Have you ever wanted to add a little Italian touch to your home, but weren’t sure how to do it in a subtle, sophisticated and super stylish way? I come with good news: terrazzo floors may just be what your home needs.
Praised for its versatility and durability, terrazzo has a long and rich history. Most popular, it is used as a floor everywhere from museums to corporate buildings and from bedrooms to bathrooms.
But what is terrazzo flooring and where does it come from? What are the pros and cons and what you can and shouldn’t do? How much will it cost and what styles can it be used? How easy is it to install and maintain?
For answers to all these questions and more, keep reading as today’s article will tell you what you need to know about this type of flooring.
Are you ready to be blown away?
Advantages Of Terrazzo Floors
- Adding aesthetic appeal and interest to the interior of your home
- Has an average lifespan of 75 years
- Environmentally friendly because many manufacturers use recycled materials
- Easy to clean – just sweep and mop; You will enjoy it for years
- Available in various colors and designs
- Can be used in any area of the home, no matter how much traffic the area sees
- Very durable
- Retains heat well, so it can be used in conjunction with radiant underfloor heating
- Resistant to mold, water, stains and other microbes
- Can be used in outdoor environments
- Disadvantages of Terrazzo Floors
They are more expensive than other flooring options. The average terrazzo floor costs between $ 15 and $ 30 per square foot.
With radiant heating under the floor, tiles can feel cold and hard during the winter months.
If not installed properly, terrazzo floor tiles crack easily. These cracks can be very difficult to deal with, as you will further note down in my FAQ section, and as such, a professional installation is recommended.
Now that you’ve seen for yourself how amazing terrazzo floors can be, you probably can’t wait to get some for your own home, right? But before you continue, you need to know that installing terrazzo floors is not easy. Unfortunately, this is not a DIY friendly flooring solution and requires professional installation instead.
It’s also worth noting that terrazzo floors that are recently installed or polished tend to be quite slippery. If you have young children at home or if you plan on installing terrazzo flooring in a high-traffic area, you may want to consider throwing in a rug or runner until the slipperiness subsides. You should also avoid using all-purpose sealers or general surface waxes to make sure your floors don’t slip too long after polishing.
Apart from the above, there are no real precautions you need to take when installing terrazzo floor tiles or pouring them on the spot. (I’ll explain this term below.) It can weigh up to 50% less than other materials, so it’s an ideal choice for multi-storey buildings. You can use it in any room in your house or even outdoors such as patios, walkways and swimming pools.
What Are Terrazzo Floors?
While you may recently come across a dream-like interior that ends with a terrazzo floor, the interior has been around for a long time and its popularity is ebbing and flowing. With roots that go back as far as ancient Egyptian mosaics, the terrazzo flooring we all know and love today dates back to 18th century Venice.
Although it was first introduced to the population of the United States in the late 1890s, it only became popular within the following 30 years thanks to the invention of the electric grinding machine and the barrier strip. Have you ever heard of the little thing called the Hollywood Walk of Fame? There is a terrazzo in action.
Terrazzo is a composite made from a combination of cement and polymer binder, which is mixed with granite, marble, quartz, glass, or other materials.
The best part about this material? More often than not, they are leftovers from other projects, which makes them a very sustainable and eco-friendly flooring option. In addition, because of its natural composition, volatile organic compounds are not found in it, so there is no need to worry about the emission of hazardous substances.
As a flooring material, terrazzo is experiencing a resurgence in popularity because it is so versatile. In addition to the aforementioned ingredients, aggregates such as abalone clam chips, mother of pearl, and various metals can be added to create a visually appealing floor. Because of this, you can choose from all kinds of styles and even create your own unique design.
Today, terrazzo can be installed on the spot, where it is poured like concrete or as a tile. The most common types of terrazzo flooring include terrazzo tiles, monolithic terrazzo, sand-padded terrazzo and thin terrazzo.
Terrazzo tiles are similar to regular porcelain or ceramic tiles in that they are installed through a grout and adhesive system. This is a cost-effective option for those who want a terrazzo look but don’t want an accompanying price tag.
Monolithic terrazzo made from cement and poured directly onto the existing concrete sub-floor. Sand-padded terrazzo is a cement-based method that is similar to the traditional method of laying terrazzo floors and consists of layering sand on a cement base.
Terrazzo Thinset is perhaps the most versatile of the bunch as it can be installed over concrete floors and plywood subfloors. This is an inch-sized layer of epoxy resin terrazzo poured over the existing surface.
11 Terrazzo Floor Ideas
Want to make a splash with a bold, bright floor? Or looking for a flooring style to complement your Scandinavian or minimalist interior?
After all, terrazzo floors can be used in almost any room to complement any interior design style. Want to know how this flooring looks after all is said and done? Here are 11 terrazzo floor ideas to inspire you and help get the creative interior decor juices flowing.
- Morrocan Magic Bathroom
We Are Scout – Here you can see how terrazzo floors can completely transform a space. In this Morrocan-inspired bathroom, soft red, gold, and terracotta terracotta covers the floor and back wall, and it creeps over the walls like a fringe. Like I said, this is one versatile ingredient.
- Black, White, And Beautiful
Luxurious Decoration – This image perfectly illustrates how unique and attractive a terrazzo floor can be without being over the top. I’m a big fan of simple yet striking, scattered patterns and this classic black and white color scheme. This particular terrazzo floor idea is my favorite.
- Floor for the brave and brave
MIRIS Windows and Doors – One for the bold and the brave, here terrazzo floors are used to complement most of the colors, shapes and textures found in this kitchen. While functioning as a self-focus feature, it doesn’t detract from the rest of the interior nor does it make the room appear “too busy”.
- Great Terrazzo Stairs
As you can see in this photo, the clever use of terrazzo has turned this staircase into a centerpiece and added a much-needed visual appeal to what would otherwise be a bland space.
- Gorgeous In Gray
Tegels en Laminaat – In this lounge area, terrazzo is used on the floor and the fireplace feature wall to create a stunning space that is modern, minimalist, and a bit industrial, all in one.
- Fun and fresh
Dyke and Dean – Be inspired by the use of terrazzo in this contemporary cafe space. Visual interest has been achieved thanks to the use of this material; however, shades of pink, blue, orange, and black make this floor a delight. I think it would look amazing in a kid’s room or playroom.
- Nod For Traditional Terrazzo
Moderate – Here, terrazzo is paired with simple furnishings and bold rugs for a look that feels very traditional. The visible tile grout adds a linear aspect and a sense of structure to this space. If you are interested in a more traditional terrazzo floor, you should consider this idea.
- Beach Design With Edges
Architects Journal – Don’t be fooled into thinking that terrazzo can only be used in homes with contemporary, modern, industrial, or Scandinavian design aesthetics. Because that couldn’t possibly be more of the truth. In this photo, terrazzo is made using flint and other local materials. The end result is simply stunning and manages to turn this beach-inspired home into something a little fancier.
- Breathe Fresh Air
Hanse – Again, we saw how easily terrazzo can change the overall look, feel and design scheme of a space. In this lounge area, the mottled style and bright colors seen on the terrazzo bring this room to life. And is it just me or does it feel a little flirty?
- Divide And Conquer In The Bedroom
Home Edit – This is why dividing strips are so popular – because they allow terrazzo to be like this. The dividing line on the gray and white terrazzo floor as seen in this bedroom creates a stunning design. I also really like the use of gold on the dividing strip, which gives the room a soft touch of luxury.
- Bring it back to basics
Deavita – Here, you can see once again how striking a black and white terrazzo floor is. It is used in this lounge area to add dimension, texture and a little fun to a practical space.
Are Terrazzo Floors Expensive?
Yes, terrazzo floors are expensive. In fact, it is one of the most expensive flooring options available to the modern home owner. In situ terrazzo flooring costs between $ 5 to $ 20 per square foot for labor alone with actual material costs between $ 25 to $ 70 per square foot.
Terrazzo floor tiles, on the other hand, cost anywhere from $ 15 to $ 70 per square foot and less than $ 10 per square foot for labor, bringing the average installation cost to $ 25 to $ 80 per square foot.
The price of terrazzo floor tiles depends on the following factors:
- Manufacturers: Some manufacturers charge more than others and are known for producing high-quality terrazzo made from high-quality materials.
- Size of the overall surface area of the installation area: The larger the area that requires installation, the lower the overall installation cost per square foot.
- Condition of the subfloor and how much preparation is required: If your subfloor is in good condition and doesn’t require much preparation, it will cost a lot less than a subfloor which requires extensive prep work.
- The complexity of your design: The more complex and intricate your design is, the more expensive the overall cost will be. Simple designs or those made naturally will cost much less.
- Materials used: The materials used in terrazzo have an impact on the overall cost of the work. It’s simple: if the raw material is expensive, so will terrazzo.
- Labor required: Most of the costs to install terrazzo floors come from the installation itself. You only want someone who is qualified and experienced to complete your installation, which is why this fee is not something to bargain for or complain about.
If you are working on a tight budget, terrazzo flooring will not be the ideal choice for your needs. Instead, I recommend choosing a more affordable flooring option like luxury vinyl plank (LVP) or ceramic tile.
Can You Still Get Terrazzo Floors?
Yes, you can still get terrazzo floors. However, since they are not as popular as they used to be due to the cumbersome and high cost of installing them, you may have a hard time getting tiles at the Big Box hardware store or local flooring company.
Fortunately, since 1931, there has been a great association called the National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association (NTMA), and they have a fantastic map of suppliers. For terrazzo floor tiles, you can find them in stores or online through sites like TrendTerrazzo.com, Terrazzco.com, Nurazzo.com, Lowes, and through various retailers on Amazon.com.
How Thick is the Terrazzo Floor?
Although they vary slightly according to the manufacturer, the materials used, as well as the technique and installation process, the typical thickness of terrazzo floor toppings is between ½ to. Inch.
Thin terrazzo floors are generally between ¼ and ⅜ inch thick while monolithic terrazzo, sand padded terrazzo, and bonded terrazzo floors are ½ inch thick.
Keep in mind that these are not the only measurements that need attention. The mortar layer is usually about 1 ½ inches thick and often rests on an inch-sized layer of tarpaulin or sandpaper.
How Long Does Terrazzo Last?
If you are looking for a durable flooring option, look no further than terrazzo. Terrazzo floors can last anywhere from 75 to 100 years – sometimes even over 100 years with proper care.
Given that this floor can realistically outlast the structure in which it is placed, it’s no surprise that materials and installation are almost always covered by a lifetime warranty.
Why Is Terrazzo A Good Material For Flooring?
Terrazzo is a great, if not great, material for flooring for many reasons. I will only highlight my three main personal reasons. First, its incredible endurance level is difficult to seed and you can expect it to last.
Second, once sealed, terrazzo is resistant to water, stains, and even mold and other microbes, so you don’t have to worry about the inconvenience anymore. Third, this material is very versatile and highly customizable with many manufacturers creating bespoke designs and even 100% original designs to order.
How Do You Keep Your Terrazzo Floor Glossy?
A big factor contributing to the revival of popularity of terrazzo floors is the overall sheen that comes along with these floors. And keeping terrazzo floors sparkling is actually quite easy if you know what you’re doing. If you’re more than just a hands-off home owner, you can choose to call in a floor polish professional who will typically charge around $ 3 to $ 7 per square foot.
If you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty while cleaning floors, you’ll be happy to note that the process is easy. Start by mopping the floor with a microfiber mop and a neutral pH neutral terrazzo water solution and cleaner. Let the floor air dry before applying an even layer of terrazzo sealing.
Again, let the sealer dry before using the soft-pad buffing machine and polishing powder to start polishing the surface. This powder will form a pulp, so don’t be surprised if your floor looks like it’s covere in mud like mud.
If it seems that most of the powder has absorbed, continue mopping the floor again with a damp microfiber mop. If your floors don’t shine the way you want them to, simply continue rubbing them with polishing powder until the finish is completely shiny.
Can Terrazzo Be Repaired?
Improper installation, poor cleaning and maintenance, and unexpected accidents such as dropping or dragging a very heavy object on the floor can cause cracks and breaks. Fortunately, terrazzo can be repaired professionally and minor jobs can even be repaired by DIY.
Let’s start with professionals. There are many companies out there that specialize in the repair and restoration of terrazo floors. The average cost to repair or restore a terrazzo floor is around $ 5 to $ 8, depending on the severity of the work.
On a DIY basis, you can make fine lines using epoxy, dye, and toothpicks. Mix the epoxy and dye solution with a toothpick and apply the mixture to the fine lines. Make sure no one walks on the floor for a full 24 hours after the repair.
For larger cracks, you will need to use a paint stripper to remove the surrounding finish before applying the oil-based paint to fill it. After the paint, which should be a similar color to terrazzo, has been applied, you will need to reseal it.
For the floor in situ, you need to prepare the area using fine grit paper. After sanding, it needs to be coated with cement grout mixed with dye using a shovel. Let it dry overnight, and once dry, use 40 grit sandpaper to sand the “patch” down to the level of the rest of the floor. Seal after sanding.
Of course, this type of flooring is not ideal for everyone and even those on a large home improvement budget might find it too expensive. But when you consider the potential longevity of a century, terrazzo flooring more than justifies the hefty initial cost of buying the material and installing it.
What do you think about terrazzo floors? Did my article help you decide if this is the ideal flooring option for your needs? Or is it eliminating terrazzo flooring as an option?