Having exposed aggregate concrete in your driveway or walkways sure isn’t an easy feat. Now, the task is to keep it in top condition all the time. After all, its appearance won’t be appreciated if it’s breaking in half, covered in grease, or both.
We understand it takes the bare minimum to maintain exposed aggregate concrete for your home but it’s also worth noting that maintaining its upkeep will extend its life exponentially.
We prepared this guide to help you out in case you’re all about maintaining exposed aggregate concrete for your home and if you’re simply curious about what you can do to keep its beauty in top shape. Let’s begin!
No surprises here that regular cleaning plays a pivotal role in this maintenance process. It’s the first line of defence in maintaining exposed aggregate concrete as we’ve mentioned in our exposed aggregate concrete guide. This simple yet effective practice prevents the accumulation of dirt and debris, which can embed in the concrete over time and cause staining or deterioration.
Begin by sweeping the surface with a broom with soft bristles. This is particularly important for outdoor areas where leaves, dirt, and other organic materials can accumulate. The goal is to remove any loose debris that can grind into the surface underfoot or get trapped in the crevices of the aggregate. For larger areas or commercial spaces, consider using a leaf blower, which can significantly expedite the process.
After sweeping, rinse the surface with a garden hose. Use a nozzle with a gentle spray setting to avoid dislodging the aggregate. The rinsing process helps wash away any remaining particles and helps keep the surface clean. It’s especially effective in removing fine particles that sweeping might miss. For best results, rinse the surface in sections, ensuring that the entire area is thoroughly cleaned.
Despite regular cleaning, certain stains like oil, grease, and tire marks can still find their way onto your exposed aggregate concrete. These stains, if left untreated, can penetrate the surface and become challenging to remove.
Let’s start with oil and grease as it can leave unsightly dark spots on your concrete. To remove these, start by applying an absorbent material like cat litter or sawdust to the stain. Let it sit for a few hours to absorb as much oil as possible. Then, sweep it away.
Next, apply a degreaser specifically designed for use on concrete. These degreasers are formulated to break down the oil without damaging the concrete. Apply the degreaser according to the manufacturer’s instructions, scrub gently with a soft-bristle brush, and then rinse thoroughly with water.
Tire marks are another common issue, especially on driveways. These can often be removed with a simple detergent solution. Mix a mild detergent with warm water and apply it to the tire marks. Scrub the area with a soft-bristle brush in a circular motion to lift the marks.
For more stubborn tire marks, you may need to use a concrete cleaner designed to remove rubber marks. As with any cleaning agent, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the surface.
For stubborn stains or dirt accumulation, deep cleaning may be necessary.
Begin by wetting the surface, then apply a concrete cleaning solution, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the cleaner to sit to break down tough stains. Opt for pH-neutral cleaners safe for concrete surfaces, avoiding harsh chemicals that can damage the aggregate.
As for choosing the cleaning solutions, here are some suggestions to start from:
Always test the cleaning product on a small area first to ensure it doesn’t discolour or damage the surface as a general rule.
Exposed aggregate concrete, while durable, is not immune to wear and tear. Over time, small cracks may appear, and aggregates may become loose. You don’t want this to become a bigger problem so fixing it promptly can prevent further damage and maintain the surface’s integrity.
Small cracks or loose aggregates can be repaired using a concrete patching compound, ensuring it matches the existing concrete’s colour and texture. If it’s something bigger beyond a DIY approach, it’s time to call for help.
Here’s a reminder to always ask for professional help if the damage is beyond a DIY approach. Remember these 3 things so you can call the right assistance before you begin anything:
If the damage is extensive or if there are multiple large cracks, it’s best to call in professionals. They have the expertise and equipment to properly assess and repair the damage, ensuring the structural integrity of the concrete.
If the surface of your exposed aggregate concrete looks faded or worn, or if it’s been a few years since the last sealing, professional resealing may be required. They can ensure an even application and use high-quality sealers that offer better protection and longevity.
Some repairs might require more than just filling cracks or reattaching aggregates. If there are issues with the concrete’s foundation or if large sections need to be replaced, you’ll definitely need professional help.
Resealing is typically recommended every 2-3 years, depending on exposure and traffic levels.
Yes, but use a low-pressure setting and avoid concentrating the jet on one spot to prevent aggregate dislodgement.
Reattach loose aggregates using concrete adhesive or patching compound. Widespread issues may require professional repair.
Maintaining exposed aggregate concrete involves regular care, including cleaning, timely sealing, and addressing wear or damage promptly. Proper maintenance ensures that your exposed aggregate surfaces remain functional and visually appealing. It’s not an easy feat all the time but if you can maintain it, you can be sure to enjoy its beauty for the next decades to come.