Aggregate Driveway vs. Solid | An Expert Guide Of Differences

The entrance to your house, your yard, or your garage is a daily passage that must be both functional and aesthetic. It needs to be strong enough and also make a good impression. Choosing the right flooring depends mainly on your requirements. Appearance, stability, and many other criteria make it easier to decide on an aggregate driveway vs. solid concrete slabs for your driveway.

What is a Driveway?

It is a lane on which your vehicle must be able to travel. Even if it means arranging it correctly, you might as well make sure it is robust to ensure long life. For a solid and durable driveway, you have the choice between Aggregate Driveway vs. Solid concrete slabs. Of course, there are choice offers available to you. The easiest solution might be to cover your driveway with gravel. This is arguably the fastest and cheapest option to implement. Otherwise, you can consider the Aggregate Driveway vs. Solid concrete slabs. These are two terms that may seem identical when you don’t know much about them, but which are, in fact, two very different techniques. Now we will discuss aggregate driveway vs. solid.

Aggregate Driveway vs. Solid

What should be considered before constructing a Driveway?

A vehicle to pass along your driveway needs a minimum width: 3 meters is the correct width. If you can afford 4 meters wide, then go for it. It will allow all types of vehicles to use your driveway, even the largest ones. According to Shamrock Concrete, the tops of exposed pebble and rock are approximately 1/16- to 1/8- inches above the driveway’s base concrete surface.

For the rest, here are the points that could be relevant to consider:

Earthworks: what is your soil’s original nature, and what is the scope of the work to be carried out?

The old coating: if you change the coating, what do you do with the old one?

Water drainage: this is a subject in its own right. Think about it when building your driveway. These sections were also updated in February 2007 to allow up to 100% recycled aggregate.

Aggregate concrete

Aggregate Driveway 

Any concrete driveway: freshly laid or molded, can be given anesthetic and durable texture of natural stone (filler), thanks to special chemical reagents – deactivators. This texture is very attractive in terms of appearance and gives the concrete driveway useful properties. This includes:

Exceptional strength

One of the Aggregate Driveway surfaces’ main advantages is their exceptional strength since the Aggregate adheres very well to the dense concrete mass, leaving only 1/3 of the stone exposed. The service life of Aggregate is ten years or more. This will help save money in the long run and will not require regular repairs, touch-ups or replacements.

This type of concrete surface can also withstand extreme weather, which is a huge plus for people who deal with a lot of snow and ice in winter and hot sunny weather in summer. Normally, over 90% of a mix’s final strength is typically reached within four weeks, with the remaining 10% achieved over years or even decades.

Wide selection of colors and shapes

Another major merit is the wide variety of colors that this Aggregate driveway surface can provide. You don’t have to settle for a gloomy black or gray surface when you have all the power of exposed concrete. The tiny stones lying on the surface can be composed of a rainbow of colors that go well with the facades’ exterior colors. On the other hand, you can also opt for contrasting colors to add flavor to the exterior.

In addition to this, a wide variety of options provide a variety of stone fill sizes. The texture may depend on the size (fraction) of the stone. While some stones are tiny, others are larger and come in various shapes (round or chipped). The nature of the stone itself can also be different, from the simplest and most understandable river pebbles to semi-precious rocks of quartz. 

Availability of raw materials

Stone chips, sand, cement, and water are a set of simple components for any Aggregate driveway. The variety and availability of mineral raw materials is another advantage of the exposed concrete production technology. 

Low maintenance costs  

Many people prefer it exposed concrete surfaces because they do not require much maintenance. All you are needed to do is clean the concrete surface occasionally with water.

To seal the concrete surface, protect it from oil and food contamination, fungus, mold, and give it a silky shine, we recommend treating it with special protective coatings, which works for over 3-5 years on horizontal and more than ten years on vertical surfaces. … 

Anti-sliding effect 

An additional advantage of exposed aggregate concrete is that it is extremely difficult to slip on it due to the rough texture. Thus, in several cases, this technology’s use is simply necessary and creates the safest coating for concrete elements and driveways. 

Low cost and simplicity 

The production of exposed aggregate driveways does not require sophisticated equipment or additional tools, unlike other production technologies.   

Masking flaws 

Exposed aggregate driveways further conceal all possible imperfections in the concrete surface that would be obvious in smooth concrete. And for monolithic surfaces, this technique easily masks tire marks that appear on the driveway’s surface due to intensive use. 

Solid Concrete Driveways

A solid concrete driveway is nothing more than fine or coarse gravel mixed with cement and water. Until a few years ago, this was the preferred building material for walkways too.

There are few drawbacks to using concrete as the base for your driveway, though it is a solid base and remarkable longevity, and this with easy maintenance. The main constraint lies in the evacuation of water. It is necessary to provide drainage adapted to your ground and the ground’s humidity, and the climate. Rain makes certain types of concrete slippery, and frost can weaken it if humidity sets in.

Although often excluded from noble materials, concrete are no less fashionable today because its neat appearance appeals to the demanding user who is looking for an efficient solution for his driveway.

Moreover, the value for money is indisputable on a practical level, especially if we consider the investment in the long term. However, when choosing your concrete, take into account the price differential depending on the type and quality of concrete.

Finally, if it requires a little material and organization, concrete remains an easy surface to install, which presents a significant advantage for non-professionals.

Aggregate driveway installation

Types of Concrete for a Driveway

Despite elaborating above, you will quickly notice when making your choice that there is a large range of concretes. Appearance, price, and quality will vary considerably from one to another, so it is useful to take a moment to learn about the main possible concretes for your driveway.

The very popular deactivated concrete offers a very clean appearance while freeing itself from the smooth and sometimes disparaged raw concrete surface. Here, cement is mixed with gravel, which gives the finished product a stable and smooth appearance. When ordering from your supplier, you will choose the color of the gravel and the cement. The closest variant is sanded concrete, which has a finer grain.

Rough concrete is another option that comes in variants of smooth, swept, or waxed. All three are gentle and understated. The smooth is a bit classic, but waxed concrete is much more popular today, while swept concrete is timeless as it is discreet.

Colored concrete is another option that can be delivered to homeowners prepared with a dye of their choice. This tends to give the driveway a personal tint. The range of choices is vast here.

Draining concrete, which is not the most aesthetic, also offers an appreciable ecological alternative.

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Aggregate Driveway vs. Solid: FAQs

Is exposed Aggregate cheaper than concrete?

No. Standard concrete tends to be cheaper than exposed Aggregate, as it usually costs only about $6-8 per square foot. This development is also because of cement production being one of the biggest producers (at about 5 to 10%) of global greenhouse gas emissions, lowering costs, improving concrete properties, and recycling waste. Furthermore, as a by-product of coal-fired electric generating plants, it is partially used to replace Portland cement (by up to 60% by mass). Ground granulated blast furnace slag, popularly identified as GGBFS or GGBS: A major residue of steel production is harnessed to replace Portland cement partially (by up to 80% by mass) as well.

Are aggregate driveways expensive?

Compared to Standard concrete, aggregate driveways are usually more expensive because they require more labor and material expenses.

Is Exposed aggregate concrete durable?

Yes. As highlighted above, exposed aggregate concrete is usually durable upon proper maintenance. Furthermore, among all the material options to make your driveway, those looking for a clean, resistant, and durable result will have a preference for the exposed aggregate concrete. Apart from the fact that concrete is a relatively economical element, it is also a support that needs minimal maintenance and can last a very long time if properly installed and used in the right conditions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the house, yard, or garage entrance has to withstand all sorts of stresses in everyday life and make a good impression. When choosing the right floor covering depends primarily on the respective requirements. Other criteria can be, for example, easy maintenance or environmental friendliness in addition to appearance and stability. All these have been adequately explained in the highlight of the aggregate driveway vs. solid concrete above.

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