Which Concrete Finish Is Right For My Patio?

by | Sep 6, 2022

Textured concrete can transform an outdoor space. While the thought of concrete design may not excite you, there’s a whole world of concrete that can impact the look at function of your patio or outdoor room. Some of these different concrete textures are so aesthetically appealing, you won’t even know they’re concrete!

Determining which concrete texture is right for you depends on your project, budget, and personal preference. Today, let’s break down the details of the top concrete finishes and textures.

There are four typical outdoor finishes: broom-finished, exposed aggregate, sand washed, and stamped.

BROOM-FINISHED CONCRETE

Broom-finished concrete is a popular choice for driveways.

Broom-textured concrete is the most basic outdoor concrete finish. It is commonly used for sidewalks and driveways and involves dragging a broom across the surface of the wet concrete to give it a ridged texture. Its popularity lies in the fact that it is a durable and economical finish, as well as one that provides good traction in wet conditions. While gray is the most common color, pigments can be mixed into the concrete to give it different tones to match the design of your outdoor space.

EXPOSED AGGREGATE CONCRETE

To achieve an exposed aggregate finish, the surface of the wet concrete is treated with a chemical that stops the outer layer of cement from curing. That outer layer is then washed off, revealing the aggregate material within the concrete. Exposed aggregate concrete features a bumpy, pebbled texture, which creates excellent traction when wet. The aggregate, however, can have sharp or pointy edges which can dig into bare feet, making it an uncomfortable choice for a backyard patio. It is important to note that exposed aggregate is also prone to damage, as the protective cement that binds the aggregate together has been removed from the surface of the concrete.

SAND WASHED CONCRETE

Sand washed concrete undergoes a similar finishing process as exposed aggregate, but the composition of the concrete mix is changed. For a sand wash finish, the mix has a higher concentration of small sand-sized particles versus the usual pebble-sized particles for exposed aggregate. When the top layer of cement is washed off, the concrete is left with a texture much like the surface of sandpaper. The surface is comfortable to walk on while still offering excellent traction, and the uniform finish is suitable for any style of landscape.

STAMPED CONCRETE

Because of the labor-intensive process for finishing stamped concrete, its final appearance can vary. Stamped concrete has a pigment mixed into the concrete to give it a base color. Additional pigments are then applied to the surface to give it depth and character, and then large rubber stamps are pressed into the wet concrete. The concrete takes on the texture of the stamps, which can be patterned with a variety of shapes that mimic stone or other material. The stamping process can give the concrete a smoother surface that can be slippery when it is wet, however, which can make stamped concrete a poor choice for walkways or pool decks. Smooth surfaces also show wear more easily than a textured finish, which may give the concrete a shorter lifespan aesthetically.


Concrete work is a big investment, but one that if done right, can last a lifetime. If you’re considering a concrete patio or walkways, get in touch with us to see what our expert concrete finishers can do for your landscape.