Exposed aggregate concrete is a very decorative style of concrete design which also gives a non-skid texture to the structure. The particulate aggregate matter of the concrete is pronouncedly visible on the top layer of the concrete giving an awesome appealing finish to the concrete structure. It is used in various places like driveways, patios and sidewalks.
The exposed aggregate concrete mixture is essentially the same concrete mixture that is used in general purposes. The top concrete surface should be worked right enough to create a nice layer of cream on the top surface. With no water on the top surface and the concrete thick enough to allow ½” depression of thumb, colorful pellets of gravel/pebbles or choice of aggregate should be spread uniformly across the surface. The top cream layer wouldn’t be soft enough hold on to the gravels/pebbles, a wet mixture of sand and cement (3:1/4:1) has to be applied over the spread out pebbles/gravels. The gravels/pebbles need to be pressed into the concrete with a uniform and medium pressure by using a wooden float so that the flat surface of gravels are facing up and complete shape of the gravels are visible. The top surface has to be finely brushed and later cleaned in order to expose the shiny aggregate.
Exposed aggregate concrete is skid-resistant, strong and handles extreme conditions. This surface requires very little maintenance other than re-sealing and water cleaning annually. Adding the coarse aggregates to the top of the concrete mixture and toweling makes wear surface very lean and that is a disadvantage of this design.
Stamped concrete is a decorative style to give concrete structures a unique look. The concrete mixture is stamped with various molded shapes repetitively to give a uniform stamped look. This variety is used in pavements, driveways, patios or sidewalks.
The concrete mixture is poured into the construction area, spread and leveled. The excess bleed water is allowed to evaporate from the surface of the concrete. When the concrete surface is firm enough to allow a depression of ½” thumb, its ready to be stamped. Stamps are available widely in the market as rubber stamps, wooden stamps etc. The first stamps needs to be put on the concrete surface and pressed just enough and not much with hand only. The other stamps are needed to be put snugly fitting the first and consecutive once so that they completely cover the area and hand tampered. Once all the stamps have been laid out the stamps need to taken out from the first laid stamp very carefully by not disturbing the other stamps. Concrete sealers might be added for durability.
It is really cheap to apply stamped concrete as the stamps are readily available and any shape can be used as stamps. It gives a great look to the concrete pavements and patios easily. Single or dual tone colors can be made in this type. This kind of concrete is very susceptible to deicing agents and deteriorates very easily. Also it loses it sheen and luster quickly than other types.
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Source by Marwan M Saleh
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