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Exposed aggregate concrete driveway

You can expect to pay $100 to $150 per square metre for an exposed aggregate concrete driveway, with factors like slope, access and the strength of concrete required all adding to the overall cost. Besides being very stable concrete is also extremely durable, watertight and resistant to changes in temperature, which is why it is a popular option for driveways. Adding concrete aggregate - often with a colour tint, gives the surface texture, grip and also helps to make it easier on the eye. 

You can expect to pay $100 to $150 per square metre for an exposed aggregate concrete driveway, with factors like slope, access and the strength of concrete required all adding to the overall cost

If you like the finish of exposed aggregate concrete one of the first questions you need to answer is how much your driveway could cost. 

Besides being very stable concrete is also extremely durable, watertight and resistant to changes in temperature, which is why it is a popular option for driveways. Adding concrete aggregate - often with a colour tint, gives the surface texture, grip and also helps to make it easier on the eye. 

How much does an exposed aggregate concrete driveway cost?

As a guide you can expect to pay $100 to $150 per square metre for an exposed aggregate concrete driveway. 

For a driveway 4m x 3m with a slight slope this could cost you in the region of $2,300. This does not include the cost of integrating with a pathway to your front door, or if there are other requirements by council, or if you have other complications like drainage. 

If you are ordering concrete from a supplier they are likely to ask you how much you need in cubic metres/m3. You can expect concrete per m3 to cost  anywhere from $200-$300, depending on the strength of concrete you need and how much concrete you are purchasing. Most of use will likely choose to get a professional concreter to handle all this, including laying the concrete driveway

Working out the cost of your exposed aggregate concrete driveway

Expect concreters to take into account the following factors when they quote your job, specifically:

  • The size of your concrete driveway, calculated in square metres

  • How much excavation and levelling is required

  • If drainage is required 

  • How easy access is to your site

  • The type of concrete you need for your project

Is exposed aggregate concrete expensive?

Yes, an exposed aggregate concrete driveway will be more expensive, up to double the price of standard concrete which costs around $60 to $85 per square metre. 

This is because there is more labour involved in creating the finish - specifically brushing or blasting the cement surface. There is also more aggregate added for this finish so there is also an additional material cost to budget for. 

Now let’s look at what exactly an exposed aggregate concrete driveway consists of. 

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What is an exposed aggregate concrete driveway?

An exposed aggregate concrete driveway is laid using different sized and coloured gravel or stones - otherwise known as aggregate - which are added to the mix or laid on top of the surface at the end of the process. This gives the surface more texture and an attractive appearance, as concrete is typically a neutral grey. It also helps to give a driveway more traction - so an exposed aggregate concrete is not slippery - something that makes them popular for driveways. 

What strength concrete for a driveway?

The strength of concrete is measured in megapascals (MPa) with grades that can range from 20MPa to 50 MPa. The standard specification for a driveway paving is 25Mpa concrete, with a thickness of 100mm or greater, with reinforcing mesh. If heavier vehicles are going to use your driveway then you will need to upgrade to a stronger grade and increase the reinforcement you use. 

6 steps for an exposed aggregate concrete driveway

These are the steps you can expect when concretors come to install your exposed aggregate concrete driveway:

  1. The first step is for the concretors to clear, peg and level the surface

  2. The formwork is then put into place before a base of sand or gravel is then laid with steel mesh reinforcing if required

  3. The concrete is then poured and spread evenly over the site and smoothed

  4. They will now wait until it is nearly firm before the surface is brushed or washed away with a high pressure blaster exposing the aggregate materials (stones/pebbles) on the surface

  5. The concrete is then left to fully cure

  6. The surface is then sealed to minimise staining and to protect it for the long term.

Hiring a professional concretor

You are likely to need help from a concreter to install an exposed aggregate concrete driveway. A concreting professional will be able to get a perfect finish. Concreters are licensed on a state-by-state basis, so make sure you know what applies where you live. A licensed tradie has the right training, qualifications and experience to complete your job. When it comes time to getting quotes for your concrete driveway some questions to ask them include:

  • Are you licensed for my project?

  • Do you hold valid insurance?

  • Can you provide a written quote?

  • Do you have references I can follow up?

  • Can I view some of your work?

*Costs and prices in this article are indicative and should only be used as a guide. They also vary locally and are subject to market forces.

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