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Aggregate Concrete Driveway Cost Guide

Concrete is a popular material to use in the construction of driveways thanks to its affordability, durability and relatively quick installation process. However, many homeowners are not content with the look of an ordinary concrete driveway. In these cases, opting for an aggregate concrete driveway may be best. Aggregate concrete driveways, sometimes called exposed aggregate driveways, are constructed by removing the thin layer at the top of the concrete after it is poured. This reveals the aggregate within, which could be something as simple as sand that was mixed into the batch of concrete or pieces of marble and glass that are embedded into the top of the surface.

The Costs 

Average cost per square foot of aggregate concrete driveways:

  • Minimum = $6
  • Maximum = $18 

The cost of an aggregate concrete driveway can vary wildly depending on a number of different factors, how the driveway is poured and what materials are used. Opting to hire a professional will be an extra expense, but it is always advised due to the labor-intensive nature of the job as well as the speed at which aggregate needs to be exposed in order to look attractive. The size of the driveway will also influence cost as will the shape. An unusual shape that requires extra forms or bent wood will always be more expensive. In addition, the type of aggregate used can boost price. Sand and crushed gravel in standard colors are very affordable, but unique options like crushed glass in varying colors or sea shells and polished river rocks can increase the cost of an aggregate concrete driveway by several dollars per square foot.

Advantages of Aggregate Concrete Driveways

Some of the benefits of an aggregate concrete driveway include a unique look, durability, a non-skid surface and minimal maintenance over time. The aggregate used in a concrete driveway can vary depending on what the homeowner wants to use. The aggregate could be a subtle touch that merely adds a little bit of texture to the surface of the driveway, or it could be a bold statement that uses recycled glass chips to truly stand out from any other homes on the street. Since there are so many color and style options available within the spectrum of aggregate concrete, homeowners can also pick the one that best matches their home and their style. Because it is still made from concrete, aggregate concrete driveways can easily last up to 40 years or more, which greatly reduces the need to budget or plan for eventual replacement in the near future.

Disadvantages of Aggregate Concrete Driveways

While there are plenty of upsides to investing in aggregate concrete driveways, there are also several drawbacks that include the cost, the need for professional installation and regular sealing to keep the glossy nature of the driveway. A standard poured driveway with no colorings, stains or aggregates can be as low as $4 per square foot in some cases. However, adding in an aggregate and then going through the effort of exposing it can add a substantial amount to that cost. While some DIY-savvy homeowners might feel capable of pouring a standard concrete driveway on their own, exposing the aggregate is a much tougher process that will almost certainly necessitate professional assistance. After the concrete is poured, the aggregate exposed and the driveway has been cured, it will need to be sealed in order to bring out its shine. Then, every three to five years the driveway will need another seal in order to look its best and be protected against extremely hot or cold temperatures.


Installing an aggregate concrete driveway includes many of the same materials that are needed for a standard driveway. The concrete itself, mixed with water, is required so that it can be poured right on the site. Forms around the perimeter of the driveway are typically made from wood. Support for the driveway comes from steel reinforcement bars, often known as rebar. The rebar ensures that the finished driveway can handle plenty of weight without cracking, which will be a necessity when cars drive over the surface.

Once the concrete has been mixed with an aggregate and has been poured, the materials required to actually expose that aggregate may be as simple as a hose and a broom. Spraying the concrete with water washes away the top layer, exposing just the aggregate below. Using a broom over the surface removes any remnants of the top layer and creates the textured appearance that most people are after. Some professionals, especially when tackling a larger product, may use a chemical surface retarder rather than just water. This slows down the curing process for concrete and allows them to lay down a layer of aggregate that will be visible right at the top of the concrete without being mixed into the entire solution.

Types of Aggregate Concrete Driveways

The word aggregate simply refers to the smaller particles mixed into the concrete solution that will eventually be exposed at the surface. That means that homeowners can choose from a variety of different aggregate materials depending on their personal preferences. Some homeowners gravitate toward a combination of recycled concrete and recycled glass, which looks beautiful and is also an eco-friendly choice. Some of the many additional options for aggregates in a concrete driveway include the following:

  • Sand in a variety of colors
  • Crushed rock for greater texture
  • Porcelain chips
  • Marble, travertine or other natural stone materials
  • Sea shells
  • Gravel or polished river rocks

Last updated on May 18, 2016

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