Terrazzo Flooring Advantages and Disadvantages | Terrazzo Cost & Flooring Installation Process
Terrazzo Flooring Advantages and Disadvantages |Types of Terrazzo Floors | Terrazzo Floor Cost/Pricing | Benefits of Terrazzo Floors
What is Terrazzo Flooring?
Terrazzo is primarily a ground surface material manufactured by exposing marble chips in a bed of concrete and then grinding and washing them until smooth.
Terrazzo flooring is a polished ground flooring option that comes in many textures, colors, and patterns. It is a popular choice for exterior and interior flooring because it is durable and easy to maintain.
Terrazzo is actually the material of choice for many types of floors in homes. This type of flooring is created from aggregates such as marble, granite, limestone or glass that is mixed with cement, sand, and water.
Once it has aged, it is polished to a high shine. It is actually very easy to care for and can last for a very long time.
Terrazzo flooring is an innovative way of making sure your floors are durable and you get to live in a beautifully constructed home. It is made up of a mixture of cement, marble chips and ground glass.
It’s a material that has been around since the Ancient Greeks, but it has seen a resurgence of popularity in the last few years.
Terrazzo itself is a material which is stone based and is beautifully constructed to make the perfect flooring solution for any house or building.
It can be used for a variety of purposes as it is customizable in design and there are many different ways it can be used.
It is durability is what makes it a good material as it generally lasts longer than many other types of floors.
Steps In Terrazzo Flooring Installation Process
It takes a number of steps to create terrazzo flooring for your home or commercial building. The first step in terrazzo flooring process is to find a specialist who can provide the concrete slab. The following steps follow;
During this stage, installers will observe signs of possible defects already existing within the floor’s surface. Installers will check to see if there are any cracks visible in the substrate floor, test for excessive moisture present, and check the leveling of the surface.
If cracks are present, an installer can use a flexible membrane to cover up any cracks to make sure no issues arise during and after the finished terrazzo installation.
In case moisture levels are high, an installer can use a moisture mitigation system, which applies a thin layer on top of the substrate floor that prevents moisture from diffusing through the terrazzo floor once installed.
If floors are uneven, an installer can apply a fill epoxy, which will level out the floor evenly for a nice smooth terrazzo finish.
Design Layout & Terrazzo Mix
This step process starts with hand-mixed marble and stone chips, which are then ground and mixed with a cement binder.
The next step prior to pouring terrazzo is the design layout. Terrazzo is an art form that uses divider strips that serve to control expansion joints and separate multiple epoxy resin colors. Dividers strips can be coordinated to create complex design patterns or even the most amusing floor designs.
Terrazzo is a combination of marble, glass or other decorative aggregates joined with either a cementitious or epoxy binder.
Using the specified materials, an installer will mix the aggregates, epoxy resin, and epoxy hardener together to form a new terrazzo mix.
Installers will carefully pour terrazzo onto the surface, using a hand or power trowel to spread the mixture evenly.
If areas call for multiple colors, the installers will create new batches, filling in the terrazzo mix according to the design layout specified. Allow for the terrazzo to cure before proceeding to the next step
Once the terrazzo is cured, installers can now grind the terrazzo using a floor grinding utilizing diamond-plated grinding pads rotating at fast speeds.
Grinding the terrazzo will transform the floor from a rough to smooth texture. Once completed, the entire floor should look even, smooth, and radiant than before.
As follows, an installer will grout the terrazzo to cover any pinholes present in the surface.
Polish and Sealing Terrazzo
Next, an installer polishes the terrazzo giving the surface a nice shine. To follow up, an installer will use a water-based solvent to seal the terrazzo floor, which gives the floor more radiance and extra protection.
Terrazzo installation is a relatively easy process. It can be carried out by any competent and experienced flooring professional. However, many people prefer to do it themselves as not only does it save money, but the process itself is not complicated or difficult to carry out.
Terrazzo is installed by a variety of different methods. Terrazzo can be installed in a slab on grade or can be installed on a concrete foundation.
1. Installation on grade
When installing terrazzo on grade, you will need to install it onto a prepared subfloor similar to conventional drywall installation.
2. Terrazzo on a concrete foundation
When installing terrazzo on a concrete foundation, you will need to install it on top of the concrete substrate itself. It is best to install a wide subfloor in order to provide the proper support for the terrazzo.
3. Installation onto partially paved ground
When installing terrazzo onto partially paved ground, you will need to pour a small amount of the mixture in order to create a path for water drainage.
4. Installation onto partially paved ground with wheelchair access
When installing terrazzo onto partially paved ground, you will need to use a special equipment in order to create the path for wheelchair access.
Benefits of Terrazzo Floors
- Terrazzo floors give your home or office a luxurious and modern look without having to break the bank. They are also very easy to maintain and can be cleaned quickly using water-based cleaning agents.
- They are very fast to install, which means that you can have a new floor in no time at all.
- They offer excellent thermal insulation so that your home or office can remain cool in the summer months and warm in the winter months.
- Large areas of terrazzo floors also have great acoustic properties, which means that they never heat up, even when not being used, as opposed to traditional flooring materials such as tiles and parquet floorings.
- Terrazzo floors are a popular choice for many different business owners because they have a unique and professional look, and they also last much longer than cheaper flooring solutions such as laminate.
- They are also extremely durable so that you will not have to worry about any damage or deterioration for years to come.
Although terrazzo floors are very attractive and eye-catching, it is important to remember that they do not make your floor completely waterproof.
Types of Terrazzo Floors
There are different types of Terrazzo Flooring based on the variety in the material used or on the type of bonding used for them. Some of them are:
1. Epoxy Terrazzo
Epoxy resin terrazzo can be used over concrete as well as wooden bases, suggesting a wide array of application. They are low maintenance, beautifully coloured and cost-effective.
However, it is unable to withstand harsh weather conditions and hence needs to be restricted to indoor use.
2. Cement Terrazzo
Cement based terrazzo is used for interior floors. They are affordable and come in attractive designs. However, they do not possess the durability and strength of other types of terrazzo.
3. Glass Terrazzo
Glass based terrazzo possess properties similar to cement but with added durability and strength properties.
Glass based terrace flooring is made up of sand, cement, crushed glass and other aggregates that gives it a very striking appearance with its colour variations.
4. Rustic Terrazzo
Rustic terrace flooring is also known as natural terrazzo, is made up of concrete that has been mixed with other natural aggregates such as sand, crushed and recycled glass and granite.
5. Polished Terrazzo
Polished terrazzo floors come in two varieties- the epoxy and dry polished terrazzo. The dry polished surface of polished is created by the use of a special treatment.
These floors can be poured onsite which makes them cheaper than many other flooring varieties.
6. Terrazzo Composite Floors
These are the most durable of all the terrazzo varieties as they are made up of PVC and Polystyrene.
They are flexible, light in weight and waterproof which make them very attractive for use in homes as well as commercial properties.
7. Polyacrylate Terrazzo
These are very hard wearing and durable floors that come in a wide variety of colours. They can be used for both interior and exterior use and are strong enough to withstand the rigours of outdoor use.
8. Marble Terrazzo
Marble based terrazzo comes in a wide range of attractive colors and designs with an overlay of polished marble on the surface for a rich look.
The downside to these types of flooring is that they have high maintenance requirements as they do not last as long as other types.
9. Monolithic Terrazzo
This terrazzo variety offers an excellent combination of strength and low maintenance. It is a variety that is most suitable for the commercial sector as it is both durable and waterproof. It can be laid onto hard surfaces such as concrete or tarmac.
Terrazzo Flooring Advantages and Disadvantages
Terrazzo Flooring Advantages
1. Terrazzo Is a Proven and Durable Flooring Choice
Terrazzo is generally made up of a mixture of limestone, glass and cement. It is made in a process that involves grinding glass and marble to create the right mixture for the surface.
It is actually extremely durable and this means it is often used in offices, industrial buildings as well as many homes.
2. Terrazzo Comes in Many Different Colours, Shapes and Textures
There are many different designs available on terrazzo floors which means that you can choose one that suits your house perfectly.
3. Terrazzo Floors Can Be Laid Over Any Ground and Are Easily Cleanable.
This is because it is made up of blended aggregates and sand which means that it is incredibly easy to clean and remove dust, dirt and other debris.
4. Terrazzo Floors Are Beautiful, Highly Polished and Aesthetically Pleasing.
The finished surface looks like marble or stone but has a dry look to it which makes it perfect for almost any type of house interior design project or exterior use.
5. Terrazzo Floors Are Extremely Durable and Very Easy to Maintain
Terrazzo floors are made up of a mixture of cement, glass and sand which makes them reliable and they can easily be maintained to ensure that they last a long time.
6. Terrazzo Is Affordable
There are many different designs and styles on terrazzo floors which means that it is affordable as there are all different levels of quality.
7. Many Terrazzo Floors Are Inexpensive to Create
The majority of terrazzo floors are made on site and are therefore much easier to install than traditional flooring.
8. Terrazzo Floors Are Slip-Resistant
They are able to maintain a smooth, dry look which makes them great for high-traffic areas and areas that may get a lot of use.
9. Terrazzo Is Hardy and Reliable
As it is made up of cement, glass, and sand it means that this type of flooring is incredibly hard-wearing and can stand up to almost anything.
It has been made from aggregates since the Ancient Greeks and has managed to retain the same qualities over thousands of years.
10. Terrazzo Tiles Have High Resistance to Fading
This type of flooring is able to stand up to the weather and withstand the elements and this makes it a good choice for many different areas.
11. Terrazzo Tiles Are Easy to Work with And Finish Beautifully
Terrazzo floors can be created quickly and easily as they can be cut, laid or poured onsite which makes them an ideal choice for many different types of house projects.
12. Terrazzo Floors Are Aesthetically Pleasing and Will Look Great in Your Home or Workplace.
Terrazzo has been used in many buildings and houses because it is attractive, highly durable and looks beautiful. This means that it is a great choice for any type of buildings.
Terrazzo Flooring Disadvantages
1. Terrazzo Flooring Is Not DIY
Although terrazzo flooring is easy to install, it does require expert installation.
- You need to prevent the surface from tarnishing as it could ruin the look of the floors.
Terrazzo floors come in a variety of designs that include textures and patterns and polishing them like marble is important because if it is not maintained properly you can end up with an ugly looking floor that has a dull and faded appearance.
3. Terrazzo Flooring Is Expensive
Since it is a professional installation floor, terrazzo flooring is expensive if it is not installed professionally.
4. Terrazzo Floors Are Difficult to Maintain
Although they are highly durable and long-lasting, terrazzo floors can be easily damaged if they are not maintained properly.
This means that you will need to make sure that you have the right equipment to maintain your floors and keep them looking great for years to come.
5. Terrazzo Is Slippery When Wet
Terrazzo is usually made up of a mixture of sand, glass and cement and this means that it is very easy to slip on. You can make sure that your floors stay as hard as granite but if you have a wet area on your terrazzo floor then you will find that it will be slippery when wet.
6. Terrazzo Floors Are Not Suitable for All Areas
Because terrazzo floors are made up of aggregates, therefore they are not suitable for areas that are highly damp or humid.
7. Cold and Hard
Terrazzo floors are generally made up of a mixture of sand, glass, and cement which means that they are not suitable for use in cold climates as it will make the floor too hard to walk on.
If you don’t have underfloor heating, you may find that terrazzo flooring to be quite cold to stroll on in winter.
Do’s & Don’ts for Maintenance of Terrazzo Flooring
Here are some helpful tips on how to maintain a terrazzo floor:
- DO ask the installing terrazzo contractor to recommend the proper neutral clean and sealers to be used on your floor.
- DO dust mop your floors daily, this not only picks up the dust, but also the grit tracked into your building. The grit acts as an abrasive on your hard surface floor.
- DO scrub your floors approximately once or twice a week, where a new terrazzo floor has been installed for the initial two to three months, as the construction dust is still in the air, and will eventually be deposited on your floor. After this period, once per week, depending on the amount of foot traffic, keep your floor clean in appearance. Always rinse your floors well to prevent a build-up of cleaner residue.
- DO seal your floors with a water-based sealer in accordance to the manufacturer’s instructions. Normally, a new floor requires two or more coats, which provide a good sheen for a period of 45 to 60 days, before needing additional coats.
- DO use maintenance products designed specifically for terrazzo.
- DO allows your neutral cleaner, once applied to the terrazzo surface, time to react as designed to loosen foreign matter. Several minutes should be adequate, but DO NOT allow the solution to dry on the surface.
- DO NOT use surface waxes or all-purpose cleaners
- DO NOT use all-purpose cleaners containing water soluble inorganic or crystallizing salts, harmful alkali, or acids.
Terrazzo Floor Cost/Pricing
Terrazzo flooring material costs will vary greatly depending on the type of aggregate you desire – simple stone aggregates are rather inexpensive, but adding large quartz or marble pieces would be quite pricey.
Aside from the materials, you will undoubtedly need a competent installation team, and you may need to have pre-installation prep work done to the subfloor to achieve the greatest results.
In situ poured terrazzo floor installation will cost between $20 and $120 per square foot. Terrazzo tile prices range from $12 to $27 per square foot, making it a potentially less expensive option.
Is Terrazzo More Expensive Than Tile?
Ceramic tile has a lower initial cost than terrazzo flooring. The selection of tiles can go as low as $2.00 per square foot. Yet while a terrazzo flooring system has a higher initial cost, it is worth the investment over time.
Terrazzo floors are, indeed, pricey. It is, in fact, one of the most expensive flooring solutions available to today’s homeowner. In situ terrazzo flooring costs $5 to $20 per square foot for labor alone, with actual material costs ranging from $20 to $70 per square foot.