Exposed Aggregate Concrete Finish

Architectural Decorative Concrete by SUNDEK National Accounts

Exposed aggregate is a decorative concrete application that is achieved by laying concrete mixed with aggregate then stripping a thin layer off the surface to expose the aggregate beneath. This method creates a textured and multifaceted surface.

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Benefits of exposed aggregate

In addition to being beautiful, exposed aggregate has several benefits:

  • Durable, even in extreme weather
  • Low maintenance, though it does require sealing and occasional cleaning
  • Skid-resistant due to its rugged texture
  • Customizable—there are many aggregates to choose from, giving clients the ability to choose colors and textures that meet their design requirements

Where can exposed aggregate be installed?

Its durability makes exposed aggregate a great surface for many locations:

  • Courtyards
  • Driveways
  • Garden pathways
  • Patios
  • Pool Decks
  • Sidewalks

How to choose aggregate for your surface

An experienced contractor such as SUNDEK will have aggregate recommendations, but here are some factors to consider when thinking about what you want for your surface:

  • Color. Because there are so many aggregates to choose from, the color options are limitless. You can use everything from richly colored granite to colorful recycled glass.
  • Hardness. The level of hardness is determined by its ability to resist abrasion. For example, granite is harder than limestone.
  • Size & shape. Both the size and shape of the aggregate material you choose changes the look of the surface. A larger aggregate, for example, will display more prominently than smaller aggregate. Aggregate that’s round will create a smoother surface and will also provide better coverage than angular aggregates—but angular aggregates will add more texture and dimension to the surface.
  • Availability. Choosing an aggregate that’s available locally will make it easier to acquire and will also be less expensive than an aggregate that’s sourced from out of the area.

Aggregate to avoid

It can be exciting to explore the possibilities for aggregates, but keep in mind that there are some limitations. You’ll want to avoid flat or sliver shapes as they can easily dislodge from the surface. Stay away from anything that contains iron oxides, iron pyrites, or anything else that will stain concrete. An experienced contractor will be well informed on which aggregates to use and which to avoid.

How it’s done

The aggregate is combined with the concrete mix. After the concrete is poured and sets, a surface retarder is then applied to strip away the top layer and reveal the aggregate beneath.

We can also resurface existing concrete to look like exposed aggregate using our Aggregate Effects coating system.

Depth of exposure

An exposed aggregate surface can be customized according to your preference. Exposure ranges from light (where aggregate is slightly exposed) to full exposure (where aggregate is very visible).

Does an exposed aggregate surface need to be sealed?

Yes, just like any other decorative concrete surface, an exposed aggregate surface needs to be sealed to protect it from damage and prolong its lifespan. Learn the benefits of sealing your decorative concrete surface.

Find a contractor who does exposed aggregate

For more than 50 years, SUNDEK has helped leading design, architectural, and development companies meet their project objectives. We’d love to help with your exposed aggregate project!

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14121 Parke Long Ct. #109
Chantilly, VA 20151
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