Surface Deactivator makes exposed aggregate finishes easier and more consistent. It is topically applied to freshly-placed concrete to prevent cement paste hardening and achieve more controlled exposed aggregate finishes. Unlike sugar-based retarders, Surface Deactivator selectively halts the hydration process down to a controlled depth, allowing a more certain level of retardation. Ten predetermined color-coded exposure depths are available to provide consistent, repeatable cement paste removal and aggregate reveal. Surface Deactivator provides a longer window before the surface paste must be removed, allowing underlying concrete to harden properly, locking in aggregate, and reducing pop-outs. Surface Deactivator is water-soluble for easy removal with high pressure water washing and scrubbing equipment. Surface Deactivator creates a polymeric-film that acts as a water retention barrier and temporary curing agent, protecting fresh concrete from light rain and reducing moisture loss. Surface Deactivator can be applied to newly-placed concrete that is specified for diamond polishing. It softens surface cement paste, reducing heavy grinding stages up to 75% and dramatically decreasing polishing time as well as diamond-tooling and labor costs.