The Pros and Cons of Exposed Aggregate Concrete

When it comes to choosing the right type of concrete for your project, you have a lot of options. One popular choice is exposed aggregate concrete, which is created by removing the top layer of concrete to reveal the aggregate (stones, gravel, or sand) underneath. While exposed aggregate concrete has a unique look and several advantages, it also has some drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons of exposed aggregate concrete to help you decide if it’s the right choice for your project.



  • Aesthetic appeal: One of the main advantages of exposed aggregate concrete is its unique and attractive appearance. The exposed aggregate gives the concrete a textured and decorative look, making it a popular choice for patios, walkways, and driveways.
  • Slip-resistant surface: The rough texture of the exposed aggregate makes it slip-resistant, even when wet. This makes it an ideal choice for areas where safety is a concern, such as around swimming pools or in areas that receive a lot of rain.
  • Durability: Exposed aggregate concrete is known for its durability and long lifespan. It can withstand heavy traffic and extreme weather conditions without cracking or crumbling.
  • Low maintenance: Exposed aggregate concrete requires minimal maintenance. Regular sweeping and occasional pressure washing are usually all that’s needed to keep it looking great.
  • Cost-effective: Exposed aggregate concrete is typically less expensive than other decorative concrete options, such as stamped concrete or decorative overlays.



  • Rough texture: While the rough texture of exposed aggregate concrete makes it slip-resistant, it can also be uncomfortable to walk on barefoot. This can be a concern for some homeowners, particularly those with children or elderly individuals in the household.
  • Limited color options: Unlike other decorative concrete options, exposed aggregate concrete has limited color options. The color of the aggregate is the main determinant of the color of the concrete, so it can be difficult to achieve specific hues.
  • Potential for stains: Exposed aggregate concrete is more porous than other types of concrete, which means it can be more prone to stains from oil, grease, or other liquids. This can be a concern for homeowners who want to maintain a pristine appearance for their concrete surfaces.
  • Difficulty in repair: If an exposed aggregate concrete surface becomes damaged or cracked, repairs can be difficult and may not match the original surface. This can be a concern for homeowners who want to maintain a consistent look for their concrete surfaces.
  • Environmental concerns: The process of creating exposed aggregate concrete involves removing the top layer of concrete, which can be wasteful and have environmental implications. However, some concrete suppliers offer recycled aggregate as an eco-friendly option.


Overall, exposed aggregate concrete can be a great choice for homeowners who want an attractive, slip-resistant, and durable concrete surface. However, it’s important to consider the potential downsides, such as limited color options and the potential for stains, before making a decision. Consulting with a professional concrete contractor, like Santa Ana Concrete, can help you determine if exposed aggregate concrete is the right choice for your project. Contact us today or call us for a consultation!