Exposed aggregate concrete unit masonry, also described as "burnished" or "honed", uses ground face concrete masonry units that are polished after manufacturing to achieve a smooth finish which reveals the natural aggregate colors. The units have the appearance of polished natural stone. The finished look of the ground surface can be altered by changing aggregate type and proportions. Often, specific aggregates will be used to enhance the appearance of the polished surface, while coatings are sometimes used to deepen the color. Ground face units are often scored to achieve a scale other than the conventional 8 x 16 in.
Sandblasted face units are CMU where sand (or abrasive) blasting is used to expose the aggregate in a concrete masonry unit, resulting in a "weathered" look.