The history of Terrazzo dates back to over 500 years. Venetian workers used marble scraps, left over from marble slabs, to surface their terraces. Three hundred years after that terrazzo made its way into America. Since then many developments in how it is mixed and made have evolved.
Terrazzo is a hard, durable, impact-resistant, and abrasion-resistant surface. These qualities enable Terrazzo to withstand high traffic pedestrian areas. Epoxy terrazzo has a compressive strength of 10,000 psi and cementitious terrazzo’s compressive strength is generally 4,500 psi.
Terrazzo flooring can be expected to last for decades. Normally, and with proper care, a terrazzo floor can be expected to last between 75 to 100 years. The sealing on terrazzo is impervious to stain and water damage.
The strength and durability of Terrazzo proved itself during hurricane Katrina. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina swept throughout the city of New Orleans. The damage from this hurricane was catastrophic causing complete demolition of buildings, structures as well as a torrent of water and sewage engulfing the city. The NTMA (National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association Inc.) found that terrazzo floors around the city, many in older structures, were the only structures surviving intact. If structural collapse had chipped or gouged these floors, they were repairable.
Despite the durability and strength of terrazzo, repair or restoration can be needed due to:
- Dragging a heavy item
- Impact damage during renovations
- Dropping heavy items causing chips and cracks
The beauty of terrazzo is that it does not have to be removed or replaced in order to repair it. The damaged area is repaired using a mix of aggregates and colors to match the floor exactly.
The maintenance of terrazzo is very simple. No harsh chemicals are needed as it can dull its appearance. Terrazzo flooring should be dust mopped daily to remove any particles that could be abrasive. Wash it as required with a neutral cleaner and rinse thoroughly after it has had time to react to the grime and dirt. The low maintenance of terrazzo allows for its elegance to shine for decades, at a fraction of the cost of marble or granite.