A restoration company came out to repair our aggregate courtyard that they damaged while working on our home at their cost (which they should). We also had them extend the courtyard up to the front door because the original home had a different pea gravel finish from the courtyard and didn’t look right. The portion of the porch we had agreed to pay extra for them to do but haven't paid them yet and I question whether this whole project was done right.

Existing entrance to courtyard and newly poured oneNewly Pour CourtyardCloseup of Newly Poured Aggregate Courtyard

The existing courtyard was ~20 years old so I don’t have the expectation that they could make it exactly match but this doesn’t even look close. Ideally I thought there would be more stones showing. When I asked one of the workers he said it was because they didn’t put on the retardier right away and that they had waiting 2 hours to spray it. He said the new stuff they used no one read the directions or used before and realized it needed to be added right after the courtyard was poured. They did cover the concrete with plastic after they were done and the temperature here in NM was in the 90s during the day. I watched what they were doing off and on and it seemed like stuff I had read on how to do aggregate. They poured it, treated it with retarder, covered it with plastic and then the next day basically they tried to pressure washer the cream to see stones and it didn’t really come off. Nothing really came off. So then they were forced to use grinders, water and brooms for the next 4 days to even make some of the stones show. I am including some pictures. The one with two different types of aggregate is the existing and the new.

Since I don’t have any comparison of what a new one looked like or if anything these guys are telling me is accurate or true, I wanted to see what people think and if some unbiased experts can weigh in. Thank you.

  • Some pictures would sure help us answer this? – JACK Aug 25 '19 at 15:02
  • I was having an issue adding them. They are there now. – Scott Strong Aug 25 '19 at 15:16

I think they totally messed it up if the plan was to match that first picture. I've watch contractors install Chattahoochee patios, which are similar and they have to add the stone right after pouring and smoothing the slab. They might be able to do an acid wash to remove some of the concrete and give you what you paid for.

  • I thought the plan was to match it to be some what be close. Is this an improvement or should I be complaining? We only planned to pay for the porch portion ($300) but the entire courtyard was on their dime. With all of the hassles we've had with multiple people fixing the house (too long and detailed for this thread and a totally different topic) I don't even know if I want to deal with them trying to fix it even more. Would an acid wash even fix it or would it make it worse - they were out with grinders like I said for 4 days solid trying to knock some of the stuff off to show stone. – Scott Strong Aug 25 '19 at 17:20
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    The bottom line is are you happy with it? If it's on their dime, you got a nice patio. As far as the acid wash, you'd have to try that in a small spot and see what you get. – JACK Aug 25 '19 at 17:37

I agree that it's not a match, old vs new. And wether they did it right is a hard call unless you have pictures to provide their process. I've seen poured concrete with for walkways which are as shallows as 2" thick. I wouldn't accept anything shallower.

One thing to consider, if you like the exposed aggregate look is epoxy stone. It looks really good over damaged concrete or used as new installations over new concrete as well... Here's some that I did at my place..

I learned how to do it myself and also combined in with cultured stone when doing steps..


  • That looks really nice. As for doing the work and pictures, the courtyard is between 5-6" thick. I have pictures of when they were busting it up but that'a about it. – Scott Strong Aug 25 '19 at 17:17
  • I can give you a link for the "recipe " on how to do this.. Better yet I can send you the video that shows you, step by step on how to do it... You can do this 💪💪💪👍! It is not that hard ! – Retired Electrician Aug 25 '19 at 17:26
  • The steps look like an epoxy overlay to me. That can be done DIY but is beyond many home owners ability’s. – Ed Beal Aug 25 '19 at 18:33
  • Just like me... An electrician by trade, but never e-v-e-r had any experience with it. And what you see here was my very first attempt 🙂 I learned it by reading and seeing one video. I'm a homeowner – Retired Electrician Aug 25 '19 at 18:39

The walkways are exposed aggregate and the courtyard is not right. I have done many exposed jobs over the years and a retarder is not needed but you don’t wait until the next day either. Most jobs I use additional rock sprinkled on top and worked in yours appears to have salt & pepper (black and white rocks) and the new pour was just plain concrete. You can expose regular concrete but it doesn’t look as nice. I have used all kinds of different colors including glow stones and never had a job that looked half finished as this looks to me.

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