Although there is evidence that terrazzo was used in ancient Egypt and Turkey, development of terrazzo is credited to 18th-century Venetians who used discarded fragments of marble in a mortar base to create walking surfaces.
Venetian marble manufacturers started repurposing odd-sized marble scraps thrown away during production to create inexpensive and sustainable flooring solutions. Techniques for leveling and smoothing the terrazzo progressed from manual rubbing to the emergence of the Galera, a weighted grinding stone with a long handle.
Introduction of Terrazzo to the U.S.
Italian and Venetian immigrants introduced the beauty and artistry of terrazzo flooring to the U.S. in the late 18th century.
One notable American building with terrazzo flooring is George Washington’s residence in Mount Vernon. The Hoover Dam, built in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, is another with a terrazzo floor at the public works complex. Although installed almost a century ago, it still looks as though it were newly made. The Vanderbilt family, famous for their railroad and shipping empire, used terrazzo in the grand mansions they had built along Fifth Avenue in New York City.
It wasn’t long before terrazzo became very popular in America, spurring continuous advancements in installation techniques and design.
The industry progressed as more and more people discovered the exceptional beauty of terrazzo flooring. In the 1960s and 1970s, cementitious and later epoxy binders emerged, which provided a wider variety of color, patterns, and thicknesses.
Presently, terrazzo flooring continues to provide durability and versatility in both design and performance. The design potential is unlimited with a spectrum of color and design options to suit any taste. The advancement of terrazzo flooring also involves extensive efforts to optimize its performance. Materials such as marble, quartz, granite, recycled glass, porcelain, concrete, and metal aggregates are terrazzo conjugates. These are bound by epoxy or cement to produce surfaces with a smoother texture that can last for many years.
Terrazzo flooring is a sustainable solution that creates a luxurious feel in any space. Terrazzo is now widely used in many commercial spaces and has expanded beyond flooring applications. Many architects and designers today incorporate terrazzo into countertops, staircases, benches and decorative wall panels.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why terrazzo remains popular for so many commercial, municipal, and institutional projects today.
Many people favor poured terrazzo for flooring for its almost unlimited design capabilities to create a unique look. Terrazzo installers can customize aggregates ranging from granite to marble with any color of the rainbow. They can modify the patterns to include an elaborate logo or unconventional designs. Terrazzo opens doors for people to explore the infinite capabilities of this material.
Terrazzo is ideal for high-traffic and public access areas such as malls, schools, hospitals, and airports. Terrazzo floors are incredibly durable and have high compressive strength. They can take almost any amount of pressure brought by either foot traffic or heavy machinery.
Additionally, terrazzo can resist water damage, fire damage, chemical spillage, and more, and is also slip-resistant.
Terrazzo is one of the most environmentally-friendly flooring systems. It is important to note that the materials used for terrazzo flooring are LEED certified. LEED indicates that the materials are from recycled glass aggregates offering a reduced carbon footprint.
Low Maintenance and Low Costs
Among many other flooring materials in the current market, terrazzo is arguably the most durable you can acquire at a low cost. When you factor durability and low maintenance costs, terrazzo holds a decided competitive edge.
If the terrazzo happens to get damaged, it can easily be repaired at a significantly reduced cost compared to replacement.
For beauty, durability, versatility, and low maintenance costs, it is no surprise that many architects and designers specify terrazzo over other materials.
Call Andreola Terrazzo & Restoration at (972) 487-1919 or contact us online for the very best in custom terrazzo design and installation, and terrazzo restoration services.