Once you have chosen terrazzo tiles and precast elements for your building project it only means you mean business when it comes to beauty, durability and versatility. Correctly so, you have chosen wisely! Any terrazzo building material or precast element can contain all or a combination of marble, granite, glass, quartz, sea shells, metal slivers, wood or any other suitable chip sprinkled and mixed with a binder that can either be cementitious, epoxy or polyacrylate finish. The varieties of natural aggregates make it a flexible building material. Since terrazzo affords a wide selection of beautiful finishes for architects and interior designers these special finishes offer them certain benefits that suit each finish and will certainly meet even the most demanding requirements and standards!
A Sealed Polished Finish is the standard finish recommended for most commercial retail projects and developments. The terrazzo floor is ground on the site and a protective shiny sealer is applied to the surface floor. The sealer is maintained to ensure that the glossy floor always looks like new and like the day it was first handed over. A Machine Polished Finish is when the terrazzo floor material is ground and machine polished on site with a penetrating sealer applied for added durability. Terrazzo is cured and then buffed and polished to a smooth surface or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface. This finish is suitable for low foot traffic areas. A Honed Anti Slip Finish is when the terrazzo floor is ground on the site to a honed/refined finish. If a non-slip finish is the requirement a special non-slip additive is added to the manufacturing process. It is suggested that one should not use dark colours for this type of finish and epoxy grout is recommended as its special sealant.
3 of the common binding materials used for terrazzo making
Cement based mix is the oldest of the three types of terrazzo which is cement bonded. It has the added advantage of both for interior and outdoor applications. It can readily accommodate the largest chip sizes used in the terrazzo market, plus it can conveniently cover up subfloor defects well. It can also be acid-washed for exterior non-slip surfaces.
Polyacrylate is a modified cement system that uses an additional acrylic additive that allows the cement to be poured as thinly as could be, less than ½ inch thick. Its advantages include outdoor applications because breathable glass chips can be used and can be acid-washed just like with cement based binding process. Incidentally this process uses smaller chip sizes.
Epoxy terrazzo is the thinnest of the three systems at 3/8 inch thickness. It can effectively achieve an unlimited range of vibrant colours due to the ability of the epoxy to take in a range of colours. Glass chips can be used. Fast installation is possible due to the epoxy’s fast curing time. Epoxy terrazzo offers greater design flexibility.
Remember the kind of terrazzo finish and mix is important because every terrazzo use in a project is different and one can specify it to one’s own liking every time.