Decorative concrete is an essential aspect of building. For any building renovation, be it a house or an office space, it is a good choice for floors, walls, patios, and walkways. Apart from performing the necessary function of traction, it also has a classy aesthetic value. Of the multiple types of decorative concrete, exposed aggregate concrete is an aesthetically appealing kind that is becoming popular. Typically used for outdoor decor, it is also a good fit for water-related indoor installations. These include bathroom flooring, walls surrounding bathtubs, and indoor swimming pools. With proper choice and materials, one can transform the outdoors of any building into a pleasant spot.
How is it done?
The exposed type of decorative concrete is achievable by removing the top layer of concrete laid on any surface. Generally, the material is a mixture of sand, gravel, stones, and concrete. After the cement cures, the heavier substances such as gravel and sand sink to the bottom of the mixture. Therefore, when applied, the cement covers the rockier elements. Shaving off the top later of cement reveals the stones beneath. The coarse substances accumulate under the cemented surface and appear as a decorative whole. When the aggregate part becomes stable, the contractor shaves away a certain amount of concrete to bring the crude elements to the top. This process gives a paved look to the concrete.
Choosing the right materials
Different materials are suitable for different weather patterns. One can choose the perfect material accordingly. Some popular materials in Australia include Torrence exposed, Magnolia exposed, Platinum exposed, and Bass Strait Bianco exposed. As per the requirement of the structure, one can pick a colour. The shade of the gravel depends heavily on the gravels that sink beneath the concrete. Some familiar choices are grey limestone, white pebbles, and pastel pink. Granite is also a commonly used material in this type of concrete.
Perks and merits
Unlike other decorative concrete materials, aggregate concrete does not use wood, metals, or such scarce resources. It is a sustainable option for those looking to cut down on their carbon footprint. Glass, rubble, and slag are the occasional extra materials added to the mix. It is also economical since the contractors find it easy to procure the materials locally. It is possible to achieve a striking effect with minimal investment. Owing to the simplicity of the technique, one can get creative while mixing the aggregate too.
Aggregate concrete ensures a tight grip from any surface. For indoor areas such as a patio, bathroom flooring, or even the path that leads to the garden, it provides a coarse texture that makes it easy for one’s feet. For driveways and garage paths, the rough and unsmoothed composition of the material allows skid-free driving. It is particularly beneficial during winters when thick snow gathers on driveways. Another less known fact about exposed aggregate concrete is its ability to serve as a sound barrier. Therefore, it is perfect for soundproofing walls in office spaces. Musicians are known to use it to soundproof their studios in apartments.
Maintaining aggregate concrete is a simple task. Apart from the regular wearing down, the concrete itself is strong and lasts for decades with minimal care. A light sweeping is enough to wipe away any dust or garbage that gets piled on the surface. One can use a hosepipe to water wash and deep clean it.
Compared to smooth marble floors and tiled platforms, exposed concrete offers much more friction and grip. It is also efficient, weather-resistant, and cost-effective, making it the best choice for outdoor and indoor flooring.
Alison Lurie is a farmer of words in the field of creativity. She is an experienced independent content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry.
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