Cheryl's Guide to Concrete Contractors

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The Versatility of Exposed Aggregate

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A great benefit of exposed aggregate is its versatility. You can install it inside or outside, in a home or in a commercial environment. Numerous finishes are available to tailor the surface to different settings. Its durability, too, makes it excellent for both high- and low-traffic areas.

Ideal for Outside

Exposed aggregate can undergo various treatments to render it non-slippery and so suitable for outdoors. Around a pool, in particular, a surface needs to be skid resistant to lessen the danger of slipping. Sandblasting is one treatment that can roughen the aggregate, so it becomes safer. During this process, sand and other abrasive materials corrode and roughen the surface, and thus expose the decorations embedded within the cement. It's not only pool areas that need to be non-slippery; any outside area that catches rainwater does as well. Another possibility for this is acid-etching, which also corrodes the top layer, though with acid rather than physical bombardment. Water brushing involves a different, more gentle, approach. Special brooms sweep away the top layer of cement to reveal the embellishments, but without affecting the coarseness of the surface.

Excellent for Indoors

Indoor areas don't require the same bumpy type of surfaces as outdoors. Instead, flooring in a home or commercial environment needs to be smooth. Honing and polishing using sanders and grinders produce attractive flat floors appropriate for indoors. If you are after a highly polished look, you can apply multiple layers of clear coating to create a glistening surface. Alternatively, you could leave the surface matte, but level. Honed exposed aggregate creates beautiful speckled floors; the grinding flattens and brings out the patterns of the embellishments. The final overall effect depends on the decorations combined with the cement colour. These beautiful floors suit many different inside spaces, home-kitchens, garages or commercial spaces.

The Durability of Exposed Aggregate

It is not only the range of finishes and decorative options that make exposed aggregate such a versatile type of flooring, but also its durability. Because of this sturdiness, it suits both high- and low-traffic areas, and it can handle diverse outdoor weather conditions. This means you can install it virtually anywhere. The ultimate strength of a surface, however, depends on the particular aggregates within, and the amount relative to the cement mixture. Some aggregates strengthen the concrete, while others can weaken it. For high-use surfaces, you can simply choose particular aggregates to help with this.