Terrazzo floors are not only functional, they are durable and lovely to look at season after season and are highly desired for high-end installations. This versatile flooring option lends itself to limitless possibilities in design for homeowners who are looking for a unique surface to traverse daily. While terrazzo flooring is impressive to behold and can stand up to high traffic without losing its luster, the inevitable chip or crack can occur from dropped or dragged items on its immaculate surface.
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Why Terrazzo Is So Desirable
Terrazzo is made of chips of marble or granite in treated concrete that is polished to a high sheen. It is ideal for flooring due to its durability that is paired with beauty. The eco-friendly material has withstood centuries of trampling in floors throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
The material can be manipulated throughout its production, making it ideal for design elements. Long-lasting dyes and stains can be added to the terrazzo as it is being made to create just the right golden hue or any shade that can be imagined. The epoxy coating can withstand years of hard use, but it may need to be repaired or resurfaced on occasion depending on the color and application. The durability of the tile makes terrazzo restoration an easy endeavor.
How to Repair Terrazzo Flooring
The variegated coloring and classic style of the tile can make terrazzo repair seem intimidating. If a fine line has begun to spread on the surface of the terrazzo flooring, then you have a growing issue that needs to be addressed. If left unattended, the little lines can become big problems that can cause damage to the integrity of the terrazzo flooring.
For little jobs, place a small amount of epoxy and any coloring to match the terrazzo, if needed, to a piece of cardboard. Thoroughly mix the epoxy with a toothpick and gently apply it to the fine lines. Let it dry for at least 24 hours before allowing people to walk over the area.
For larger repairs, clean out the crack and use paint stripper to remove the sealant surrounding the area. Use a high-gloss, oil-based paint that is tinted to match the terrazzo. Carefully apply it to the cracks to cover them. Apply a sealant to blend the repair into the rest of the terrazzo flooring.
You can use cement grout to fix problems that appear on Portland cement-based terrazzo flooring. This can take a lot more work. The repair area needs to be sanded with a fine-grit paper to prepare it. Mix grout to fill the crack, adding any dyes to get the color needed. Apply the grout to the area with a trowel. Let it dry overnight before sanding down to be level with the terrazzo flooring. Use 80-grit sandpaper followed by 100- or 120-grit sandpaper to achieve the desired finish. Apply a sealant to the repaired area.
If the crack is wide or deep, a professional may be needed not only repair visible damage but to find the root of the problems in order to prevent future issues from popping up on the pristine surface of the terrazzo flooring.
Terrazzo steps get the brunt of abuse from guests and residents as they come and go from the home. Terrazzo is hardy, but it can handle only so much. Properly restored terrazzo doorsteps are a point of beauty at the entrance to the home. When a terrazzo doorstep needs to be repaired, it can require more attention due to its tendency to get the highest traffic in the home. Regular cleaning can keep fine lines from appearing and can alert you to tiny cracks before they become big problems. Apply the same techniques as for flooring restoration but allow the area to thoroughly dry before being used.
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.