Exposed aggregate is an extremely popular choice for a home improvement concreting project, usually for exterior features like a patio, poolside, or concrete driveway. This is largely because exposed aggregate concrete is durable, easy to clean and maintain, and gorgeous to look at.
Exposed aggregate is also quite affordable, especially when you compare it to other similar materials like natural stone. But different exposed aggregate concreters charge different prices, which makes shopping around for a contractor much more difficult.
What is a good per square metre quote? And what factors affect the final price? Learn all that and more below!
What Is Exposed Aggregate Concrete?
Exposed aggregate concrete is a type of concrete finish where the aggregate protrudes through the surface of the concrete. The top layer is comprised of aggregate, or a combination of decorative stones. This is achieved by pouring the concrete as normal, then spraying a chemical, called a surface retarder, before it sets. The surface retarder slows the rate at which the concrete gains strength, but only on surface. The surface is then agitating with water, brushing away the weakly bonded cement and leaving the exposed aggregate throughout. This creates a breathtaking finish that’s far more interesting than standard grey concrete.
One of the best things about exposed aggregate is that the finished product will always be completely unique. You can customise it with your stones of choice or even opt for coloured concrete if you want to achieve a certain look.
How Much Does An Exposed Aggregate Finish Cost?
The cost of concrete exposed aggregate varies wildly from job to job, contractor to contractor, and even city to city. On average, it costs around $100-150 per square metre in Australia.
Installing an exposed aggregate driveway or other feature is a far more complicated process than installing standard concrete and requires technical skill and expertise, so we recommend not to go below this price range. Any less, and the contractor might be cutting corners to reduce their costs in order to provide a lower priced quote. However, you don’t have to pay exorbitant rates to get high-quality concrete exposed aggregate!
Factors That Affect The Cost Of Exposed Concrete Aggregate
Where you live can greatly affect how much you pay for this type of concrete finish. For example, you can typically expect that the per square metre rate in cities to be much lower than the rate in smaller towns, largely due to increased transportation costs.
Some contractors charge a flat fee regardless of when you need the work done, but others may have seasonal rates that you can take advantage of. If your home improvement project isn’t time-sensitive, consider delaying it until the off-peak season for more budget-friendly prices. Winter tends to be the quietest time of the year while the lead up to Christmas can see the rate increase by up to $10/m2.
There are a variety of materials that you can choose from that will impact the cost of your exposed aggregate concrete. First, is the type of concrete: there are normal and special class concrete mixes, with the latter being more expensive. Then, there’s the type of stones you want to use in the aggregate. Third, opting for coloured concrete instead of the standard grey will also raise the costs. Finally, if you require a special finish (polished, honed, etc.), that will also increase the price.
Site Size & Complexity
Whether you’re installing an exposed aggregate driveway or patio or pathway, concreting jobs are priced on a per square metre basis. Small jobs tend to attract minimum charges because of the minimum amount of concrete that must be ordered each time, while large and open projects are quicker and easier to complete so tend to be quoted at a lower rate. Complex jobs require more labour and tend to be more expensive per square metre to complete.
Site access is a commonly-underlooked factor that can significantly affect your costs. If your home or work site is difficult to access, the contractor will need to make special arrangements (which cost extra) to get the materials, equipment, and workers on-site. This may simply be an additional worker to help wheelbarrow the concrete into place or a special machine to pump the concrete into place.
There are plenty of cases in which other work needs to be completed before an exposed aggregate driveway can be installed in your home. This includes drainage installation, excavation, and levelling. The more work that needs to be done, the higher the price.
Exposed aggregate can be a beautiful, long-lasting, and cost-effective option for your next home renovation. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you should for quality work!
If you want professional and affordable exposed aggregate, Concrete Society has you covered! Contact Ryan on 0400 227 186 or you can fill out this form to get a free quote.