What is washed concrete, how to make it and where to use it

Known by another name, exposed aggregate concrete or washed concrete, is a kind of decorative concrete finish that highlights the inherent beauty of the aggregate materials included in the concrete mix. In order to create a textured and aesthetically pleasing surface, this technique entails removing the top layer of cement paste to reveal the underlying stones, pebbles, or other aggregates. Its attractive appearance and long lifespan make it a popular choice for outdoor surfaces such as patios, walkways, and driveways.

Although making washed concrete is a fairly simple process, it does require careful planning and the right tools. Pouring and leveling the concrete as usual is the first step. A chemical retarder is applied to the surface to slow down the top layer’s hardening process once it starts to set. Following a partial curing period, the concrete surface is cleaned using water and scrubbed to eliminate the cement paste layer on top and reveal the aggregate underneath. The end product is a distinctive, non-slip surface that highlights the embedded materials’ inherent beauty.

Not only is washed concrete visually beautiful, but it’s also very useful. Its textured surface offers superior traction, which makes it perfect for wet and busy areas. Because the exposed aggregate resists weathering and stains better than smooth concrete surfaces, it also requires less maintenance. Because of this, washed concrete is a flexible choice for a range of uses, including public and commercial areas as well as residential landscaping projects.

Washed concrete offers a blend of beauty and utility, whether you’re looking to improve the curb appeal of your house or create a long-lasting, low-maintenance surface for a public area. Due to its natural, rugged appearance, which goes well with many different architectural designs and outdoor environments, it is a well-liked option for both homeowners and professionals in the building and design sectors.

Description of technology

The process of producing cleaned concrete dates back to the Soviet era, when it was used to make plates for panel homes. Because of the fractional filler protruding on the surface, these tiles have a unique texture to their appearance. Subsequently, flushing concrete experienced a slight decline in popularity; however, builders are now beginning to employ the technique again.

When the ripple matches the mixture unevenly, the technology’s core function is to create unique conditions for the solution to solidify. The material strengthens normally inside, but the process moves slowly outside. Setting deceivers, a unique gel-like substance, can be used to achieve this effect. The gel and cement react chemically, setting the concrete mixture to a specific thickness and creating an unforgettable effect. Following that, a stream of water is used to remove the viscous mass, exposing the filler grains.

The top decorative layer is firmly attached to the base and does not separate because the filler is evenly distributed throughout the entire concrete thickness and only plays a 40% to 40% role. Products are created in the formwork, which is taken out once the concrete has completely solidified. Consequently, a rough stone surface with anti-slip qualities is produced. Filler could do the following:

  • pebbles;
  • marble;
  • granite.

In many ways, washed concrete is beneficial. Its longevity is attributed to its extreme resistance to wear and tear. The material is impervious to weather-related catastrophes; it can withstand heat, frost, and precipitation with ease. It is also resistant to chemical deterioration.

Application area

Such concrete is typically used to create garden paths and sidewalks, building facade elements, retaining walls, flowerbeds, garden benches, and trash cans. You can construct a fence, a column, stairs, railings, and other ornamental elements out of the material. Washed concrete is used to finish parking platforms, and it is frequently used in park and landscape architecture.

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Method of obtaining washed concrete

Even though this material has unique properties, its production is essentially the same as that of regular concrete. A filler is added to the basis along with the appropriate amount of water, resulting in a mixture of sand and cement. The following indicators will determine the product’s exact appearance:

  • filler release height to the surface;
  • filler fraction size;
  • The color scheme of the pebbles.

The primary distinction between traditional and washed concrete technology lies in the application of a slowdown, or deactivator. It is applied from one side of the product to another (usually from the external). In the event that a complex pattern is needed, the inner part of the form is treated with a deactivator before a concrete solution is poured into it.

Exposed aggregate concrete, commonly referred to as washed concrete, is a decorative surface treatment that highlights the inherent beauty of the textures of stones and pebbles in the concrete mixture. It is made using a unique method in which the embedded aggregate is revealed by washing away the top layer of cement paste before the concrete completely cures. This finish is well-liked for sidewalks, driveways, patios, and pool decks due to its strength and visual appeal. Washed concrete not only offers a non-slip surface but also a distinctive, organic appearance that amplifies the visual appeal of any outdoor area.

Equipment and materials

For work, the following supplies will be needed:

  1. Portland cement M400. Calcation silicate substance is plastic, durable, moreover, inexpensive.
  2. Filler. Most often, cheap pebbles or crushed stone with a fraction of 5–20 mm are used. The more expensive and original fillers may be a dolomite, cast -iron fraction, granite, marble, glass balls.
  3. Sand. The desired shade and fractions, of any quality is selected.
  4. Water. The usual cold, clean, without additional impurities is suitable.
  5. Slow down of the concrete setting. Most often, “Addiment B3 2”, “Sementlol Retard”, “Perin Ras”, RSB -500 are used. In extreme cases, you can use sugar molasses or milk serum.

You must also get ready a few tools in order to manufacture washed concrete by hand:

  • container for kneading the solution;
  • device for spraying the deceler;
  • Pistol-pistol for the pump;
  • water pump;
  • concrete mixer (for small volumes, you can knead concrete manually);
  • form for pouring made of plastic, metal;
  • Loard for aligning the surface.

Vibration can be used to create a product that is more durable. By reducing the amount of voids in the mixture, this device will remove extra water and air.

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Topic Description
What is Washed Concrete? Washed concrete, also known as exposed aggregate concrete, is a decorative finish where the top layer of cement paste is removed to expose the underlying aggregate. This creates a textured surface that is both visually appealing and slip-resistant.
How to Make Washed Concrete? To make washed concrete, pour and level the concrete mix as usual. After it starts to set, spray the surface with water to wash away the top layer of cement paste. Use a stiff brush or a hose to reveal the aggregate. Allow the concrete to cure fully before use.
Where to Use Washed Concrete? Washed concrete is ideal for driveways, patios, walkways, and pool decks. Its textured surface provides good traction, making it safe for areas that may get wet. It also adds an attractive, natural look to outdoor spaces.

Exposed aggregate concrete, sometimes referred to as washed concrete, has a distinctive appearance that is eye-catching and long-lasting. The underlying aggregate is exposed when the top layer of cement paste is removed, producing a textured, visually interesting, and non-slip surface. This technique is a flexible option for both residential and commercial applications because it can be used on a wide range of projects.

A few essential steps are involved in making washed concrete. Concrete is first poured and given time to partially set. To stop the top layer from hardening too quickly, a retarding agent is then applied to the surface. The top layer is finally removed from the surface by brushing and washing it with water, exposing the aggregate underneath. To get the desired finish, this process needs to be executed and timed carefully.

Concrete that has been cleaned and polished is perfect for many applications, such as patios, pool decks, and walkways. Its non-slip surface makes it especially appropriate for damp areas, offering both style and safety. Furthermore, the range of aggregates that are available—from colorful stones to smooth pebbles—allows for imaginative design options that can blend in with any architectural or landscape style.

All things considered, washed concrete is a useful and lovely choice for a variety of outdoor projects. It is a well-liked option for boosting the usefulness and beauty of different spaces because of its longevity and adaptable appearance. Washed concrete offers a dependable and fashionable solution, whether your goal is to increase the curb appeal of your home or create a warm and inviting public space.

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Alice Chernyshev

Artist with 15 years of experience, color solutions specialist in interior design. I am in love with the world of colors from childhood, I am happy to share my knowledge and experience.

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