One way to lay an exposed concrete walkway is to wash off the cement on the surface so that the aggregates (gravel and sand) beneath the surface of the newly poured concrete are exposed. However, the washing process can be fraught with several challenges if you do not keep certain tips in mind. This article discusses some of those tips that will enable you to succeed when you make that exposed aggregate walkway in your yard.
Know How to Level Low Spots
Some defects in exposed aggregate walkways stem from the way homeowners react when they see a part of the poured concrete that is lower than the rest of the walkway. It is wrong to rake concrete from the rest of the walkway so that the low spot is leveled. This is because the raking process may not move the heavy particles, such as gravel, to the low spot. The best approach would be to sprinkle additional concrete on that spot until it is at the same level as the rest of the driveway.
Be Systematic as You Compact the Walkway
The key to having uniformly spaced exposed aggregates lies in how systematic you are when you are tamping the freshly poured concrete. Use the same leveling tool, such as a screed-rod, on the entire walkway. You should also move that leveling tool in the same way, such as from the left to the right side of the walkway. Make sure that you use the same pressure as you press the leveling tool on the poured concrete. The steps above will ensure that the aggregates will be at the same depth when you wash off the cement at the top.
Use a Release Agent
You can make the process of exposing the aggregates easier by applying a release agent on the concrete surface. Visit a hardware store near you and find out which product is locally available for this purpose. Follow the instructions provided so that you do not wash off more cement than is necessary to expose the aggregates in the concrete that you have just poured.
Conduct a Spot Test
Direct the pressure washer on a small part of the walkway so that you confirm that the washer is only removing cement from the surface of the walkway. Give the surface a few more minutes to set in case you notice that aggregates are being washed away as you test the readiness of the walkway for pressure washing to expose the aggregates.
The suggestions above can help you to overcome some of the challenges that people face as they lay their own exposed aggregate walkway. Consult concrete contractors for help in case you are faced with a challenge that you are unable to overcome during the DIY exposed aggregate walkway installation process.