Choosing The Colour And Finish Of Your Exposed Aggregate Patio Flooring
Concrete makes for excellent patio flooring. Because it is durable and low maintenance, it can be decorated in limitless ways to coordinate with your home and the garden. One option, exposed aggregate, can be customised to match virtually any colour scheme. The surface can also be finished off with either a matte or polished look.
Colouring The Concrete
When creating exposed aggregate, you can select from a vast range of aggregates to create the specific look you want. Options include pebbles, rocks, sand and crushed stone such as granite. Once all the aggregates are mixed and combined with the cement composite, the overall colour will emerge.
Each aggregate you choose adds to the final result. Different kinds of crushed rocks, for example, bring distinct tones. Quartz displays rose, yellow, green or white hues depending on its origin. Granite typically exhibits pink, red, grey, blue, white and black shades. Different gravels also contribute distinct tones, ranging from red-browns to sands. Other types of aggregates, such as shells and coloured glass, add to the overall shade.
It's not only the aggregates that add colour but also the cement mixture itself, which can vary from white to off-white or from grey to beige. The cement can be subtly pigmented as well to complement the elements within or the environment. The final outcome also depends on the relative proportions of aggregates and cement mix. Is the mixture thick with decorative pieces, or are they relatively sparse within it?
Finishing The Surface
If the exposed aggregate is for your patio, you will need to choose a finish that works for the environment. Does the patio have any roof covering or does it receive rainwater? This is important because the surface can be finished in different ways to be either polished and smooth or else more granular to provide better grip when wet.
Treatments such as acid etching and abrasive blasting roughen up surfaces to provide non-skid finishes and are ideal if your patio is roofless and subject to rainwater. Acid-etching involves applying hydrochloric acid to erode the surface and reveal the aggregates within. Abrasive blasting is when abrasive materials are aimed at high velocity towards a surface, pitting and corroding it in the process. Alternatively, a smooth surface is created by a sander or grinder honing the top layer of the aggregate. Multiple layers of clear coating can produce a shiny finish or else it can be left uncoated for a matte look. Smoother surfaces are best for roofed concrete patios that are protected from rainwater.