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Terrazzo

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Terrazzo is a type of floor finish that looks like marble but at a lower cost. It is a flooring technique wherein pieces of aggregate such as marble, glass or stone chips are mixed with a cement binder. After it has cured, the terrazzo is ground and polished to a shiny and durable finish. Since terrazzo floors are created by the blending of materials, a wide range of creative and abstract designs can be produced.

By about ten degrees, terrazzo floors keep the house cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter by transferring the ground temperature into the house.

It is important to note that harsh cleaners and chemicals can damage terrazzo floors. All-purpose cleaners containing acids, harmful alkali and crystallizing salts should be avoided. When scrubbing or mopping floors, only materials known to be neutral or with a pH factor between 7 to 10 should used.

Types of Terrazzo Flooring

  1. Thin-Set or Epoxy Terrazzo
  2. The sub-floor is generally concrete but plywood may be used provided it is installed properly. Epoxy is used to bind the marble chips and other aggregates together. Plastic, zinc or brass dividers are required at all control joints to prevent cracking. Thickness of terrazzo finish is usually between 1/4" to 3/8".

  3. Monolithic Terrazzo
  4. Fast installation at a lower price, this type of terrazzo flooring is generally recommended for slab-on-grade applications. A 1/2" thick cementitious finish is directly applied to the concrete sub-floor. It is dependent on the quality of concrete and flatness of the sub-floor for prevention of cracking. Dividers are required at all control joints to prevent cracking.

  5. Bonded Terrazzo
  6. Similar to monolithic, a 1/2" thick cementitious terrazzo finish is applied over a sand-cement underbed sitting on a finished concrete slab. Its advantage over monolithic is that the sand-cement underbed easily accomodates variations in the concrete slab. The flatness of the concrete floor is therefore not critical in crack prevention. To accomodate the thickness of the underbed, concrete slab should be depressed by 1-1/2" to 1-3/4". As with all terrazzo floors, dividers are required at control joints to prevent cracking.

  7. Sand-Cushion Terrazzo
  8. This type of terrazzo finish is ideal for floors where movement is expected. The 1/2" thick cementitious terrazzo finish sits on a mesh reinforced mortar underbed separated from the sub-floor by an isolation sheet. Due to the thickness of the layers, concrete slab should be depressed by 2-1/2" to 3". Dividers spaced at 5" on center is required at all control joints to prevent cracking.

  9. Polyacrylate Terrazzo
  10. This type of terrazzo finish is ideal for areas subjected to moisture vapor transmission where the epoxy terrazzo will not adhere. Instead of epoxy, polyacrylate is used as cement binder. Terrazzo finish is 3/8" thick. As with all terrazzo floors, dividers are required at control joints to prevent cracking.

  11. Rustic Terrazzo
  12. A type of terrazzo finish used for exteriors either as monolithic or bonded. The difference is that terrazzo is not subjected to grinding to allow for a textured and skid-resistant surface.

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