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What is terrazzo? If you’re thinking to yourself that this flooring type is wholly unfamiliar to you, here’s an image that may jog your memory: the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Whether you’ve seen it in person or on your TV screen, it’s obvious that this iconic sidewalk is both beautiful and quite durable. And the Walk of Fame is — you guessed it! — terrazzo tile.

Terrazzo is a popular flooring choice because of its versatility and beauty. It can be used indoors or outdoors. It can be monochromatic or multicolored. It can be laid uniformly or in a pattern when divided by metal strips (such as you’d see on the Hollywood Walk of Fame). 

But… what is it? Terrazzo is actually a composite of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other various materials mixed with a binder that “glues” the composite together. After the composite and binder cures, the surface is ground and polished to the desired sheen. With the right care and attention to detail, terrazzo is a lifetime flooring surface. Fortunately, as flooring goes, terrazzo is fairly low-maintenance. 

The first step in good terrazzo care is to know what type of binder was used: Portland cement product, polyacrylate modified cement, or (most commonly) epoxy resin. Cement-based systems have a low porosity while epoxy-based systems have almost no porosity. In order to protect marble, granite, and other semi-porous elements of the composite, a sealer may be required.

All types of terrazzo require pH neutral cleaners and sealers. Based on building codes, a water based sealer is applied to the proper slip resistance rating. Sealer is usually followed by a water based “dressing” and buffing (daily or weekly) for the desired sheen.

Daily maintenance usually includes dust mopping, vacuuming, and wet mopping as needed. When wet mopping, it is important to keep the floor sufficiently wet so that dirt does not dry on the surface. This is also why it is important to pre-clean the surface before applying water.

Caring for terrazzo flooring can seem a bit daunting but it doesn’t have to be — at Sonlight Cleaning Services, our team members are trained in the unique care needs of each type of hard surface flooring, including VCT, ceramic, concrete, terrazzo, and quarry tiles. Give us a call today and we’ll help you take the “walk of fame” every time you traverse your beautifully clean terrazzo floors!

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