special tools are used to achieve the desired texture and finish.
Surface Retarder Application
A surface retarder is applied to the freshly poured concrete to delay the setting process. This allows the top layer of concrete to be easily removed later, revealing the exposed aggregate.
Exposing the Aggregate
After the concrete has cured for a specified period, usually 24 to 48 hours, the surface retarder is removed, and the top layer of concrete is washed away using high-pressure water. This reveals the aggregates beneath, creating the signature exposed aggregate look.
To protect the exposed aggregate surface and enhance its longevity, a sealer is applied. Sealers come in various finishes, including matte and gloss, and help maintain the vibrancy of the aggregates while providing resistance to stains and UV damage.
How Much Will a New Driveway Cost?
The cost of installing an exposed aggregate driveway in Melbourne can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the area, the choice of aggregates, and the complexity of the design.
While it may be a bit more expensive upfront compared to traditional concrete or asphalt driveways, the long-term benefits, including durability and increased property value, make it a worthwhile investment.
Check out our full Exposed Aggregate Price Guide for more information
Bonus: Sustainability and Eco-friendliness
Exposed aggregate driveways are considered eco-friendly because they often incorporate recycled materials, such as crushed glass, in the aggregate mix.
Additionally, the durability of exposed aggregate minimises the need for frequent replacements, reducing waste and environmental impact.
Exposed Aggregate Concrete: The Final Word
An exposed aggregate driveway is more than just a functional element of your property; it’s a canvas for artistic expression and a testament to your commitment to quality and durability.
Whether you’re renovating your existing driveway or planning a new one, consider the endless possibilities offered by exposed aggregate. With its design versatility, sustainability, and long-lasting beauty, it’s no wonder that more and more Melbourne homeowners continue to embrace this innovative driveway solution.
Call on Concept Concrete for Your Concrete Solution
Our Concept Concrete team is made up of a family-run business that places the emphasis on high quality, professional projects that stick to timelines and budgets throughout the process. We are also proud members of the Master Builder Association and are a registered building practitioner.
We offer free, no obligation quotes and can come check out your outdoor space, the grading, and the waterflow to ensure that you choose the best option for you.
Just call us on 1300 366 343 or claim your 100% obligation-free quote online now.