What is “Real Terrazzo”?
It depends who you ask…
Terrazzo is experiencing a renaissance and there is a lot of talk on the internet about what “real terrazzo” is or is not. As far as we’re concerned, “real” terrazzo is any well executed terrazzo floor that looks equally as beautiful on day one as it does in year one hundred. Most often poured in place – with no grout joints – resulting in a seamless floor that is easy to clean & maintain, that looks gorgeous for the life of the building.
It can be epoxy or cement, but it most definitely is NOT a factory made terrazzo tile.
Terrazzo tile fails under high foot traffic conditions.
Poured in place epoxy terrazzo is the least prone to cracking & most robust in terms of tensile strength, compressive strength & chemical resistance. Cement terrazzo, while known for developing cracks as inherent to the material, performs better than terrazzo tile under high foot traffic. When well-executed, using a qualified terrazzo installer, the terrazzo floor, be it cement or epoxy will look amazing for the life of the building.
Not so with cement terrazzo tile! Not only will it crack, but over time the grout joints will collect dirt, mold & mildew, deteriorating it further and turning the joints dark, which enhances the grid pattern effect & makes the space appear dirty & run down.
Many terrazzo tile manufacturers will sell on price, ease of installation or even “cement” being an advantage (i.e., more authentic than epoxy). What they don’t tell you is that the flatness tolerance is 1/8” in 10’ & that by the time you flatten the slab and lay it properly you’ve already met or exceeded the installed cost of poured terrazzo. And then…it cracks and looks dirty.
Save yourself and your client the headache and engage a qualified supplier/manufacturer like Terroxy Resin Systems from the start. This will help support you with specifications, joint detailing and technical guidance to ensure the integrity of your specification and the longevity of your project!