The stunning speckled patterns of terrazzo have taken the industry by storm this year. In fact, this fabulous surface finish has become so popular, that its style is being replicated on all sorts of materials – from rugs to wallpaper. On floors, terrazzo is either poured into place, trowelled onto a concrete slab (often referred to as ‘rustic terrazzo’) or precast into a tile or slab. It’s made up of a binding agent into which chips of marble, quartz, granite, metal and glass are added to create that sought-after, decorative finish.
Dating back to the 16th Century, Terrazzo originates from Italy, where construction workers recycled offcuts to make flooring for their own homes. It then went on to be used in Italian palazzos. Today, it’s widely specified in commercial and public environments – from hotel lobbies to airports – because it’s hardwearing and design options are limitless. More recently, it’s been embraced by the consumer and we’re now seeing this sector soar!
Terrazzo is made using either a cement or epoxy resin-binding agent. Cement-based terrazzo is porous, so the surface below is able to breathe and vapour can escape; this can be beneficial in period properties. Epoxy resin isn’t porous but it offers other benefits, including resistance to chemicals; it also tends to be more vibrant in colour and thinner-set. Both types of terrazzo flooring need to be sealed after installation. Cement will readily absorb water and become stained if it isn’t correctly treated and, whilst epoxy isn’t porous, many of the stone chips added to it will be, so they’ll need to be protected. If the surface of the floor is highly polished, this will also have opened up the porosity further and the terrazzo will be more prone to staining.
Before a sealer can be applied, the terrazzo surface will need to be thoroughly cleaned with a suitable product. If dirt and residues are left in place, they will remain trapped between the terrazzo surface and the sealer; this will stop the sealer from fully penetrating the surface and will create a patchy finish that will be difficult to clean. An alkaline product, like ECOPROTEC Stone & Tile Intensive Cleaner is a great option for removing ingrained dirt, wax and grease from the surface. Depending on the terrazzo finish, it can then be sealed with a matt or polished treatment. Look out for a water-based impregnating sealer, like ECOPROTEC Natural Finish Stone Sealer, which is safe to use and just as effective as a solvent. Water-based treatments can also be applied over residual moisture, so you won’t have to wait until the surface is bone-dry.
For ongoing terrazzo maintenance, use a pH-neutral, like ECOPROTEC Natural Stone & Porcelain Aftercare Cleaner, or alkaline-based product where suitable. Most general household cleaners are acidic, so should be avoided; they may dull the terrazzo’s surface and could potentially erode the stone chips, as these will be acid sensitive.
Wax treatments can also be applied to terrazzo, to enhance the glossy surface, although they should be avoided in damp environments where they could create a slip hazard. Where a wax can be used, look out for a water-based product, like ECOPROTEC Satin Finish Surface Wax, as this will provide the safest and fastest treatment option.
All ECOPROTEC products are manufactured in the UK by LTP and are offered alongside expert advice from LTP’s in-house technical team. For further information, visit www.ecoprotec.co.uk, tel. 01823 666213 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, for instant advice on-the go, visit www.ecoproductselector.com
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