Advantages of Exposed Aggregate Concrete Surfaces

Concrete surfaces don’t have to look dull and ordinary. Perhaps you’ve admired a neighbor’s stunning and decorative concrete driveway, sidewalk or patio and didn’t know how this look was obtained. Basically, it’s done by removing the top concrete layer.

As a result, the attractive color and texture of the aggregate lying underneath is revealed. There are several advantages of exposed aggregate concrete, also known as simply aggregate concrete. Here are a few of the benefits, along with some considerations and warnings.

Durability and Longevity

One of the main perks of having an exposed aggregate concrete surface is its exceptional durability as it holds up very well in heavy traffic. Because it’s constructed from concrete, aggregate concrete can last for four decades or even longer. This can help in saving money as you won’t have to replace your concrete surface later.

This type of concrete surface can endure extreme weather, which can be a huge plus for Minnesota homeowners who deal with a lot of snow and ice. In summer, your aggregate concrete surface does just as well in handling direct sunlight and rain.

A Wide Choice of Colors and Decorative Aggregates

Another important benefit is the many colors that this concrete surface can provide. You don’t have to settle for dreary black or gray colors when you have an exposed aggregate concrete. The tiny stones lying on the top can consist of a rainbow of colors that match or go well with the exterior colors of your house. On the other hand, you may want contrasting colors to add interest.

What’s more, there’s also a wide variation in textures and sizes. The texture can depend on stone size. While some stones are tiny, others are larger and can be different shapes.

Low Maintenance

Many homeowners prefer aggregate concrete surfaces because not much maintenance is required. All you need to do is occasionally clean your concrete surface with water.

You’ll also need to have your concrete sealed initially to give it a glossy appearance. After the first sealing, you should reseal it about every three to five years so that the concrete keeps its shiny look. 


Furthermore, an exposed aggregate driveway is considerably safe. Keep in mind that this type of surface is skid-resistant. This is because of the layered, small stones on the concrete surface which gives it texture so that it’s more unlikely to slip and fall. 

Techniques Used to Create Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Three different ways are can be used to create floors that have exposed aggregate concrete. Monolithic, which is the easiest method, is also the most popular one. This process entails batching the aggregate into concrete when concrete is being made. A smaller aggregate, called “pea stone” is the one that’s typically used in the monolithic technique.

The seeded method involves placing aggregate over concrete. This should begin shortly after the concrete has been laid. Using mechanical spreaders can give more coverage, but hand broadcasting is the method that’s most commonly used.

The overlay method is used on existing concrete that’s in good condition to make it look new. This is done by mixing aggregate overlay material and then applying the mixture over the old concrete. 

Considerations and Cautions

  • An additional advantage of exposed aggregate concrete is its ability to conceal tire marks on a concrete surface. This is due to the fact that the aggregate material is made up of various colors that can easily hide marks and stains.
  • Aggregate concrete doesn’t require as many additional tools and materials as other types of decorative techniques do.
  • Several factors can affect the cost for applying exposed aggregate concrete, such as the condition of a surface area, stone type and labor rate. If special preparation is needed, the price can increase.
  • It’s best to let a professional do the job of laying the surface. Consider that most homeowners lack the knowledge and experience to know how to properly pour, expose, wash and seal a concrete surface. Also, this process can take as long as several weeks.

Questions? Call the professionals at PolyTech Surface Coatings. We do residential and commercial floor coatings. Please contact us and let us explain our wide range of services.