Terrazzo flooring is a beautiful addition to any home. This floor covering is a mixture of mortar and marble chips that forms a mosaic floor covering that is both unique and easy to care for. Marble and cement is mixture together and then spread across a surface. Additional marble chips are sprinkled across the curing floor to add texture and additional color.
The end result is a durable surface able to withstand heavy traffic. However, this surface must be sealed properly to prevent damage to the porous areas of exposed mortar (cement). Terrazzo floors are common in Mediterranean style homes. Many Florida homeowners have pulled up carpeting to find a gorgeous but poorly maintained terrazzo floor under their carpet.
Waxing a terrazzo floor is a small misnomer. If you waxed your terrazzo floor in the literal sense, you'd be setting yourself up for a few bumps and bruises walking and subsequently, falling on such a slippery surface. Instead, waxing refers to the proper sealing and cleaning maintenance of the floor.
Terrazzo floors are extremely easy to maintain after initial sealing is complete. However, many owners believe that applying a thick coat of wax to terrazzo makes for a high sheen. Rather, it makes for a dangerous surface that doesn't readily hold waxes. Waxed surfaces will eventually wear and cause yellowing.
Newer terrazzo floors are installed with sealant. Many floor companies use an epoxy in place of the cement to create a waterproof surface that doesn't easily absorb stains. These types of floors require very limited maintenance.
Assuming your terrazzo is older, cement-based flooring, use the following steps for restoring and "waxing" your beautiful mosaic floors.
How to Wax a Terrazzo Floor
Move all of the furniture out of the room. It's so much easier to properly and completely clean a floor without anything in the way. This will also help you make sure you haven't missed an area (such as under the sofa).
Create a mental grid of the room, make a cleaning plan, and stick to it. It's annoying to find you've missed a spot after you've stripped the majority of the floor.
Apply the wax stripper as indicated on the package labeling. Make sure that you remove every bit of residue while using the stripper. This is time consuming but necessary. Soap residue will dull the terrazzo surface in addition to trapping dirt in the cement. Use a bristled brush to scrub areas with stains.
Go over the entire floor with your mop and clean water. You should be seeing the potential in your terrazzo at this point. Rinse the mop often. Your aim is a floor that's extremely clean, free of residue, and ready for sealant application.
Let the floor dry completely. Overnight is best. Try to discourage people from walking on the floor so dirt doesn't get tracked onto the unprotected cement surfaces. The surface should be as clean as possible before applying terrazzo floor sealant.
Apply the terrazzo sealant according to the recommendations on the package. Many people apply sealant using a paint brush roller to provide smooth application. Seal the floor according to an established plan to make sure you don't miss any areas of the floor.
Allow the sealant on the floor to dry completely. Keep foot traffic off the floor!
Maintain the floor when the sealant is dry with frequent sweeping with a broom, a sponge mop and a bucket of water with 1 cup of white vinegar added. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that won't harm the sealant. Regular mopping with this solution will keep your terrazzo floor looking beautiful.