You may not have heard of exposed aggregate concrete, but it's likely that you have seen it before. Its gravel-like surface looks like millions of extremely small stones set in concrete. These stones catch the sunlight and glimmer, creating a dazzling, visually-interesting surface.
How is this effect achieved? In order to create exposed aggregate concrete, the surface of the concrete is first inlaid with tiny stones as soon as it's poured. A surface retarder is then sprayed onto the concrete so that the bottom layers of cement dry much faster than the top layers. Once the bottom layers of the concrete have set, your concrete contractor will come back to brush away the unset cement on the surface layer of your concrete. Once the cement has been brushed away, all of the tiny stones that have been inlaid into the concrete are exposed.
Concrete is ultimately one of the best choices for a pool deck, and exposed aggregate concrete carries advantages even over other forms of decorative concrete. Read on for three reasons to choose exposed aggregate concrete for your home's pool deck.
1. It's Naturally Slip-Resistant
The primary reason why exposed aggregate concrete is the best choice for a pool deck is that it's a naturally slip-resistant surface. The tiny stones in exposed aggregate concrete make the surface of the pool deck very coarse, which provides great traction. It remains slip-resistant even when wet, which improves the safety of your pool. You don't want to worry about you or your guests slipping and hurting themselves while walking on your pool deck.
2. It Features a Durable Finish That Hides Stains and Erosion
Exposed aggregate concrete is also the most durable type of decorative concrete finish. The small stones in the exposed aggregate are arranged in a random pattern, which allows them to hide any defects in the concrete surface such as stains and cracks.
Other types of decorative concrete such as stamped concrete and stenciled concrete use organized patterns. This can sometimes present a problem when they're installed on pool decks. After many years, water that's splashed onto the pool deck combined with storms can begin to erode the surface layer of the concrete. This erosion is much more visible on stamped and stenciled concrete compared to exposed aggregate concrete. This makes exposed aggregate concrete a long-lasting choice for a pool deck that continues to look great.
3. It's Less Expensive Than Other Types of Decorative Concrete
The process of installing exposed aggregate concrete requires fewer extra steps after it's poured compared to stamped or stenciled concrete. Inlaying the concrete with stones, spraying the surface retarder on it and brushing away the unset cement are all the extra steps that are required compared to pouring a standard unfinished concrete slab. This reduces installation costs and makes exposed aggregate concrete an economical choice.
Overall, exposed aggregate concrete is a low-cost surface for your concrete pool deck that provides excellent safety due to its slip resistance. It's also very low-maintenance and will continue looking great for years. If you're installing a new in-ground pool or looking for an update to your current pool deck, call your local concrete contractors and ask about having exposed aggregate concrete installed.