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What is Terrazzo? A Primer for New Homeowners

What is terrazzo? Terrazzo is a type of flooring that consists of small pieces of marble, granite, or other stone or glass set in concrete or mortar. It can be used as a finished flooring surface or a coating for walls or ceilings.

Terrazzo was first developed in Venice, Italy, in the 1500s. It became popular in the United States in the early 1900s and was used in many public buildings, proving particularly suitable for schools and hospitals. The reason lies in its unique properties: resistance to high traffic, longevity, and customizability.

Terrazzo is a durable material that can last for many years if properly maintained. It is available in various colours and grain sizes, also easily adapted to fit your needs.

Where to Use Terrazzo?

The answer is – virtually any interior floor, wall or surface such as for terrazzo kitchen countertops. Adequately protected, it will perform beautifully in kitchens and bathrooms. It can also be used in balconies and terraces, particularly in warm climate places like Singapore. However, it would still need to be sealed to resist high moisture levels.

Terrazzo can also be poured into different moulds and used creatively as an accent or decoration. Moreover, you can utilize it to form built-in-wall furniture, such as benches.

plants in terrazzo pots

What You Need to Know Before Choosing Terrazzo

If you are thinking of installing terrazzo in your home, be sure to consult a professional and get tailored advice and guidance. Terrazzo can be a beautiful addition that performs well. Still, it is important to understand all of the pros and cons before making a decision. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Terrazzo is heavy. It is best suited for floors that have a good amount of support.
  • Terrazzo retains temperature effectively, so it is an excellent choice to pair with underfloor heating or for keeping the room cool.
  • Terrazzo can be expensive to install, but it pays off in time. It will last for many years.
  • Terrazzo is a high-maintenance material that needs frequent cleaning and polishing.
  • Terrazzo also should be sealed and resealed on a regular basis to protect it from wear and tear.
  • It can fit different architectural and interior design styles.

Types of Terrazzo

There are a few different terrazzo kinds available on the market. Regardless of type, you can opt for multicolour versions, e.g., asking for different types of marble incorporated in the mix.

Marble Terrazzo

This type of terrazzo is made with marble chips and is the most popular type. It is available in a variety of colours, with different chip sizes and shapes.

Granite Terrazzo

This terrazzo is made with granite chips and is a good choice if you want a durable floor. It is also available in a variety of colours and is highly customizable.

Glass Terrazzo

As the name indicates, this terrazzo is enhanced with glass chips and makes a good choice if you want a visually impressive, colourful floor. Its properties are similar to those of marble and granite versions.

Concrete Terrazzo

This type of terrazzo is made with concrete and is the most affordable type. It is available in a variety of colours but cannot be customized.

How to Install Terrazzo

Terrazzo is usually formed on the spot by hand, but it may also be precast into slabs and then trimmed to the desired size. It’s also available in the form of fully finished tiles, simple to put on floors and walls with a method similar to installing any standard ceramic tiles.

It’s good to note that slabs are less prone to cracking and damaging than poured terrazzo. Cracks can be fixed by a professional but need to be re-ground, re-polished, and resealed. For that reason, advanced versions have been developed, including those with resin and traditional cement added in the terrazzo base mixture. While less affordable than standard options, these modern compounds produce a smoother finish, very resilient to damage.

Terrazzo Maintenance: How to Care for Your Floor

Just like any other type of flooring, terrazzo needs to be frequently cleaned and polished in order to keep it looking its best. Maintenance frequency will depend on the amount of traffic the floor receives, as well as its location. For instance, the terrazzo floor in your kitchen might need more cleaning and occasional sealing, while the bathroom floor would require more frequent sealing to remain water-resistant. Here are a few tips for keeping your terrazzo flooring in good condition:

  • Sweep or vacuum the floor regularly to remove surface dirt and dust.
  • Clean the floor with a wet mop and a mild detergent. Be sure to rinse the floor well after cleaning.
  • Polish the floor with a stone sealer every few years to protect it from wear and tear.

If you follow these tips, your terrazzo flooring will look great for many years.

In Conclusion

Terrazzo is a strong and beautiful flooring material that can add a lot of character to your home. Just make sure to find a reputable contractor who will install the terrazzo correctly – that way, it will last for many years. Thank you for reading!

 

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