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Exposed Aggregate Concrete Leads to an Ocean of DiscoveryProject submitted by Rick Gardella, Concepts In Concrete Construction, San Diego
Ocean Explorer, an amazing addition to SeaWorld San Diego, gives visitors of all ages the opportunity to see and learn about some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures, coupled with a mix of rides and interactive activities for guests. Exposed-aggregate concrete walkways winding through the exhibit replicate the look of a sandy, wind-swept beach.
To help enhance the exposed aggregate, custom integral colors were mixed into the concrete before it was poured. After hand seeding, a surface retarder was applied to the concrete so the cream could be washed off the next day, revealing a colorful mixture of shells, recycled glass, and specialty stone.
In addition to placing 20,000 square feet of exposed aggregate concrete, Concepts In Concrete Construction also placed 4000 lineal feet of curb and seat walls along the perimeter of the flatwork.
“When we set up all the curb forms, it looked like a tree farm,” says Gardella, whose crew had to complete the entire project, flatwork and all, in just three months.
Ocean Explorer, a new exhibit at SeaWorld San Diego, allows visitors to take a fun, interactive approach to deep-sea discovery, combining family-friendly rides and multiple aquariums with new digital technologies. In keeping with the ocean theme, even the sidewalks winding through the exhibit have “a swept-sand, beach-type feel,” says Rick Gardella, president of Concepts In Concrete. His crew installed nearly 20,000 square feet of exposed aggregate flatwork for the exhibit in the spring of 2017, completing it in June.
“Exposed aggregate is a great finish for commercial and residential concrete because your wear surface is the aggregate, which is a very hard surface and requires little maintenance,” he says. For this project, the decision was made to hand seed the aggregate, using a mixture of shells, recycled glass, and specialty stone aggregates to add to the beachy effect. “Hand seeding can done in certain locations in varying densities, from 100 percent coverage to just 20 percent in some areas,” Gardella explains.
To help enhance the colored aggregate, custom integral colors were mixed into the concrete before it was poured. After hand seeding, a surface retarder was applied so the cream could be washed off the next day. “The biggest challenge was we had only three months to pour all the exposed aggregate as well as 4,000 lineal feet of curb and seat walls along the perimeter of all the flatwork. When we set up all the curb forms, it looked like a tree farm,” says Gardella.
Stone aggregate: Birdseye brown (a mixture of browns accented with black) from KRC Rock, San Marcos, Calif.
Integral color: Cement Colors Inc., Houston, Texas
Surface retarder: Hub Construction Specialties, San Diego
Concepts In Concrete Construction, San Diego
Learn more about hand seeding and other methods for adding decorative aggregate to concrete.
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