With exposed aggregate concrete becoming very widely used amongst modern houses in Australia there have become various methods for sealing the aggregate product and increasing the lifespan of your driveway. As a product the exposed aggregate concrete is very durable and if laid properly can last for many years and still resemble an as new look.
There are some steps you can take to maintaining your exposed aggregate driveway even before the concrete has been laid. First of all find a good contractor, one that is highly recommended and that has done exposed aggregate jobs before. It is not the same process as any other concrete laying job so do not rely on a friend with some concrete laying experience or attempt to do it yourself. Air bubbles and water seepage as result of a poor laying process will cause the concrete to crack and void looking horrible and not serving its purpose as a stable driveway.
After the exposed aggregate and concrete has set and finished it is essential that you have the aggregate sealed. Some aggregate suppliers will refer you to people they know and trust and who have usually been used with the majority of the suppliers jobs. After all the supplier wants their product to look good and last as any defects as result of them are very costly so they wish to ensure you have the highest quality for not only your sake but theirs. Having the aggregate sealed is essential as it prevents the surface from any staining and the general elements being outside. It is recommended that you have the surface sealed regularly different contractors who seal the aggregate suggest different time periods between sealing however it depends heavily on what products they are using, so it is best to ask them when your first seal is done.
By having the exposed aggregate sealed it makes it much easier for subsequent cleaning and regular home maintenance. Due to the texture of the exposed aggregate surface it is common to have sediment, soil and general dirt settling to the bottom. To get rid of that layer of dirt simply hose the driveway in a constant direction from one side to another pushing the dirt outward. Use a broom to assist the moving of dirt and be sure to push all the dirt once washed out of the driveway to an area away from the driveway to ensure it does not end up back on the driveway soon after your hard work cleaning.
These quick and easy maintenance tips will help you see your driveway looking fresh for years on end. The ease of maintenance with the exposed aggregate product is a major factor in why it has become so widely used.
Mike Baxter, Epping VIC