Terrazzo is favored for its durability and long life span, but even the most durable material can succumb to cracks and chips. Terrazzo that has been chipped or cracked should be repaired sooner rather than later. A fine line will continue to spread across the tile and damage the integrity of the shower floor if it isn't tended to quickly. There are a few ways to restore a terrazzo shower base.
Tips and Precautions for Terrazzo
Terrazzo is designed from bits of marble or granite that are embedded into treated concrete. The eco-friendly material is then polished to a high sheen. While you won't be able to create an exact match of the processed original tile, an epoxy coloring kit will help blend the repair into the terrazzo tile. An epoxy resin mixing kit includes applicators, cups and other essentials to make the repair process easier.
Always use a paint project respirator, work gloves and safety glasses when working with strong chemicals, such as paint thinner. Work in a well-ventilated area or use fans to move fumes out of the area. For best results, follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and drying times.
Small Repairs for Terrazzo Flooring
For small repairs, place a small amount of epoxy on a piece of cardboard or in a plastic cup. Apply coloring to the epoxy to get a relatively close shade of the terrazzo shower base. If necessary, apply aggregates, such as gravel or bits of colored rock, to help blend the repair into the surrounding terrazzo tile.
Use a toothpick to mix the ingredients together until well blended. Work fast so the epoxy doesn't begin to set and harden. With a mixing stick or small brush, gently apply the mix from the cardboard onto the fine line or small chip in the terrazzo shower base. Allow the area to dry for at least 24 hours before using the shower.
Large Shower Floor Terrazzo Repairs
Larger repairs require that the entire shower base is thoroughly cleaned. Scrub the tile with a multipurpose shower cleaner and rinse well to remove all residue. Once the area is dry, apply paint stripper to the tile to remove the remaining sealant that covers the terrazzo. Apply an epoxy resin tinted to match the terrazzo to any big chips or holes and allow it to dry overnight. Finish the terrazzo shower base with a sealant.
White Portland cement can be used as a binder to repair large cracks that wind through the terrazzo flooring. Sand the area with a fine-grit paper after cleaning and stripping the surface. Mix the white Portland cement to fill the crack. Add cement pigment until the color closely matches the original terrazzo.
Apply the cement to the crack with a trowel. Allow the repair to dry overnight before sanding with a 40-grit sandpaper followed by an 80-grit sandpaper. Finish the terrazzo tile with a sealant and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before using the shower. For wide or deep fissures or holes, a professional may need to be called to restore the terrazzo shower base and possibly investigate what has caused the damage.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.