Concrete Pavements: Three Essential Tips for Exposing Your Aggregate
If you are planning on installing a concrete surface in your home, you should consider choosing an exposed aggregate finish. This type of finish is ideal for pavements, sidewalks and driveways because of its unique aesthetics. The variegated colour and the unique texture of the embedded decorative stones will enhance the appeal of the concrete. In addition, the exposed aggregate concrete is rough. So, it will offer high traction and skid resistance for vehicles and foot traffic.
Unfortunately, creating an ideal exposed aggregate finish can be a challenging process. If you are not careful, you could underexpose or overexpose the decorative stones. Under ideal circumstances, you should hire an experienced concrete contractor for the creation of the perfect finish. However, if you are interested in performing the task without professional assistance, you should think about using the tips below for optimal exposure of the stones and great appeal.
Clean the Surface with a Brush
You should brush the concrete surface with a brush after placing the material and allowing for light setting. This method is inexpensive and reliable for DIY work. Ideally, you will need to pour some water on the surface and scrub off the surface mortar with a stiff nylon brush. Removal of the layer will expose the aggregate for the desired look. You should note that the timing for brushing the surface is critical. You should only allow slight curing such that you can scrub the surface without dislodging the stones.
Consider Using a Chemical Retarder
Scrubbing the concrete surface immediately after setting is not realistic during some projects. In general, you might not be capable of taking immediate action due to time constraints and size of the job. For example, you will be unable to work in the evening or cleaning the entire area will take too much time. If this is your case, you should apply a chemical retarder. This type of product will prevent complete curing of the concrete, allowing you more time for cleaning with a brush or pressure washer.
Blast the Surface with Care
If you are dealing with a long driveway or large pavement or the weather is too hot, your concrete might cure prematurely. When the material sets, it will be difficult to expose the aggregate with a nylon brush or pressure washer. In this situation, you should consider abrasive blasting with sand or metal shot. The propelled particles will remove the surface mortar and reveal the decorative stones. However, you should note that the method might damage the aggregate.