Acid Wash Exposed Aggregate Concrete: A Complete Guide

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If you’re looking for a way to add a unique touch to your concrete surfaces, acid wash exposed aggregate concrete might be the perfect solution. This technique involves using an acid solution to remove the top layer of cement paste from the surface, revealing the aggregates beneath. The result is a textured and visually interesting surface that can be customized to suit your preferences.

What is Exposed Aggregate Concrete?

Before we dive into the acid wash process, it’s important to understand what exposed aggregate concrete is. This type of concrete is created by removing the top layer of the surface, which exposes the aggregate (stones, gravel, or pebbles) beneath. The exposed aggregate can be left as is or polished to create a smooth surface.

The Benefits of Acid Wash Exposed Aggregate Concrete

There are several benefits to using acid wash to expose the aggregate in your concrete surfaces. For one, it creates a unique and visually interesting surface that can be customized to your liking. Additionally, acid washing can help to remove any stains or discoloration on the surface, making it look brand new again.

The Acid Wash Process

To begin the acid wash process, the surface must be thoroughly cleaned and prepped. This involves removing any dirt, debris, or stains from the surface. Once the surface is clean, an acid solution is applied to the surface. The acid reacts with the cement paste, dissolving it and exposing the aggregate beneath.

Choosing the Right Acid Solution

There are several types of acid solutions that can be used for acid washing exposed aggregate concrete. The most common types are muriatic acid and phosphoric acid. It’s important to choose the right type of acid for your specific surface to ensure that you get the best results.

Applying the Acid Solution

When applying the acid solution, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. The solution should be applied in a uniform manner to ensure that the surface is evenly exposed. Once the acid has been applied, it’s important to rinse the surface thoroughly with water to neutralize the acid and prevent any further reaction.

Finishing the Surface

Once the acid wash process is complete, the surface can be finished in a variety of ways. Some people choose to leave the surface as is, while others opt to polish it to create a smooth surface. Additionally, a sealant can be applied to protect the surface and prevent any future stains or damage.


To keep your acid wash exposed aggregate concrete surface looking its best, it’s important to perform regular maintenance. This includes cleaning the surface regularly and reapplying the sealant as needed. Additionally, avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on the surface, as this can damage the finish.


Acid wash exposed aggregate concrete is a great way to add a unique touch to your concrete surfaces. With the right acid solution and proper application, you can create a visually interesting and durable surface that will last for years to come. Just be sure to perform regular maintenance to keep your surface looking its best.