Imagine your backyard as a blank canvas, waiting to be transformed into a masterpiece. As you envision the possibilities, your mind wanders to the idea of adding texture and character to your outdoor space. Two options come to mind: pebblecrete and exposed aggregate.

But what exactly sets these two apart? How do they differ in terms of composition, appearance, durability, maintenance, and cost? In this discussion, we will explore these aspects and shed light on the distinction between pebblecrete and exposed aggregate.

Get ready to discover the key factors that will guide you towards making an informed decision for your next project.

Composition and Installation

When it comes to composition and installation, understanding the differences between pebblecrete and exposed aggregate is crucial.

Pebblecrete, also known as pebble dash or spray-on concrete, is a type of decorative concrete finish. It's made by mixing cement, water, and small pebbles or stones. The mixture is then sprayed or troweled onto the surface to create a textured finish. Pebblecrete is commonly used for driveways, pathways, and pool surrounds.

On the other hand, exposed aggregate is a type of concrete finish where the surface is intentionally left exposed to reveal the natural beauty of the aggregates. The aggregates, which can include stones, pebbles, or shells, are mixed with the concrete and then the surface is washed or sandblasted to expose them. Exposed aggregate is a popular choice for outdoor areas such as patios, sidewalks, and driveways.

In terms of installation, pebblecrete is typically applied by professionals using specialized equipment, while exposed aggregate can be installed by professionals or even DIY enthusiasts. Both finishes require proper surface preparation, including cleaning and sealing, to ensure durability and longevity.

Appearance and Aesthetic Appeal

Understanding the differences between pebblecrete and exposed aggregate in terms of appearance and aesthetic appeal is essential for making an informed decision when selecting a decorative concrete finish for your project. Both options offer unique visual qualities that can enhance the overall look of your space.

Pebblecrete, as the name suggests, is composed of small pebbles or stones embedded in a concrete base. This creates a textured surface with a rustic and natural appearance. The pebbles can vary in size, shape, and color, allowing for a range of design possibilities. The overall effect is a visually interesting and tactile finish that can add character and charm to your project.

On the other hand, exposed aggregate is created by exposing the natural aggregates within the concrete mixture, such as stones, pebbles, or shells. This technique involves removing the top layer of concrete to reveal the embedded aggregates, resulting in a rough and textured surface. The exposed aggregates can come in various colors and sizes, offering a visually appealing and unique look.

When it comes to aesthetic appeal, both pebblecrete and exposed aggregate have their own distinct charm. Pebblecrete offers a more natural and organic look, while exposed aggregate provides a rough and textured appearance. Consider the overall style and theme of your project to determine which option will best complement your design vision.

Durability and Longevity

To assess the durability and longevity of both pebblecrete and exposed aggregate, it's important to consider their resistance to wear and tear over time.

Pebblecrete, with its smooth and polished surface, is known for its excellent durability. The pebbles used in its composition are resistant to cracking and chipping, making it a sturdy choice for outdoor surfaces. Additionally, pebblecrete is highly resistant to water damage, which further enhances its longevity. It can withstand heavy foot traffic and harsh weather conditions without losing its appeal.

On the other hand, exposed aggregate also offers impressive durability and longevity. The exposed stones in its surface provide added strength and resistance to wear. Over time, the aggregate becomes even more compacted, making it more resistant to cracking and breaking. The texture of exposed aggregate also helps to prevent slipping, making it a safe option for walkways and pool surrounds.

Both pebblecrete and exposed aggregate are designed to withstand the test of time. However, regular maintenance and sealing are crucial to ensure their longevity. By keeping the surface clean and applying sealant as recommended, you can significantly extend the lifespan of both pebblecrete and exposed aggregate surfaces.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Are you wondering how to properly maintain and upkeep your pebblecrete or exposed aggregate surfaces? Both pebblecrete and exposed aggregate require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best and to prolong their lifespan.

For pebblecrete surfaces, it's important to regularly sweep away any dirt and debris that may accumulate. This will prevent them from scratching the surface or causing discoloration. You can also use a hose or pressure washer to remove any stubborn stains or dirt. Additionally, it's recommended to reseal your pebblecrete every few years to maintain its durability and protect it from damage caused by UV rays and harsh weather conditions.

Exposed aggregate surfaces also require regular cleaning to keep them looking their best. Sweeping or using a leaf blower to remove loose debris is important to prevent it from scratching the surface. To remove stains or dirt, you can use a mild detergent and scrub the surface gently with a soft-bristle brush. It's important to avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools as they can damage the surface. Finally, resealing the exposed aggregate every few years will help to protect it from stains and ensure its longevity.

Cost and Affordability

Maintaining and caring for your pebblecrete or exposed aggregate surfaces comes with a cost, but it's important to understand the affordability of these options in the long run. While both pebblecrete and exposed aggregate may require initial investment, the long-term benefits and durability they offer can outweigh the upfront expenses.

To help you compare the cost and affordability of these options, here is a table showcasing some key factors:

Cost and Affordability Factors Pebblecrete Exposed Aggregate
Initial Installation Cost $$$ $$
Maintenance and Repair $$ $
Lifespan 15-20 years 20-30 years
Return on Investment High High

As you can see, the initial installation cost for pebblecrete is higher than that of exposed aggregate. However, when it comes to maintenance and repair, pebblecrete tends to be more affordable. Additionally, both options offer a good return on investment due to their longevity.

While pebblecrete may require more frequent resealing and occasional repairs, exposed aggregate surfaces generally require less maintenance. Ultimately, the cost and affordability of these options will depend on your specific needs, budget, and preferences.

Consider your long-term goals and weigh the upfront expenses against the durability and longevity of each option to make an informed decision.


So there you have it, the difference between pebblecrete and exposed aggregate. Now you can impress all your friends at your next BBQ with your newfound knowledge of concrete finishes.

Who knew that something as mundane as driveways could be so fascinating?

Happy paving!

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