Thinking of resurfacing a driveway? Do you need new hard-wearing kitchen worktops? Then exposed aggregate concrete could be an option for you. Aggregate is long lasting, tough and is a combination of materials that are designed to last a lengthy amount of time. So whether you need a surface space that can retain its design under the chopping of the kitchen knife, or a driveway that will stay fresh throughout the seasons, exposed aggregate concrete is a great and durable alternative to the more conventional surface materials.
Today there are a large variety of aggregate options to choose from. From polished, matte, satin, gravel or sand to crushed stone. Alter the look to how you please, for example you could create a high-gloss polished surface aggregate for an industrial kitchen look. Once laid, aggregate will certainly last a long time, so investing in aggregate is a great long term solution.
Here is one of the more traditional uses of aggregate, a ground surface that needs to endure heavy vehicles or cars over a long period of time. For driveways aggregate can be a real investment—lay it, and it will be many years before you need to think again about renovating it. In this example, the home owner has chosen resin bound paving, something which needs little to no maintenance, and can be relied on to endure the homeowner's cars for many years. It has a wonderfully smooth surface, created from natural stones; ideal particularly if there are children in the home.
Once again, we have an example of a lovely, natural toned resin bound permeable gravel. The shade here is much lighter than before, contrasting against the grass quite beautifully. Resin bound aggregate is a fantastic choice for pathways that will experience a lot of foot traffic—as aforementioned, it's durable and takes next to no maintenance. A light shade of gravel usually works best when it comes to pathways, as it stands out—saving your precious green grass from destructive footfalls.
Aggregate can be used in many different ways, and here we see a rather elegant sample of aggregate decorating a kitchen island. A very light tone, with aggregate sparingly used within the concrete, this kitchen island reflects the natural light of the room and brings it to life. Another great thing about aggregate, particularly when manicured to a matte finish as it is here, is that it's easy to clean. So if you're a messy cooker, or maybe likely to spill a cheeky glass of wine, aggregate could be the easy going material perfect for you.
This rear extension has been transformed into a ultra modern, down to the line, chic kitchen. The polished cabinet doors reflect the natural light streaming down from the skylights, creating a sense of space and calm within the room. The stone aggregate wall reaches down a full side of the kitchen, spanning its way from lower to upper cabinets, and continuing its way down to the bottom of the kitchen—even extending in to the garden. Fusing together the indoor and outdoor like this, the natural and man made, is a stamp of contemporary design.
This feature wall is created from cultured stone; a man-made material manufactured to look like natural stone. However, cultured stone is considerably cheaper and just as resilient, perhaps needing even less maintenance than natural stone. It's created by a mix of concrete, aggregate and colour pigments, meaning it's versatile to come in more than one shade—just as natural stone would do.Here, the cultured stone works to create a cooling vibe in the room, seeming to bring some of the natural world into a contemporary design.
Polymer aggregates are suited to almost any kitchen space, whatever design, colour scheme or theme. Here, we see a light and bright kitchen island, one chosen to contrast the beautiful, dark wood cabinets on the opposing wall. But polymer aggregates come in so many different styles and shades, so don't worry if lighter tones are not what you see in the future design of your kitchen. Here, however, this lightness has been used by the designers to create a wonderfully opulent and ambient atmosphere.
Recycling materials is a highly fashionable venture, and this kitchen design has really utilised this in the most ingenious way. The aggregate is made from crushed computer monitor glass, used throughout the concrete in varying densities. This produces a glorious lustre on the worktop surfaces, giving it that unique and clean shine which we all strive for in our kitchens. Such a design infused contemporary culture with contemporary design; a fusion which should be welcomed into our homes.
Here is something we haven't seen yet; aggregate walls. A great idea for all the reasons aforementioned: little to no maintenance, highly durable, comes in numerous tones and shades, and simply looks professional and impressive. Modular slabs of grey stone has been chosen here as the preferred aesthetic. For a post modern look, the white angular pillars contrast against the wall for a striking contemporary look. This design is perfect for the business building seeking to impress.
The shine in this aggregate surface absolutely brings this kitchen alive. Reflecting light and acting as a mirror to its surroundings, this kitchen island surface is truly a chef's heaven. This kitchen island proves that dark colours don't have to sap a room of its personality or light, in fact it can do the exact opposite. Here, it infuses the kitchen with character and almost doubles the amount of light in the room.
Enough of industrial aggregate, aggregate put down to withstand weight and time. It can be used, too, for one simple purpose: it looks genuinely charming. Here, we have a country home adorned with flowers and foliage, framed beautifully by a natural stone aggregate pathway and driveway. The two, aggregate flooring and natural accessories, collect together in wonderful tones of harmony, forming an altogether quaint and calm country home.
For other great examples that use concrete as a medium, have a look at: Exposed concrete homes