Installing exposed aggregate concrete in your driveway? Take care to avoid problems.

site preparation exposed aggregate concrete exposed aggregate concrete driveway Concrete Pattern Pave Driveway

Installing exposed aggregate concrete on your driveway so that the result is consistent with an even tone is no small feat. Driveways are often a very large area so preparing it correctly, followed by laying the aggregate mix itself needs a great deal of experience.

Once laid, concrete is fairly permanent…. as we know. There are specific steps in the preparation and installation to ensure that your exposed aggerate concrete driveway is laid to last a lifetime. Even if you pay a little more up front with an experienced concrete company, we often find the longer term costs are far higher when the job is not done properly. Repairing imperfect concrete is expensive and so is the cost to the resale of your home.

So what can go wrong in laying exposed aggregate concrete on your driveway?

Site Preparation for concrete paving is not complete

An incomplete or poor site preparation can mean that the concreter will not be able to lay 100mm of concrete to ensure as strong as driveway as possible which can pose a problem in the future. The opposite can also happen, you could receive a bill for extra concrete if the site prep is deeper than 100mm.

Ensuring that rain water falls away from your foundations or does not run onto the road or into a neighbouring property, is a function of a professional site preparation as well as correct laying of the concrete on top of the soil.

Problems in the actual installation of the Exposed Aggregate

Holes or loose pebbles can happen if too much aggregate is used or the aggregate is exposed too much particularly in a driveway with regular vehicles driving over the top. 

The concrete is the glue that has to set and harden around the stones to hold them in place over time. Dense amounts of aggregate or high exposure might look great initially but the stones could loosen over time because there is not enough concrete between the stones to hold them in place.

Whilst a couple of stones coming loose probably won’t be noticeable, a patch of stones coming loose will downgrade the look of the driveway as well as making it uneven to drive on.

Not enough aggregate might be a function of the wrong mix of concrete used. A 25MPA aggregate mix of concrete should always be ordered from the supplier rather than a 20MPA concrete paving mix to ensure there is more aggregate in the concrete.

Exposed aggregate concrete is a natural product, so like any natural product it will take on elements of its surrounds and blend in. Over time it will become more uniform and consistent in its surface and colour, so it if you are concerned about slight unevenness at the start, it may even out with time.

A note on cracks in your concrete – there is natural movement in land and most homes experience cracks in their walls, concrete and pavers. Hairline cracks are better left as they are as we have seen people spending money in repairing them only to find them re-appearing down the track. Have a look at our FAQ section for more information.

An experienced concrete company is often the difference between a good or poor result

Have a look at our blog about choosing a concrete company in Adelaide and take the time to ask questions to help you select your installer. For example:

  • How much experience do they have in laying exposed aggregate concrete driveways? A driveway is a large area and needs more planning.
  • Will they draw up a proper plan of the work to be done for you to inspect?
  • Will they help with design advice to come up with the right aggregate for your home?
  • Do they have a display centre so that you can view samples?
  • What does preparation of the site consist of - are they paying attention to detail?
  • What is their after sales service like?
  • Do they have an office in Adelaide that you can visit to review plans?

Laying exposed aggregate concrete in your driveway is a big job, not to mention an expensive one. It is rare that concrete will be pulled up and laid again – not only because of the cost to everyone, but also the mess and effort involved for the home owner.

A little bit of research and planning to choose the right concrete company will go a long way to ensuring you are satisfied with your end result.

Call Panorama Concrete for your exposed aggregate concrete driveway plans

For customers who choose to work with us, we provide samples to take home so that you can check you’ve picked the right aggregate mix.

With more than 30 years experience, and a solid presence in Adelaide, we have laid over 2 million square metres of concrete for both Adelaide homes and commercially. Drop into our showroom at 1 Maple Avenue, Forestville and have a look at our exposed aggregate display.