Do you love hosting parties and outdoor events in your back yard? Do you love showing off your garden and everything that it has to offer? Whether you are designing and building your first alfresco or you have designed several in the past, there is a good chance that you have considered concrete.
Well, concrete is without a doubt one of the most durable and decorative construction materials available when it comes to building an outdoor alfresco. However, if you want to step things up a notch and get even more decorative, you should consider going with exposed aggregate.
Maybe you have never heard of exposed aggregate or maybe you have. There is probably a chance that you do not really know everything that it has to offer.
What Exactly Is Exposed Aggregate?
So, by now you are probably wondering what is exposed aggregate. Well, it is just basically a type of decorative concrete finish in which the stones and pebbles are left exposed in the concrete. Despite how it sounds, if installed and sealed properly this is one of the most durable, long lasting, and attractive decorative concrete designs that you will find available.
It is the embedded stones that take most of the wear, not the actual concrete, which is what makes this design so durable and long lasting. In addition to this, exposed aggregate is extremely low maintenance.
In fact, the only maintenance that it will require is sealing from time to time, depending on the amount of traffic that it is exposed to.
Why Is Exposed Aggregate Perfect For Your Alfresco?
Anywhere traction is required like in an alfresco or around a pool, exposed aggregate should be your first consideration. The exposed stone surface provides excellent slip resistance, but is still gentle enough that it can be walked on without shoes.
When the technique for exposed aggregate was first discovered homeowners were left with limited colour and stone options. However, with technology and new installation techniques there is now a wide range of colour and stone options available to choose from.
When you combine this with the fact that it is extremely durable, attractive, and low maintenance, you really will not find a better construction material for your new and exciting alfresco.
Exploring Some Of The Downsides
Unfortunately, just like everything in life exposed aggregate does come with some downsides. If the surface is not strong, hard, and free of chemicals, it can result in a weaker finish that will eventually lead to faster breakdown and damage.
In addition to this, weak concrete could also lead to cracking. When choosing a concrete mixture for your alfresco if you choose one that is porous and coarse it will require more water during the mixing and laying process, which will make the concrete even weaker overall. A poorly installed alfresco can result in very similar issues.
Another thing to consider is the susceptibility to heavy objects. Any exposed aggregate structure, even if it is properly sealed, is vulnerable to breakage if heavy objects are dropped or thrown on it. This can lead to costly repairs, because it cannot simply be lifted and replaced like other paving materials available on the market.