In days gone by, a concrete or asphalt driveway was really all that was on offer if you wanted a solution for replacing an existing driveway or installing one on a property. While it is still entirely possible to have a simply concrete driveway installed, there have been some exciting developments in the use of materials in this area. One of the most popular choices for a modern looking driveway is exposed aggregate.
What Is Exposed Aggregate?
Exposed aggregate is a combination of natural materials, such as shell fragments, pebbles, and crushed stones, that forms the top layer of a concrete substrate. It is this exposed surface and the natural texture of the aggregate of stones and other materials that gives it a unique and popular appearance. In this sense, it is often used as a building material for driveways in South Melbourne, and for the construction of walls, steps, and other areas in commercial properties.
The Benefits of Exposed Aggregate Driveways
It has long been known that concrete offers superb value as a building material. Not only is it highly affordable, but it has also proven to be very durable. In fact, every minute, somewhere in the world, a concrete mixer is turning and mixing concrete for a building project. Similarly, asphalt has also been proved to be a great surface for car parks, roads, and driveways, not least because it is flexible and durable enough to maintain structural integrity through extreme weather conditions.
Despite the advantages of these more traditional materials, exposed aggregate continues to be popular for the following reasons:
- Aesthetic: Perhaps first and foremost, an exposed aggregate surface is uniquely textured due to the presence of pebbles, crushed stones, and shells. Not only is this inherently appealing to the human eye, but it also means that every single exposed aggregate surface is unique in terms of natural variation.
- Expansion and contraction: One of the biggest problems for concrete driveways and other exposed areas is that the weather takes a massive toll on the surface. The action of heating and cooling will cause the concrete to expand and contract. Inevitably, this will cause damage to the surface layers and the substrate, causing cracks and holes to appear. By contrast, the exposed aggregate surface layer is less susceptible to cracking and movement that are due to changing temperature and weather conditions. The aggregate surface holds the concrete top layer together and is stronger and more durable.
- General degradation: Driveways in particular are hugely susceptible to the pressures from cars and other heavy vehicles. This sort of pressure contributes significantly to the risk of surface damage for any driveway. Exposed aggregate is advantageous inthis context because the top layer of shells, stones, and pebbles will more evenly distribute the pressure from vehicles across the surface. This results in less damage to the surface over time.
Quite apart from the clear physical benefits of exposed aggregate, it has proven to be a cost effective way to add significant kerb appeal to any property. This makes it the ideal solution for both homeowners and commercial developers.