Exposed Aggregate: A Comprehensive Guide to Finishes for Driveways and Patios


Exposed aggregate is a popular decorative concrete technique widely used for creating stunning driveways and patios. Known for its durability and distinctive appearance, exposed aggregate concrete offers homeowners a multitude of design options. In this guide, we’ll explore the various aspects of exposed aggregate finishes, including colour choices, cost considerations, and sealing methods, to help you make an informed decision for your property.

The Beauty of Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Exposed aggregate concrete is achieved by removing the top layer of cement paste to reveal the decorative stones (aggregate) beneath. This technique provides a textured surface that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also slip-resistant and durable.

Why Choose Exposed Aggregate?

Aesthetic Appeal: With its natural stone appearance, exposed aggregate adds character and charm to any outdoor space.

Versatility: Suitable for various applications, including driveways, walkways, and patios.

Durability: Resistant to heavy traffic and harsh weather conditions.

Exposed Aggregate Colour Choices

One of the key advantages of exposed aggregate concrete is the wide array of colour options available. From natural earth tones to more vibrant shades, the choice of aggregate colour can significantly influence the overall look of your driveway or patio.

Natural Stone Colours: These often blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, offering a subtle and sophisticated look.

Bold and Bright Options: For those looking to make a statement, choosing aggregates in striking colours can create a standout feature in your outdoor space.

Custom Colour Mixes: Many suppliers offer the option to custom mix colours, providing endless possibilities to match your specific design preferences.

Cost Considerations for Exposed Aggregate Concrete

When planning for an exposed aggregate driveway or patio, it’s important to consider the cost, which can vary depending on several factors:

Size of the Project: Larger areas will naturally require more material and labour, increasing the overall cost.

Type of Aggregate: The cost can vary depending on the type of stones used. Some aggregates are more expensive due to their rarity or unique colour.

Complexity of Design: Intricate patterns or custom designs may require additional labour, impacting the final price.

The Importance of Sealing Exposed Aggregate

Sealing is a crucial step in maintaining the longevity and appearance of your exposed aggregate surface.

Protection: A quality sealant protects the surface from stains, weather damage, and wear and tear.

Enhanced Colour: Sealing can also enhance the natural colour of the aggregate, making it more vibrant and noticeable.

Regular Maintenance: It’s recommended to reseal exposed aggregate surfaces every few years to maintain their beauty and durability, especially in areas with high traffic or extreme weather conditions.

Designing with Exposed Aggregate for Patios and Driveways

When it comes to designing with exposed aggregate, the possibilities are vast.

Complementing Home Architecture: Choose an aggregate that complements the style and colour palette of your home’s exterior for a cohesive look.

Creating Unique Patterns: With exposed aggregate, you have the flexibility to create unique patterns and designs, adding a personalised touch to your outdoor space.

Combining with Other Materials: Exposed aggregate can be effectively combined with other paving materials like plain or coloured concrete, natural stone, or pavers for a distinctive look.

Installation Process of Exposed Aggregate Concrete

Professional installation is key to achieving the perfect exposed aggregate finish.

Expert Preparation: Proper ground preparation and formwork are essential for a smooth installation process.

Skilled Pouring and Finishing: Experienced professionals ensure the concrete is poured, spread, and finished evenly, with the aggregate exposure level precisely controlled.

Curing Time: Adequate curing time is necessary before the surface can be sealed and used, ensuring maximum strength and longevity.


Exposed aggregate concrete offers a perfect blend of beauty, versatility, and durability, making it an excellent choice for driveways and patios With various colour options, design flexibility, and the need for minimal maintenance, it stands out as a preferred choice for homeowners looking to enhance their outdoor living spaces. Handmade Concreting specialises in creating stunning exposed aggregate surfaces tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

Ann Turner

Ann Turner, a skilled contractor with a degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University, has enriched our content as a freelancer since 2022. Her 15 years in home construction and renovation provide a practical perspective to her home improvement guides. Her approach is to merge functional design with aesthetic appeal. Her expertise includes everything from basic repairs to full-scale renovations. When she's not writing, Ann volunteers in community building projects and enjoys woodworking.

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