What is terrazzo?
is a composite material, poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments . It consists of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable material, poured with a cementitious binder (for chemical binding), polymeric (for physical binding), or a combination of both. Metal strips often divide sections, or changes in color or material in a pattern. Additional chips may be sprinkled atop the mix before it sets. After it is cured it is ground and polished smooth or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface.
History of terrazzo
We’re going to take a quick dip into the history books and look at how terrazzo made its way to the world.
To look at the beginnings of terrazzo we have to go more back more than 500 years, to Italy. While marble was the material of choice at the time, Venetian construction workers began mixing scraps from upscale jobs with clay to create inexpensive flooring for their own homes and patios. Though it may sound crazy, they discovered that to bring out the shine of the marble scraps they could seal the flooring with goat’s milk. Now, installation techniques and materials have changed dramatically–don’t worry, we won’t be pouring goat’s milk for your next floor – and we have advanced to a variety of sealants from the popular epoxy to the more rustic monolithic terrazzo.
While credit is given to the Italians, as it is widely recognized that terrazzo was invented by the Venetians, some archaeologists have found evidence of terrazzo-like floors in ruins in Turkey that date back 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. We like to think that makes terrazzo the original sustainable flooring
Production became much easier in the late 1920s with the invention of electric grinders and other power tools. The 1960s and 1970s brought thin-set, or epoxy, terrazzo to the scene. This modern terrazzo provided more variety in color, a different thickness, and a faster install. Since then, most indoor installs have been epoxy terrazzo.
Today, terrazzo can consist of durable materials such as marble, quartz, granite, recycled glass, porcelain, concrete, and metal aggregates. These materials are mixed with cement or epoxy and polished to produce a sustainable, smooth, and uniformly textured surface that will last for years to come.