Exposed aggregate concrete is an excellent choice for any patio or walkway. It looks great, adding texture and variety to what could be a plain slab of white concrete.
Exposed aggregate finishes can vary. Some styles expose stones that may measure as much as an inch across and other styles use a smaller stones that are less than half the size of their big brothers. Aggregate can use differing colors of stone, too, with some pours including more black stones, others with more tan or blonde stones, and still others with a healthy mix to add an interesting visual character.
How to Pour Exposed Aggregate Concrete
Pouring exposed aggregate concrete is much like any other concrete pour. First, you create the virtual mold for the concrete. Workers will dig several inches into the soil and level the ground. From there, a six-inch layer of gravel is spread over the area to provide a firm base for the concrete. The concrete is poured leaving about a half inch to the rim of the form. Make sure that the concrete is smooth and even so that the final product is uniform. Then, pour aggregate gravel on top so that it can sink into the wet concrete and provide the look and texture you desire.
Workers use a combination of a bull float to press the top layer of aggregate beneath the surface, and a hand trowel to fine-tune the details. Once the aggregate is covered and the concrete dries and sets up, workers time when to expose the aggregate with a combination of water pressure, brushes, and brooms.
Sections of Aggregate
Exposed aggregate does not need to be uniform across an entire patio. The concrete form can be divided into sections so that the exposed aggregate sections can contrast with smooth expanses of concrete. For those with a real creative flair, the possibilities are endless. A circular patio, for instance, may feature alternating concentric circles of exposed aggregate. Walkways might be bordered with aggregate, and driveways may feature intricate family emblems to show the pride of home ownership.
While most examples of exposed aggregate might show standard river stones, there are many other options. Families and businesses who live near the coast may prefer to use seashells in their exposed aggregate concrete. This look is fantastic and gives visitors a real flair of coastal living. Other designs may use sea glass or bead glass. When the concrete form is divided up into sections, the concrete may use a variety of aggregates. For instance, a center plane of sea shells might be contrasted with a border of colored glass, or concentric circles of bead glass could add a custom flair and showcase creativity.
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