Terrazzo is a man made material which combines the sheen and sparkle of marble and quartz with the strength and consistency of cement. It has the major advantage of being able to be poured, so represents a cost effective way of covering a large area of flooring. You may have seen terrazzo used for flooring in public and commercial buildings such as supermarkets since it’s extremely tough, it’ll survive a serious amount of footfall.
What is terrazzo
Terrazzo was developed in Venice as a way to put chips and off cuts of marble, granite, glass and quartz to good use. A sturdy concrete subfloor is essential to support a smooth pour of the terrazzo. Once the terrazzo has been poured, chips of the desired material are put in place, generally chosen based on colour preference. If there are any specific requirements for the type of chips used it’s easy to adjust the composition to suit the installation. The final pour is then smoothed down, polished and sealed. Once in place, terrazzo is extremely hardwearing and water resistant, which is why it has remained popular in public spaces. That’s not to say it’s without its beauty, depending on the chips used it can also look great!
The actual binding that the chips are laid into can vary in composition. The binding determines the right choice of sealant and polish used on the surface, so if in any doubt it’s worth getting a professional to take a look. It’s generally considered a low maintenance surface, most of the wear that occurs is a slow dulling of the surface smoothness and shine. For floors used in heavy traffic public areas a bit of occasional heavy duty buffing and polishing can bring it back to like new. Regular mopping and dusting will extend it’s lifespan, when a terrazzo floor has lost its shine ground in dust is usually the culprit. It is a hard surface but it can scratch, professional polishing usually provides a remedy. Spillages, particularly acidic ones, can cause permanent damage if not cleaned up promptly, but providing proper care is taken terrazzo is one of the tougher floor types.