A Look at Techniques Available for Achieving Exposed Aggregate Finishes

A clever way to incorporate the decorative aspect of concrete into your home construction project is by using exposed aggregate. Exposed aggregate radiates the natural look of earthy stone to give your concrete surfaces a nice finishing touch. 

If you want to add the natural beauty of exposed aggregate during your home construction project, then you should know of the various techniques that can be used to achieve the desired finish. Here are 3 common options available:

Water washing

Because water washing is the oldest technique used to achieve exposed aggregate finishes, it is clear why exposed aggregate is sometimes also referred to as 'washed' concrete. All the installer has to do is pour water on the concrete and scrub off the surface of paste covering the concrete with a broom until the desired exposure depth is reached. This has to be done immediately before the concrete can cure and harden.

The best thing about this method is that it does not require sophisticated tools or unsafe chemicals to perform. However, it is restricted to small projects, as the job is extremely physically tiring.


In order to achieve the desired look, concrete is premixed with exposed aggregate mixes before being poured. There is an extensive selection of these mixes available to choose from on the market today. When the concrete is sandblasted, it exposes the pebbles or stones premixed in it.

Your concrete surface can be sandblasted at different levels, depending on the type of look that you want to achieve; you can light blast to achieve a slightly exposed look or medium or heavy blast to expose more stone.

A major advantage of sandblasting is that incredibly smooth surface finishes can be achieved since any coarse edges on the concrete are removed. However, it is important to be wary of the safety risks involved since the sand used generally blasts the concrete surfaces at very high speeds.

Chemical-based etching

Here, a chemical retarding agent is used to expose the stones on the concrete surface. When the chemicals are sprayed on the surface of the concrete, they will etch out the top layer of cement paste, which can then be pressure washed off. Because the chemicals contain a diluted acid, this method is sometimes known as acid washing. When using this method, you should handle the chemical agents carefully because they can cause skin burns and eye irritations.

For more information about the best way to achieve an exposed aggregate finish in your project, contact local concrete contractors. 

About Me

From Ordinary to Extraordinary: A Concrete Blog

Do you own a driveway or a walking path made of concrete? Are you thinking of installing a concrete patio? Do you want to learn more about your home's concrete foundation? If so, you have come to the right spot. Hello, and welcome to my blog. My name is Jenny, and I love concrete. I have polished concrete floors in my home and a concrete patio at my business. I take great pride in both of these areas, and I love cleaning and maintaining them. This blog is going to be devoted to concrete, and it's going to cover every aspect from pouring new concrete to repairing old concrete.