Cost of Aggregate Concrete Patios
Aggregate concrete is a type of paving material that consists of standard concrete mixed with either fine or coarse particles to create a stronger finished product. The particles serve to reinforce the concrete as well as provide a unique finished look that differs from polished concrete. Use the below cost guide to get a detailed ideas of the prices involved.
- Average minimum cost of aggregate concrete patios: $9.70 per square foot
- Average maximum cost of aggregate concrete patios: $32.40 per square foot
What is Aggregate Concrete?
Aggregate types depend on the project and the homeowner's preference. Sand and small rocks create fine particles for a smoother look while larger rocks, crushed stone and slag are all options for coarse aggregate. Materials may be quarried or recycled. Choosing recycled aggregate makes for an eco-friendly patio design that can help cut down on landfill waste.
Concrete mixed with other materials is durable and longer-lasting, making it a good choice for outdoor areas such as patios. The most common choice for outdoor landscaping is exposed aggregate, in which the added material is visible on top of the concrete and incorporated as a design element.
The Pros and Cons of Aggregate Designs
There are many reasons why homeowners may wish to choose concrete aggregate for patios. Aggregate materials come in many sizes and colors that go beyond the standard grey shade of concrete. This allows homeowners to personalize patio styles with the design of their choice. Adding aggregate gives concrete a pleasing appearance. As a bonus, the multiple colors make any minor stains and discoloration less visible.
This type of concrete stands up to changes in temperature and weather conditions in most climates. It can also handle a great deal of foot traffic, so it's perfect for patios and walkways. Aggregate materials create a slightly rough, non-slip surface that's safer than polished concrete and smooth pavers. When compared to other types of paving materials, concrete is cost-effective and more useful for covering large areas.
Concrete aggregate can have its downsides. If the chosen aggregate isn't strong, hard and free of chemicals, it may result in a weaker finished patio. Weakened concrete is more prone to damage such as cracking. Choosing porous or coarse aggregate materials requires more water to be mixed with the concrete before laying, which can also cause weakness. A poorly installed patio will have similar problems, and all concrete aggregate is subject to breakage if heavy objects are dropped on it. This leads to costly repairs, as concrete can't simply be lifted and replaced like other paving materials.
The biggest consideration for homeowners looking to install a concrete aggregate patio is time. A large patio can take weeks to install and isn't something that's easy to do without the help of a professional. The more complex the pattern, the more difficult the job. This can have an influence on overall cost as well, so homeowners should familiarize themselves with what will be involved in the building of the patio before deciding how to proceed.
In addition to the concrete itself, there are several minor costs associated with installing a concrete patio:
- Aggregate: $4-$20 depending on the size of the bag and the material desired
- Gravel base: approximately $4 for a 50-pound bag
- Trowel: $3.50-$75
- Wheelbarrow: $35-$230 depending on size and material
- 2x4s: starts at approximately $3 per board and varies with material
- Lawn roller: $120-$200
- Concrete sealer: $25-$100 depending on size
Installation and Materials
Whether or not homeowners wish to attempt their own concrete patio installation, it's a good idea to be familiar with the process and materials involved. As with all patio projects, the first step is to determine the size and shape of the patio. Once this has been done, the area should be excavated to a depth that will allow for 4 to 6 inches of base gravel to be placed before the concrete is poured.
After excavation, concrete forms made from 2x4 boards must be staked into the ground to hold the concrete in place as it dries. When the forms are set where they should be, the base gravel must be poured and spread, being sure to include a gradient to allow for water runoff.
Concrete will have mixing instructions on the package and can be placed in a wheelbarrow for easy pouring. The wet mixture is poured directly on top of the gravel and smoothed out using a trowel or a hoe to create an even surface for the aggregate. Chosen aggregate material is then spread on top of the wet concrete and should be light enough that it stays in place without sinking too much. Another 2x4 can be used to lightly press the aggregate into the concrete.
When the concrete has begun to dry, usually after one to two hours, the surface is packed using a lawn roller. This ensures that the aggregate material stays in place once the concrete has set fully. The final step has to wait until the concrete is completely dry and simply involves brushing away excess material and debris with a standard broom.
The best way to keep a concrete aggregate patio looking its best is to seal it as soon as it has been installed. This protects against discoloration, temperature changes, staining, abrasion and the use of rock salt in winter. Sealant should be re-applied every three to five years.
Standard maintenance is similar to other patio materials and includes sweeping, washing down the concrete with a garden hose and the occasional pressure washing. Stains may require the use of acid-based cleaner to restore the original appearance.
Creating a customized patio design with concrete aggregate takes some time and effort but is a good choice for homeowners seeking a unique look. The versatility of this material makes it possible to design and lay patios of many shapes and sizes. Whether expanding an outdoor living space or sprucing up the area around the pool, concrete aggregate makes for an eye-catching finished product that will last for years.
Last updated on May 16, 2016
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