Terrazzo flooring, though it was originally discovered ages ago, was most commonly used in Venice in the 18th century to decorate homes as a more affordable alternative to marble. Two centuries later, it became popular in post-war Europe well into the 1960’s and 70’s due to its relatively low cost. Although it saw some application in homes in the United States in the early 1900’s, it is now most commonly found in commercial and institutional settings. However, terrazzo is making a comeback with the addition of new design styles and the popular desire for affordable flooring.
Terrazzo tile is composed of a mixture of aggregate chips like stone or marble and either epoxy resin or concrete. It can be used both indoors and outdoors and can be poured as concrete or laid in tiles.
Flooring manufacturers are getting more and more creative with their terrazzo styles. Many have begun to introduce brighter and more uniquely patterned marble and stone chips into the cement and epoxy of terrazzo. The size and quantity of aggregate chips used also helps promote more bold and interesting styles.
Terrazzo flooring is installed in a few different ways. Epoxy resin terrazzo is most commonly poured in a layer that is about 3/8” thick over a concrete substrate. In more industrial settings, a cement base is laid first, then a layer of sand, and a cement-based terrazzo mixture is finally laid on top. Another way terrazzo can be installed is in the form of tiles using a grout system and adhesive, similar to the way porcelain tiles are laid.
- It’s an attractive alternative to plain concrete. Concrete is desirable for certain settings, and with its unique look and variety of color and design options, terrazzo is the next step up.
- It’s completely customizable. Terrazzo has a limitless range of aggregate options when it comes to color and quantity of the marble and stone chips that can be added.
- It’s not susceptible to mold. When terrazzo flooring is properly sealed, it is non-porous and resistant to mold and mildew.
- It’s easy to maintain. Occasionally sweeping and mopping is all terrazzo flooring really needs in order to be kept in great shape.
- It’s durable. Because it is made up of sturdy materials like cement, terrazzo is highly durable, which is why it is used so often in institutional and commercial buildings.