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How to Choose an Exposed Aggregate Concrete

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Exposed aggregate concrete can be a great choice for any home's driveway, walkways, or patio areas. An aggregate is a substance that is on the surface of concrete; it might be pebbles, gravel, or a type of soft glass. This aggregate gives the concrete a bumpier texture for added traction and an improved appearance, and can also help to slow down the flow of water if you need to control potential soil erosion on your property. If you're thinking of having concrete poured on your property, note a few considerations to cover with your contractor so you know you choose the right type.

Always ask about certain cleaning products or chemicals

Some chemicals will cause concrete itself to soften and cracks sooner than it should, but others may affect the aggregate even more so; certain cleaning products, automotive fluids, paint thinners, and materials like these may damage some aggregates. If you work on your car in the driveway or go outside to mix up paints and other chemicals, choose an aggregate that will withstand this exposure.

You also want to note if the aggregate will last around a pool area; you might like the look of buffed glass around the pool, but if the chlorine will affect its color over the years, it might be good to opt for another aggregate variety. Knowing what chemicals or cleaners might affect the adhesion used to keep the aggregate in place or otherwise damage it can ensure you opt for a type that will be safe for your particular application.

Ask about the overall traction of an aggregate

If you want an aggregate in your driveway or walkway to improve traction, be sure you ask about this. Some rounded small aggregates may make the surface of concrete bumpier but may not necessarily provide more traction. A larger aggregate with an uneven surface might be a better choice. Be sure you talk to your contractor about wanting added traction so he or she can recommend the right type of aggregate for your space.

Consider water flow

If you want to add areas of concrete on your property to control water flow and reduce the risk of soil erosion, discuss this with your contractor; soft and smooth aggregates may not work as well as bumpier choices, as mentioned above. Your contractor may have some aggregates that are better suited for actual moisture retention than others, so be sure you note that this is why you're having concrete areas added to your space.