Concrete 101: Mixing Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Dull, grey, stone-cold; these are the images that come to your mind when hearing about concrete floors. However, there is more than meets the eye to your ordinary grey steps! You only need to look more closely at the latest trends that emerged in recent years. Concrete floorings have now much more to offer! 

In today’s piece, we will get into exposed aggregate – a type of concrete finish making its way up the market ladder. We will discuss the fundamentals behind it, how mixing exposed aggregate concrete works, and so much more.

What Exactly Is Exposed Aggregate Concrete?

A lot of finishing methods exist in the industry. Some of them include concrete resurfacing, coloring and painting, epoxy coatings, and exposed aggregate. An exposed aggregate is a concrete finish you can achieve by installing concrete and removing the outer portion that reveals a decorative aggregate. Want something even better? Getting Epoxy Aggregate by adding a clear layer of epoxy over than exposed aggregate. It’s all sorts of wonderful!

The decorative aggregate is either fused into the mixture beforehand or seeded into a target surface. This type of finish is durable and is also skid-resistant. Thus, making it ideal for patios, sidewalks, garage floors, swimming pool decks, tilt-up panels, and even plaza squares. You have the liberty to customize your aggregate – from exotic floor designs to easy and functioning ones. 

There are several types of exposure you can accomplish. Some of them include the following.

  • Sandblast finish – A sandblast finish only reveals sand on the surface.
  • Light exposed – A light exposed finish exposes the top and edges of the aggregate. 
  • Medium exposed – Meanwhile, a medium-exposed aggregate highlights quantities of rock and cement. About fifty percent is revealed in this type of exposure.
  • Full exposed – A full-exposed finish reveals the entire aggregate as a part of the surface where installation occurs.

There are many ways to create aggregate concrete. Some of them are on the list below.

  • Standard – This is a mixture of raw materials that include cement, stones, sand, and water. It is put into place and left for an hour or two. And the result is exposed gravel and stone.
  • Topping – Topping is also known as concrete overlaying. This method is for upgrading and improving pre-existing concrete.
  • Seeded – Crushed stones and gravel are seeded into an area with newly laid concrete. It is akin to placing seeds into fertile soil for farming, hence the name.
  • Polished – Polished finishes are for decorative purposes only. Workers use equipment such as grinders or sanders to make the surface level and flat. They then apply layers of sealers that make the surface shine. Although the function of the concrete is present, it is not a crucial part of the finish.

The Mixing Process

The process of mixing concrete aggregates that come with small stones is simple. The hard part comes in revealing or exposing the aggregate. It mandates special and proper handling.

  • Step 1The first step is to choose a desired decorative stone such as pea gravel to become the concrete aggregate. What you will pick will affect how your surface or flooring will look like after installing the mixture.
  • Step 2

The second step in mixing the concrete finish is to wash the aggregate in a container.

  • Step 3

The next part of the procedure is to create your unique mixture. There are factors that come to play for the mix. It depends if you are aiming for an aesthetic finish alone or a textured and consistent surface. Blend the concrete in a container or wheelbarrow until you reach a spreadable consistency. 

  • Step 4 (Optional)

Ask your contractor if they also do epoxy aggregate flooring. Basically, it is a clear coat of resin/epoxy that is poured on top of an exposed aggregate concrete. The result is a stunning smooth floor with an intricate aggregate pattern underneath. This makes it more durable as well.

A Concrete Conclusion

There are other alternatives you can check out other than exposed aggregate concrete. But this one is ideal for you if you are in search of the one that puts durability, design flexibility, efficiency, and uniqueness all in one. So you don’t have to work up a lot of effort just so you can keep it looking new and fresh. If you are interested in knowing more, check out our blogs like applying new epoxy over an old coating.

Scroll to Top