Hardwood Floors vs. Terrazzo Floors – The Pros and Cons

Many an article has been written about the pros and cons of both terrazzo and hardwood floors – but not a lot of side by side comparisons that tackle the important details like cost, durability, upkeep and general aesthetics.

Making the choice between these two flooring systems also depends on other variables – if you’re remodeling, starting from the ground up; the allotted budget, the availability of materials, whether you’re going the DIY route or leaving it to the experts.  To make things hopefully a little easier, here’s a very basic run through of how one flooring system compares to the other.

 

Overall Cost: Materials and Installation

Terrazzo Hardwood Floors
Terrazzo floors cost more compared to most of the flooring systems available these days.  This is due to the following factors:

  • prior to installation, a concrete-based sub floor is required
  • installation is labor-intensive, time-consuming and more often than not, a professional involvement is required

 

Compared to terrazzo floors, hardwood will definitely be the more practical choice.  This is because:

  • installation and materials are less expensive and labor intensive
  • most times, DIY-ing hardwood floors can still give you great results
  • any kind of sub flooring is suitable

 

Durability and Damage-Resistance

Terrazzo Hardwood Floors
Durability is one of the stronger selling points of terrazzo.  Point in fact, most of the earlier terrazzo installations are still in existence today.  This is the reason why terrazzo is the preferred flooring system when it comes to places that have higher foot traffic like airports, shopping centers, hospitals and even campus buildings.  Additionally, terrazzo is waterproof, fireproof, scratch and impact resistant. Between the two flooring systems, hardwood doesn’t even begin to match up against terrazzo.  Hardwood is easily scuffed and scratched by shoes and heavier furniture often leaves grooves or indentations.  Unfortunately, hardwood is not waterproof even when treated with a special sealant which is why it has a tendency to warp and rot.

 

Maintenance and Upkeep

Terrazzo Hardwood Floors
Terrazzo floors do not require periodic cleaning or special cleaning solutions.  Once installed, it takes very minimal upkeep to preserve its newly-installed look. Hardwood floors need to be periodically sanded and stripped.  And to retain its newly-installed look, it needs to be completely refinished.  This type of maintenance is very costly.

 

General Aesthetic and Design Flexibility

Terrazzo Hardwood Floors
Terrazzo is the most flexible type of flooring system as it can be customized to suit the surrounding architecture or existing furniture.  Furthermore, terrazzo lends its surrounding a more regal, more expensive appearance. Hardwood floors are not so flexible in design and often only match certain type of architecture or surrounding.  However, it brings warmth and character to its location, making it appear less utilitarian and severe.

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