Terrazzo

Terrezzo Floor

Terrazzo is a type of agglomerate flooring and should be treated as marble in a maintenance program. Terrazzo is a composite material poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and all treatments. It consists of marble, quartz, granite, glass or other suitable chips, sprinkled or unsprinkled, and poured with a binder that is cementitious, chemical (such as epoxy or acrylic) or a combination of both. Terrazzo is cured, ground and polished to a smooth surface or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface. Natural stone is very porous. The best way to prevent stains is to treat the surface with a protective sealer such as StoneTech™ Professional BulletProof™ Sealer, Impregnator Pro™ or Sta-Clene. The sealer fills in the pores and repels spills on the surface, allowing you time to completely wipe it away.

Divider strips are used to create panels for terrazzo floor when using different colors of cement and stones. These divider strips can be made of zinc, brass, alloy or even wood. After the terrazzo floor is poured into the divider strips, it is then grinded using stone or diamond abrasives. Once the terrazzo is roughly grinded it is then grouted, polished and sealed.

Care & Maintenance of Terrazzo Floors:

Terrazzo does not need protection from wear - it needs protection from absorption and stains. A water based impregnator, such as StoneTech™ Professional BulletProof™ Sealer or a solvent-based impregnator such as Impregnator Pro™ or Sta-Clene should be applied soon after honing and/or polishing. The impregnating sealer is absorbed into the cement matrix, sealing its pores.

It is important that the terrazzo is cleaned with KlenzAll™ before the sealer is applied. Terrazzo floors should be cleaned only with a neutral pH cleaner such as Revitalizer™ or Stone & Tile Cleaner. Avoid all-purpose cleaners or soaps containing water soluble, inorganic, or crystallizing salts, harmful alkali or acids. Terrazzo should never be cleaned at pressures above 800 PSI and then only if the grout and divider strips are in good condition.

Terrazzo is porous, and easily stained and is etched by acids. Fruit juice, carbonated beverages, toilet bowl cleaners, urine or other acids will etch if allowed to remain on terrazzo. Wipe up acid spill immediately, and wipe surface with wet cloth. If surfaced is etched, polishing may be required.

Dust mop interior terrazzo floors frequently using a clean non-treated dry dust mop. Sweeping compounds contain oil, which is not only a fire hazard, but will penetrate and could permanently discolor the floor. Many of these compounds contain sand, which is hard to sweep, and can abrade the floor if not removed.

Sand, dirt and grit do the most damage to natural stone surfaces due to their abrasiveness. Runners inside and outside an entrance will help to minimize the sand, dirt and grit that will scratch the terrazzo floor. Be sure that the underside of the runner is a non-slip surface. Normally, it will take a person about eight steps on a floor surface to remove sand or dirt from the bottom of their shoes.

We recommend that you use care and maintenance products from StoneTech™ Professional, a DuPont company, that are specially formulated to protect and enhance the beauty of terrazzo. Once the stone is sealed, clean up is usually easy. We recommend that you use StoneTech™ Professional Revitalizer™ Cleaner & Protector. Revitalizer™ to clean with a gentle, pH-neutral formula that removes soils while reinforcing the original protective seal to help prevent future staining.

.Marble protected and unprotected with StoneTech Sealer

Although we usually think of terrazzo as "hard," it is a porous material. If left unsealed, spills and everyday messes can easily penetrate the surface. The liquid eventually evaporates but the stain is left behind. Removal of oily stains is easily accomplished with StoneTech™ Professional Oil and Stain Remover.

Fluorochemical technology, incorporated into StoneTech™ Professional BulletProof™ and StoneTech™ Professional Impregnator Pro and Bane-Clene's Sta-Clene, is the most advanced technology available, providing the ultimate shield against both water and oil-base stains. The micro-molecular formula actually bonds with the stone surface to deliver unsurpassed wear resistance and durability. And because the sealer reacts with the stone, you no longer have to worry about its porosity.

There are three types of binders used to anchor marble chips or other aggregate in a terrazzo floor. One is a Portland Cement product; the second is a Polyacrylic modified Portland Cement which includes an acrylic additive. The third is an Epoxy or Polyester system, often referred to as a resinous thin-set system. Although each system has the role of anchoring the aggregate into the topping, the treatment of each does vary. Terrazzo floors have ease of maintenance, but this does not mean that NO CARE IS REQUIRED. Once you understand the care requirements in the early stages of a new Terrazzo floor, you avoid possible problems, and recognize the economy of care and the aesthetic values of this product.

PORTLAND CEMENT SYSTEMS:
   A terrazzo surface has a minimum 70% density marble chip surface exposure. The marble chips have a low porosity of absorption; thus, the portion of this floor system that needs protection is the Portland Cement binder that has 30% or less surface exposure. This is why terrazzo requires a penetrating type sealer applied to this surface immediately following the final polishing. This helps inhibit the penetration of spilled materials upon initial contact with the terrazzo floor. Spills must be cleaned up immediately in order to prevent stains caused by repeated or long-term exposure. Even standing water can dissolve some sealers. Since it is a penetrating liquid material, it is not expected to produce a high gloss sheen to the floor surface.

RESINOUS TYPE TERRAZZO SYSTEMS (Epoxy and Polyester):
   Since the matrix in these systems becomes a non-porous surface, no penetrating-type sealer is used on this floor. Use only surface sealers such as Hi-Shine 25.

What are the DO's and DON'Ts of Terrazzo?

  • DO clean up spills immediately to minimize damage to your stone.
  • DO clean surfaces regularly with StoneTech™ Professional Revitalizer™ Cleaner & Protector or Stone & Tile Cleaner. Always rinse your floors well to prevent a build-up of cleaner residue that could become slippery.
  • DO allow your neutral cleaner, once applied to the Terrazzo surface, time to react as designed to loosen foreign matter. Several minutes should be adequate, but DO NOT allow solution to dry on surface.
  • DO use StoneTech™ Professional BulletProof™ Sealer or Impregnator Pro™ to protect the stone.
  • DO use door mats inside and out along with runners and area rugs on terrazzo floors.
  • DO dust mop the floor daily to only pick up the dust, but also the grit tracked into the building. The grit acts as an abrasive on a hard surface floor.
  • DO seal your floors with a water-based acrylic sealer or finish such as Hi-Shine 25. Normally, a new floor requires two or more coats, which provide a good sheen for a period of 45 to 60 days, before needing additional coats. Sealer should be classified by Underwriters Laboratories, as slip resistant with a rating of minimum 0.5.
  • DO use maintenance products designed for terrazzo.
  • DON'T wait to clean up spills on stone.
  • DON'T use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners or tub cleaners.
  • DON'T use vinegar, bleach, ammonia or other general-purpose cleaners.
  • DON'T use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers.
  • DON'T use alkaline cleaners not specifically formulated for stone.
  • DON'T use scouring powders and abrasives because they will scratch the surface.
  • DON’T use purely surface waxes, or all purpose sealers. Employment of such can result in slippery surfaces.
  • DON’T use all purpose cleaners containing water soluble inorganic or crystallizing salts, harmful alkali or acids. Use of such products could prove harmful to the terrazzo floor.
  • DON’T use cheap cleaners or sealers since the majority of maintenance costs is labor.
  • DON’T try miracle cleaners or sealers on the floor without getting an opinion on such products from your Terrazzo Contractor or this Association.
  • DON’T use vacuum cleaners that are worn. The metal or plastic attachments or the wheels may scratch the surface.

More detailed information on terrazzo flooring is available at the NTMA (National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association) site.

Products to Clean, Maintain, Polish, Protect and Seal Terrazzo Floors:

Additional Stone Care Information:

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