Installing Terrazzo Flooring
by Dave Donovan
Terrazzo flooring is an Italian flooring technique that combines pieces of aggregate (marble, glass or stone chips) with a cement binder. In most cases, the terrazzo flooring is installed by a professional on-site. This is typically not a job that the do-it-yourselfer can do, however, recently terrazzo floor tiles have started showing up in home improvement stores. But, for true terrazzo flooring, it takes someone well-trained in the art for the results to be really breathtaking. Here is how a professional installs terrazzo flooring.
First, because of the materials used in terrazzo flooring, the final product is extremely heavy. Prior to installation, a survey must be done to ensure that the floor has the strength to be able to handle that type of weight.
In addition, because cement binder is used, the plywood sub-floor must be covered by a waterproof membrane, like polyurethane sheeting. This is to prevent the moisture in the cement from seeking into and rotting away the wood underneath.
Next, a layer of cement is poured. While the cement is still wet, the aggregate is added to the floor. The marble, stone or glass chips can be embedded in a specific pattern or scattered randomly. Once the desired effect is obtained, trowels are used to smooth the surface of the floor.
Once the cement fully dries, grinding machinery is used to create an even smoother and more level floor surface. Then, the floor is polished, cleaned and protected with a thin layer of sealant. The end result of this installation is one that will retain its luster and withstand years of traffic.
As stated earlier, new terrazzo tiles are beginning to emerge on the marketplace which can be installed using techniques similar to those required for installing linoleum tiles. Of course, there are pros and cons with each type of terrazzo flooring installation, including:
Professionally Installed Terrazzo Flooring
- Pros: Long lasting, freeform installation, design freedom
- Cons: Very expensive, time and labor intensive installation, lengthy preparation time
Terrazzo Tile Installation
- Pros: Cost effective, long lasting, easily replaceable, easy installation
- Cons: Limited designs, more expensive than linoleum
Choosing which type of terrazzo flooring to have installed in your home may not be easy, but one thing is certain – with terrazzo flooring installed in your home, you can experience the allure of old world Italy whenever you wish!