What Are the Different Types of Exposed Aggregate Concrete?

All You Need to Know About Exposed Aggregate Concrete and Its Types

Exposed aggregate concrete is in high demand and is being used widely to give homes an elite designer look. Suppose you are looking at creating a picturesque garden landscape or sturdy kitchen slabs. In that case, exposed aggregate concrete is the way to go. The multitude of colour options and textures can be used to make your house unique and desirable.  

The skid resistance it offers makes it an excellent choice for wet spaces like pool sideways. In the rainy season, it is safe to walk on exposed aggregate pavements. It is a good idea to have sandstone paving surrounding the drives. However, since this is a particular type of concrete, it requires plenty of experience to create the same. 

The type of exposed aggregate will be classified based on the colour of the stones in the mix and the technique used to create the surface finish. This post will discuss both in detail. 

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Types Of Exposed Aggregate Depending On The Colour Of The Stones

There are extensive assortments of aggregate to choose from, polished, matte, satin, gravel, sand, or crushed stone. With little alterations and polishing, different looks can be created for various surfaces. Once the concrete is installed, the look will be retained for a long time. 

The common types of stones used in the exposed aggregate are granite, quartz, recycled glass, basalt. Often mixes are derived from natural elements, which gives the aggregate pink, red, rose or even blue hues. Decorative aggregates also have material like shells and glass. Mixes are also differentiated based on their shape, size, and hardness 

Types Of Techniques To Set The Concrete Base

Standard: A mix containing aggregate and concrete is prepared, and the batch is allowed to set. The placement of the stones is random, and there is little control over the placement of the aggregate. 

Topping: Topping the concrete base with aggregate gives better control over the texture of the surface. In this method, a concrete base is prepared and allowed to dry. In the second step, it is topped with the aggregate to give its desired finish. 

Seeding: In this process, the aggregate is seeded on the surface of the wet concrete. It gives better control over the spread of the aggregate, but it is a labour-intensive process. 

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Types Of Techniques Expose The Top Layer

Once the base layer is set, different techniques are used to expose the top layer; some of the popular techniques are: 

Set retarder: Set retarders are special chemicals that are applied to the surface of the layer to prevent the concrete layer from drying.  Once the layer below dries, the top layer is cleaned using a hose and thick brush to expose the top layer. 

Sandblasting: In this technique, a stream of abrasive material like sand is forcibly blasted under high pressure to give it a coarse finish similar to sandpaper. 

Acid itching: In this process, Muriatic acid and water are applied to the concrete surface; it gradually cuts through the cement and sand layers. The aggregate material gets exposed to reveal a similar look of sandblasted finish. 

Concrete grinding or polishing: This process is used to remove a thin layer of cement to attain a smooth, uniform finish similar to the tiles. This is done explicitly for indoor tiles to get a high lustre finish. 

Conclusion

Exposed concrete aggregate is a complex process and is difficult to do unless you have previously worked with concrete. It is better to rely on experts to complete the project for you. The supplier of the exposed aggregate concrete will be able to suggest the best options for the finish and colour you desire for the interiors. 

Main Image Source: Pixabay

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Elize Becker

I am an Archaeologist and Anthropologist with 14 years of experience working with international and locally-based institutions, organisations, companies and public entities. I gained experiences in resettlement and community displacement projects, small business development, cultural-heritage impact assessments and archaeological excavations. Also, I worked as a Project Manager responsible to develop project plans and drive tasks accordingly. Besides my consultancy career, I participated in academic research with a focus on community displacement using an Anthropological approach. Most of my on-site work experiences I gained while working in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Namibia. I also joined global sustainable management teams contributing to projects in Cameroon, Mozambique and Bahrain. I enjoy travelling and exploring the world, working with different communities and cultures. I use my writing career to tell and share my stories I experienced when exploring different parts of the world.

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