Whether you’re having your terrazzo floors professionally installed or going the DIY route, you still need to know the basics that go into terrazzo installation. This is because each step is as crucial as the next and any mistakes or overlooked details could result in lengthy, difficult repairs.
This step sets the entire balance of the installation process. This process serves to prepare the subflooring to bond strongly with the terrazzo. Improper surface preparation could result in post-installation problems that would definitely be costly to amend. This is done by shot blasting the surface to give it the proper Concrete Surface Profile that will accommodate the particular terrazzo flooring system you will be installing.
This procedure is done to ensure that cracks or fractures do not move upwards into the terrazzo installation. This is achieved by using a flexible epoxy to fill and top cracks that are found after surface preparation.
This procedure is done if you’re planning on customizing your terrazzo installation with logos, artwork or any other kind of design. This ensures that your artwork is carefully laid out thereby avoiding costly mistakes.
This is done to achieve a strong bond between the substrate and the terrazzo installation.
This process is done once the floor has cured over 24 hours. This is done to ensure that a brilliant and uniform surface is achieved. Once this has been done, grouting can be done to further ensure that a non-porous and even terrazzo installation is achieved.
Polishing and Sealing
This step is done especially as there are a few different finishes available for terrazzo installation such as the standard Sealed Polished Finish, the Machine Polished Finish for low traffic areas and the Honed Anti-Slip Finish.
Terrazzo installation, when done properly will ensure that your floors come out flawlessly and can endure as long as you want it to. With proper maintenance and upkeep, your terrazzo installation will definitely be worth the cost of choosing it over all the other flooring systems.
What you need to remember to keep your terrazzo’s original luster longer.
It is an indelible fact that terrazzo is durable and long lasting. To this day, many ancient terrazzo floors still exist. If you want your terrazzo floors to last as long then read through. Listed below are some of the more important things you need to remember when cleaning terrazzo:
- Sweep or vacuum away dirt, soil and grime as often as possible. Remember that dirt particles are abrasive and damaging to terrazzo floors.
- Avoid using cleaning liquids that contain neither alkaline nor acid. Neutral liquid cleaners work best for terrazzo. Ensure that you follow manufacturer’s instructions when you purchase a neutral cleaner, especially when it comes to ratio of water to cleaner.
- Never use oil-based cleaners as they can cause permanent discoloration.
- Use the solution to mop the floor and let it stay for a few minutes. Ensure that you frequently change the rinse water to remove left over dirt. Keep the floor wet during this entire process to prevent dissolved soil from drying back onto the floor. Buff the floor once it dries to help restore the natural sheen of your terrazzo.
- Sweep your floors daily so weekly cleaning is easier and you’re sure that there will be less abrasive particles to scratch your terrazzo floors.
- Wipe up stains quickly to avoid it from seeping deeper into your floor.
When cleaning up stains, ensure that you are using the recommended cleaner for that particular stain. Different stains require different cleaners and cleaning methods.
As the name suggests, in situ (the literal translation of which is “on site”) terrazzo is poured on site and is the more ideal flooring system for establishments such as hotels, office lobbies, retail spaces, clubs and even high end residential dwellings.
In situ terrazzo is divided into panels which measures no more than 1500mm square per panel; with an ideal bay size of 1200mm x 1200mm. It is also possible to do rectangular bays however one side should not be more than twice the length of the other side. These terrazzo panels will help in controlling movement or any ensuing cracking that could possibly occur.
In situ terrazzo requires on site grinding and polishing and is available in several finishes:
Standard sealed finish – Recommended for high traffic applications for which sealer polish is applied to the surface to protect from staining and abrasion. This finish is also honed on site.
- Polished with impregnating sealer – this finish is recommended for residential establishments, shops and office foyer applications and is polished on site to the same degree as factory-finished marble which leaves a high shine floor.
- Honed with impregnating sealer – this finish leaves no gloss on the floor and is not recommended for high traffic areas as it may track. Also ideal for residential, shops and office foyer applications.
- Antiquing or Brushed Finished with impregnating sealer – this finish is polished on site as per honed finished. The floor is then passed with brushes to give it an antiqued appearance. This finish is also ideal for residential, shops and office foyer applications and can still have a sealer finish applied if so desired.
In situ terrazzo is the preferred flooring system by designers, builders and architects who are looking to integrate different colours and designs into a floor.
Terrazzo Australian Marble recently acquired new technology in the form of a screed pump that allows screed to be pumped to up to 200m away. The new pump is perfect to utilize for sites with accessibility issues, saving on substantial resources like time and money.
As of publishing time, Terrazzo Australian Marble is working on 5 levels of in situ terrazzo at Bondi Beach so the addition of the screed pump is facilitating a much faster, more efficient and flawless installation.
A Checklist of Things to Do Before the Restoration
Terrazzo restoration is an intensive, meticulous job especially if you want it done right. To make sure that everything goes smoothly and without hitches, there are steps that need to be taken before a restoration project is started.
- First and foremost, clear the area with the terrazzo floor surface completely. Nothing is to be left behind because once the restoration has started, it is imperative that the only traffic in the area is from the restoration techs.
- If the area surrounding the restoration process has cabinets, closets or shelves, make sure to remove and transfer all items to an area where the dust won’t be able to reach.
- Move furniture to a different area until after restoration has been completed. This includes curtains, curtain rods and sometimes even low hanging light fixtures depending on the scope of restoration being done.
- Areas not being restored should be protected/covered with plastic to prevent the dust from covering everything outside of the restoration area.
- If the area being renovated is indoors, make sure that your home security is configured properly as interior doors may have to be removed. Some security companies will walk you through how to set your home alarm system to Test Mode.
- If your home has a smoke alarm near the area being restored, ensure that it is also powered down as even a little dust can set it off.
- Check your breaker box for any bare wires. Tape them off. Leave your breaker box unlocked to make it easier for the techs to access should breakers pop during restoration.
Terrazzo has been in existence from the time it was first created by Venetian workers in the early 1900s to make use of all the excess marble that the wealthier folk discarded and ever since then, it has become a classic and durable addition to countless infrastructures everywhere. This is a testament to terrazzo’s durability and design timelessness. Most recently however, builders and designers have seen that terrazzo can be used for more than just flooring.
If you are a homeowner looking to renovate your kitchen from top to bottom, you might want to consider using terrazzo not just for the floors but also for your countertops. Why, you ask. Terrazzo, because of its makeup and durability is especially ideal for kitchen countertops for the following reasons:
- Countertops made from terrazzo do not conduct heat. This means that if you set down a hot kettle directly on a terrazzo countertop, the heat will dissipate quickly without getting scorched or marked.
- As its floor counterpart, terrazzo countertops when stained or scratched are easily cleaned and buffed back to its original form. This attests to terrazzo’s long sustainability and resilience – attributes you want to see in your chosen building materials.
- Design flexibility – because terrazzo is made up of different materials, there is a uniqueness to each piece created. Not only that, terrazzo is also highly customizable and you are only hindered by your creativity.
1. Why should I choose terrazzo over other types of flooring?
Terrazzo outperforms every other type of flooring that’s out in the market today. Design-wise, terrazzo is highly customizable and has almost limitless possibilities, each one as unique as thumbprints. Durability-wise, nothing even comes close to how long lasting and durable terrazzo is. Additionally, when you factor in these things, terrazzo will come out the more cost-effective choice of flooring system.
2. Can terrazzo be used for other things apart from floors?
Yes, terrazzo can be used for more than just flooring. It can be used for counter tops, pavers, steps and risers, wall panels, coving, columns and more.
3. Does terrazzo chip, fall apart, crumble or erode?
Unless hit by a very heavy and hard object, terrazzo does not fall off or crumble because terrazzo edges are beveled to prevent this type of damage.
4. Can terrazzo be used for both indoor and outdoor installation?
Definitely – terrazzo can be used both indoors and outdoors. In fact, terrazzo flooring system is frequently used for external pathways in parks, gardens etc. Not only that, terrazzo can be made non-slip so safety is always assured.
5. What’s going to happen if I spill ink or red wine or coffee on my floor or countertop?
Terrazzo is extremely easy to clean. Most of the time, you would only need warm soapy water to get rid of spill stains. Terrazzo is non-porous so ink, wine and other liquids that stain most surfaces don’t really get absorbed so clean up is quite easy.
6. Is terrazzo considered environment-friendly?
Because most of the materials used in terrazzo are recycled or post-consumer and because of its durability and sustainability, terrazzo floors are considered environment friendly. Point in fact; most terrazzo floors built hundreds of years ago are still intact and functional. Additionally, because terrazzo has no need for grout, it does not accumulate water which can grow stagnant and become breeding grounds for bacteria.