Concrete vs. Exposed Aggregate Driveway: Which one to choose?

When choosing the right approach for your driveway, you have two options: concrete and exposed aggregate driveway. 

Choosing the right one is crucial, as it will be there for a long time, and you want to avoid going for driveway construction every other year. 

Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Both are strong, long-lasting, and aesthetically pleasing, making choosing the right one even more difficult.

We have compared both on some common grounds to make this complex decision easier. 

Read further to know more. 

Concrete Driveway

Concrete is the most commonly chosen due to its extreme durability and low maintenance. It is a mixture containing cement and aggregates(sand and stones). After pouring, it’s smoothed out for a plain and more solid appearance. 

Exposed Aggregate Driveway

In the construction of exposed aggregate concrete, a special mixture is poured the same way as plain concrete. But instead of smoothening out, the surface is removed to expose the underneath aggregate. For a great result, you need to find a contractor that provides the best exposed aggregate driveways in Melbourne.

Choosing the right one 

Both seem great and not much different than each other, but to end the debate of which one is better, solid concrete or exposed aggregate driveway, we have compared them on four different aspects. 

Each aspect is crucial and must be considered carefully before making the final decision. 


One of the world’s most widely used construction materials, when it comes to installing concrete, the process is similar to its other counterpart, exposed aggregate. Concrete is a mixture of cement, aggregate, and water. After mixing, it is directly poured into place and smoothed out. 

Unlike solid concrete, there are multiple variations in exposed aggregate concrete installation methods. In the most common technique, the mixture is poured and smoothed with a trowel and then sprayed with specially formulated chemicals to prevent the surface from hardening. The top surface is removed to expose the under aggregate within 24 hours. 


Obviously, with solid concrete, you will not get much or any option for decorations. Although the solid grey isn’t exactly dull, some people prefer it that way. In comparison to it, the exposed aggregate provides you with more decoration options. 

The plain concrete can be colored, providing you with a few more variations. On the other hand, exposed aggregate offers you much more choices of variation and different designs.


In this aspect, aggregate driveways lack solid concrete driveways with a huge margin. The aggregate driveways have an uneven surface, which may require more care than the solid. 

Its exposed surface is prone to the accumulation of sand, dirt, and grass clippings. Therefore, it requires more cleaning and hosing down than plain solid concrete. Also, with proper care, a solid concrete driveway can last up to 30 years. Solid concrete also requires cleaning and maintenance, but it is much easier to maintain than the exposed aggregate. 


This point has already been established through this piece. When it comes to durability, concrete clearly outlasts exposed aggregate driveways. But, exposed aggregate is a little behind, as it offers greater flexibility in design. Thus its longevity will suffer in comparison to a solid surface. 

Although, if you are looking for a more durable option and the appearance isn’t important to you, then go for a solid concrete driveway. It is capable of withstanding the harshest weather and requires much less care. 

Final words

We hope we have ended this long standing concrete vs. exposed aggregate driveway debate. You can use many factors to compare them both and find which one is better for you. Each factor is crucial and should be paid utmost to. From durability to appearance, both have advantages, so choose which benefits are more suitable for you.

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