The Three Basic Types of Terrazzo Flooring
Have you ever found yourself stopping dead on your tracks because the floor you’re walking on is beautifully and intricately designed? I have been known to scramble a few floors up so I can take in a more complete view of a hotel lobby floor. So when I found out about terrazzo, I now want to go searching for malls, hotels and other buildings that use terrazzo. This is because numerous establishments often turn to terrazzo flooring to create one of a kind designs and patterns. These days however, terrazzo is also used for other things besides flooring; walls, countertops, outdoor benches and sometimes even artwork.
Terrazzo is used to describe both the material and the method and is almost often confused with mosaic however it is really quite different from the latter. The difference being the pieces of marble used in the making of mosaic is usually cubic and uniform compared to the more free form marble chips used in terrazzo.
There are three basic types of terrazzo flooring:
- Traditional terrazzo – also called cementitious terrazzo. This type of terrazzo is heavy and requires laying a thick cement subflooring or foundation to start. This type is ideal to use for both indoors and outdoors especially in areas where there is a higher ratio of foot traffic.
- Polyacrylate terrazzo – this type of terrazzo uses a combination of cement and latex which helps in strengthening the mixture allowing a much thinner spread and therefore “cures” quicker than traditional terrazzo. This type of terrazzo flooring is actually preferred for homes which already have existing level floors. It also has more design flexibility compared to traditional terrazzo and can often include post-consumer glass in the mixture.
- Epoxy terrazzo – this is the most versatile, strongest and most commonly used type of terrazzo in the market today. It is practically impervious to scratching, fading, unsightly staining and cracking. It is mostly installed in structures that have multiple levels. However, epoxy terrazzo is not advisable for outdoor installation as it is non-porous and the epoxy does not fare well under prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Each type has its own pros and cons. Despite some limitations however, terrazzo is still the preferred material for airports, malls and hotel lobbies.