Although an exposed-aggregate finish looks great on its own, many contractors heighten the drama by using creative techniques that enhance or complement the colors and textures of the decorative aggregate.

Wood divider strips accentuate sections of earth-toned exposed aggregate. Portland Cement Association

Here are just a few of the myriad possibilities:

  • Use contrasting aggregates or combine areas of smooth and exposed-aggregate finishes.
  • Integrally color the concrete in a shade that sets off or complements the aggregate color palette.
  • Place exposed aggregate in bands or fields separated by joints, wood divider strips, or bands of contrasting decorative treatments.
  • Use chemical stains to highlight elements in a pattern or fields of exposed aggregate.
  • Vary the degree of aggregate exposure, from light to heavy. For example, fields that are side by side or in a pattern can be sandblasted to different exposure levels for a unique effect.
  • Use high concentrations of aggregate at the surface to create an exposed-aggregate walkway that looks like a gravel pathway.
  • A process developed by Concrafter combines pattern stamping and exposed aggregate to produce eye-catching borders and insets.
Decorative patterns can be formed by varying the degree of aggregate exposure. Grace Construction Products (left). Portland Cement Association (right).

Exposed Aggregate Concrete Replicates a River

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