Terrazzo: Classic Product with Endless Possibilties

              We really love unique materials and installations!  One particularly unique type of flooring we specialize in is terrazzo.  Though terrazzo has ancient roots, not many people are familiar with it.  Terrazzo originated in Italy, the most similar application to today’s method would be pavimento alla Veneziana (or Venetian pavement), in which marble pieces were placed next to each other in a type of cement.  Terrazzo started being used in America in the late 1800’s, but then gained popularity from the 1920’s to the 1940’s for its decorative potential.  The strips in terrazzo allowed for the curvilinear patterns that those decades were known for! 

 Just a few options of glass and stone chips for a terrazzo floor

Just a few options of glass and stone chips for a terrazzo floor

 Fun Fact: Did you know that the Hollywood Walk of Fame is made of terrazzo?!

Fun Fact: Did you know that the Hollywood Walk of Fame is made of terrazzo?!

              Today, the choice to use terrazzo is more often practically than aesthetically driven .  Terrazzo is often used in airports, schools, and hospitals; anywhere that needs to be hard wearing.  Though we are seeing it used often in residential areas that are going for a period authenticity or where there is a need for design that tile simply cannot meet.  Terrazzo is also a wonderful option for refinishing.  It simply needs to be stripped and waxed and the floor looks new again!

 The metal strip in the center can be formed into a curve, allowing for a myriad more shapes than tile

The metal strip in the center can be formed into a curve, allowing for a myriad more shapes than tile

              As Welch Tile does a bit of terrazzo installation, we like to train our employees in the practice of installing this floor.  The first step would be to mix the small chips of stone, glass, shell, and other decorative elements together.  They are then mixed with a colored epoxy resin and troweled onto the floor.  Once the floor is down and has had time to cure, we then grind the floor to make it completely flat and remove any pieces that haven’t quite set in.  A coat of grout is then applied to fill in any crevices.  Once the grout is dry, the whole floor is polished to remove the grout haze and bring out the beauty and color of the chips. 

 The chips of stone are first mixed together.

The chips of stone are first mixed together.

 Smoothing the terrazzo

Smoothing the terrazzo

 The chips are mixed with a resin.

The chips are mixed with a resin.

 Pre-grout (left) versus post grout (right)

Pre-grout (left) versus post grout (right)

              We are currently installing terrazzo in a health care facility in Michigan, along with setting tile.  Keep an eye out next time you’re in a heavy traffic commercial facility for some terrazzo!  Who knows?  Maybe Welch Tile even installed it!

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 Images from a current job

Images from a current job

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Caela Manninen