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Coloured Concrete Vs Exposed Aggregate

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When it comes to the world of paving, the choices are plentiful. Two of the most sought-after choices are coloured concrete and exposed aggregate. Here at Skyco Group, we understand that choosing the ideal finish for your concrete project can be a daunting task. It’s a delicate balance between aesthetics, cost, and durability.

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This post is designed to offer a comprehensive comparison between the two finishes, dissecting their pros and cons, discussing their costs, and assisting you in determining which finish is the right one for you. We’ll bring to the table insights gleaned from our decades of experience, along with a couple of external resources that might prove handy.

To help us achieve this, we’ll turn to academic research on the subject. The Concrete Institute of Australia, an authoritative source in the concrete and construction industry, has published research papers that provide in-depth analyses of various concrete types and their properties, including coloured concrete and exposed aggregate.

Coloured Concrete and Exposed Aggregate: An Overview

Coloured concrete, as the name suggests, is regular concrete that’s been tinted with colouring agents. This can either be integral colouring (where colour is added to the mix before pouring) or surface colouring (where colour is applied after the concrete has set).

On the other hand, exposed aggregate is a type of finish achieved by removing the top layer of cement paste to reveal the decorative coarse aggregate beneath.

Coloured Concrete Vs Exposed Aggregate: A Comparison of Decorative Concrete Options

When it comes to decorative concrete options, two popular choices are coloured concrete and exposed aggregate. Both options provide unique aesthetics and can enhance the visual appeal of various surfaces, such as driveways, patios, and sidewalks. In this article, we will compare coloured concrete and exposed aggregate, highlighting their key features, benefits, and considerations.

I. Coloured Concrete

Coloured concrete involves adding pigments or dyes to the concrete mixture during the mixing process. This technique allows you to achieve a wide range of vibrant and consistent colors for your concrete surfaces. Here are some key aspects of coloured concrete:

  1. Color Options:
  • Coloured concrete offers an extensive range of color options, including earth tones, pastels, and bold hues.
  • The pigments or dyes used in coloured concrete can be customized to match your desired shade or complement existing surroundings.
  1. Uniformity and Consistency:
  • One of the main advantages of coloured concrete is its uniform appearance.
  • The pigments or dyes evenly distribute throughout the concrete mixture, resulting in consistent coloration throughout the surface.
  1. Versatility:
  • Coloured concrete can be used in various applications, from driveways and walkways to pool decks and interior floors.
  • It allows for creativity in design, enabling the incorporation of patterns, borders, or intricate detailing.
  1. UV Stability:
  • High-quality pigments or dyes used in coloured concrete are designed to resist fading caused by UV exposure.
  • This ensures that the vibrant colors remain intact and do not dull over time.

II. Exposed Aggregate

Exposed aggregate is a decorative concrete option that involves revealing the aggregate (stones, pebbles, or shells) within the concrete surface by removing the top layer of cement. Here are some key aspects of exposed aggregate:

  1. Natural Appearance:
  • Exposed aggregate provides a natural and textured look, showcasing the beauty of the aggregates embedded in the concrete.
  • The exposed stones or pebbles create an interesting visual effect, adding depth and dimension to the surface.
  1. Slip Resistance:
  • The exposed aggregate surface typically offers better traction compared to smooth concrete finishes, making it a safer option for areas prone to water or foot traffic.
  • The exposed stones provide a textured surface that improves grip and reduces the risk of slipping.
  1. Durability:
  • Exposed aggregate surfaces are known for their durability and resistance to heavy traffic, making them suitable for driveways, pathways, and high-use areas.
  • The embedded stones or pebbles contribute to the strength and longevity of the concrete.
  1. Low Maintenance:
  2. Exposed aggregate surfaces are relatively low maintenance, requiring minimal upkeep over time.
  3. Regular cleaning and occasional resealing can help preserve the appearance and protect against staining or weathering.

III. Considerations and Final Thoughts

When choosing between coloured concrete and exposed aggregate, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

  1. Aesthetics and Personal Preference:
  • Coloured concrete offers a broader range of color options, allowing for customization to match your desired aesthetic.
  • Exposed aggregate provides a unique and natural appearance, particularly appealing for outdoor spaces and those seeking a textured finish.
  1. Functionality:
  • Consider the purpose of the surface and the expected level of foot or vehicular traffic.
  • Exposed aggregate’s slip-resistant properties make it an excellent choice for areas where safety is a concern.
  1. Longevity and Maintenance:
  • Both coloured concrete and exposed aggregate can be long-lasting if properly installed and maintained.
  • Exposed aggregate surfaces may require occasional resealing to protect against staining and weathering.

Which Concrete Finish is Right for You?

Choosing between coloured concrete and exposed aggregate comes down to personal preference, budget, and practical needs. If you’re after a more affordable, smooth, and uniform look, coloured concrete might be your best bet. However, if you’re willing to invest more for a unique, durable, and non-slip finish, exposed aggregate could be the right choice.

Whatever your choice may be, it’s important to consult with professional concrete contractors like Skyco Group. We have the skills, knowledge, and experience to provide you with expert advice and high-quality service.


Both coloured concrete and exposed aggregate offer unique features and advantages, providing distinct aesthetic options for concrete surfaces. The choice between the two depends on factors such as design preferences, budget, desired texture, and long-term maintenance considerations. Coloured concrete provides a wide range of color options and design flexibility, while exposed aggregate offers natural texture and durability. By understanding the characteristics of each technique, you can make an informed decision that best suits your project requirements and desired outcome.


Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about coloured concrete and exposed aggregate:

Is coloured concrete more expensive than regular concrete?

Yes, coloured concrete is typically more expensive than regular concrete due to the addition of colouring agents.

How long does exposed aggregate last?

With proper maintenance, exposed aggregate can last for over 20 years.

Can you change coloured concrete?

Yes, you can change the colour of existing concrete using colour hardeners, stains, or dyes.

Does exposed aggregate require more maintenance?

Yes, exposed aggregate usually requires more maintenance, including regular cleaning and resealing every few years.

Can you do exposed aggregate yourself?

While it’s possible to DIY, it’s recommended to hire professionals due to the complex process and potential for mistakes.

Author : SEO Pir2

Published Date : June, 11 2023

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