Exposed Aggregate Concrete: Unveiling the Beauty Within

Concrete is a remarkable building material, and its beauty often lies beneath the surface. Exposed aggregate concrete is a testament to this hidden elegance. Imagine transforming a plain, unremarkable concrete surface into a work of art, revealing decorative aggregates that add texture, color, and character. In this article, we explore the world of exposed aggregate concrete, from its creation to its diverse applications and the factors that contribute to its cost. We’ll also guide you on how to find the right concrete contractor to bring your exposed aggregate concrete vision to life.

The Art of Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Exposed aggregate concrete is all about revealing the innate beauty of decorative aggregate, which can be either natural or manufactured. This process involves placing concrete and then carefully removing the outer layer of cement paste to expose the aggregate beneath. It’s a technique that has been used for over a century, making it one of the classic decorative finishes for concrete surfaces.

Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Pouring and Finishing Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Creating an exposed aggregate concrete finish is a skillful endeavour that requires precision and creativity. Here’s how it’s done:

Seeding the Aggregate

One common method is to seed the decorative aggregate onto the freshly poured concrete surface. This involves evenly distributing the aggregate by hand or shovel and embedding it with a bull float or darby until it's fully covered by a thin layer of cement paste.

Mixing Aggregate into Concrete

Alternatively, the decorative aggregate can be mixed directly into the concrete batch during batching, eliminating the need for seeding. However, this method may be more expensive due to the larger quantity of decorative aggregate required.

Thin Topping Course

A thin topping course of concrete containing the aggregate can be placed over a base slab of conventional concrete for smaller decorative aggregates. This is a versatile method for achieving specific design goals.

Why Exposed Aggregate Costs More Than Other Types Of Concrete

While exposed aggregate concrete offers a stunning finish, it may come with a slightly higher price tag compared to plain concrete. Several factors contribute to this cost:

Decorative Aggregate

The choice of decorative aggregate can significantly impact the overall cost. Some aggregates are more expensive than others, affecting the project's budget.

Additional Labour

Achieving a precise exposed aggregate concrete finish demands skilled labour and meticulous attention to detail, potentially increasing labour costs.

Creative Techniques

Contractors often use creative techniques to enhance the exposed aggregate's appearance, such as contrasting aggregates, integral colouring, or chemical stains. These techniques can add both material and labour expenses.

Where Can You Use Exposed Aggregate Concrete?

Exposed aggregate concrete is a versatile decorative finish suitable for various applications:


Durable and visually appealing, exposed aggregate concrete driveways enhance curb appeal and withstand heavy traffic.


Exposed aggregate concrete patio slabs create aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces that are easy to maintain.

Shed Slabs

Ideal for shed slabs, exposed aggregate concrete combines durability with a touch of elegance.

Pool Surrounds

Its slip-resistant properties make exposed aggregate concrete a great choice for pool surrounds, ensuring safety and style.


Exposed aggregate concrete footpaths are both functional and visually pleasing, commonly used in pedestrian areas.

Vertical Applications

Exposed aggregate concrete finishes aren't limited to horizontal surfaces. They can also adorn concrete walls or tilt-up panels, making them suitable for retaining walls, building facades, and sound barrier walls.

Choosing the Right Concreter for Your Exposed Aggregate Concrete Project

Selecting the right concrete contractor is essential for a successful exposed aggregate project. Follow these steps to make an informed decision:

Research: Explore local concrete contractors specialising in exposed aggregate finishes. Read online reviews and assess portfolios to gauge their work quality.

Seek Recommendations: Ask friends, family, or neighbours for recommendations based on their experiences with similar projects.

Request Multiple Quotes: Contact several contractors for detailed project quotes, comparing prices, materials, and timelines.

Check Credentials: Ensure the chosen contractor is licensed, insured, and bonded, providing protection in case of accidents or unforeseen issues.

View Previous Work: Whenever possible, visit completed projects by the contractor to assess the quality of their exposed aggregate finishes.

Effective Communication: Clearly communicate your design preferences and expectations with the contractor, ensuring you’re on the same page.

Get a Written Contract: Once you’ve selected a contractor, obtain a written contract detailing all project specifics, including costs, materials, and timelines.

Exposed Aggregate Concrete Project

Get A Free Quote For Exposed Aggregate From Lake Macquarie Concreting Solutions

Exposed aggregate concrete is a versatile and visually appealing option for enhancing various surfaces. With the right local concreters and creative design choices, you can achieve a stunning exposed aggregate finish that adds value and beauty to your property. So, why not get in touch with our team today to unveil the hidden beauty of concrete and embark on a journey to transform ordinary surfaces into extraordinary works of art. Contact us today!
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