Terrazzo Definitions and Processes

Terrazzo Definitions, Processes, Restoration, and Maintenance

Founder of Young Final Finish, LLC, David Young’s background is in terrazzo grinding, restoration and maintenance. We have a proprietary method of finishing terrazzo that we feel cannot be matched. We will either do the maintenance for our customers on a regular basis or assist and train them in doing it themselves. Terrazzo needs continual care. We will help you determine if a sealed finish or a vitrified finish is the best for your terrazzo. This will depend on the abuse that it takes – the amount of foot traffic and type of wear in each area.

For some basic definitions and processes, please review the following:

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Cement Terrazzo:

Typically marble chips bonded together with Portland cement. The cement is the weaker link in this type of floor. If the cement is attacked by acids or wear, it will break down. This causes an uneven loss of integrity that is hard to bring back.

Epoxy Terrazzo:

Typically marble chips bonded together with an epoxy “plastic-like” resin. The benefit of this binder is that it does not have a calcium base. This means that urine, bleach and other things do not attack it, while the chips will remain susceptible if the floor is not maintained.

Marble Chips:

The calcium-based aggregate that makes up the majority of the terrazzo. The pretty little rocks.

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What it means to….

Grind Terrazzo:

To aggressively remove the material to evenly expose the marble chips using a low grit abrasive.

Polish Terrazzo:

To remove the scratches left by the “grinding” process using high grit abrasives to prep for a finish, such as a sealcoating or the vitrification process. This can also be used to remove damage that has broken down the integrity of the surface physically or chemically.

Seal Terrazzo:

To cover or coat the surface of the terrazzo. This is typically done with an acrylic solvent-based or mostly an acrylic water-based sealer. This coat needs to be exchanged or replaced on a regular basis. IT IS THE WEAR SURFACE.

Vitrify Terrazzo:

The application of magnesium fluoride to a very high polished surface that reacts with the calcium in the terrazzo to produce a calcium fluoride layer Vitreous – means dense, non-porous, the opposite of porous. This application will hold up well to foot traffic, but not to chemicals and acids because it is calcium based. If performed properly, it will enhance the look and reduce the maintenance up to 50%.

**NOTE: Terrazzo cannot be left open or exposed without a loss of integrity. It consists of different hardness levels and needs to be maintained with a coating or vitrification.