Common types of terrazzo tiles and how to maintain them

Terrazzo tiles flooring is a flexible, long-lasting, and easy-to-maintain flooring option. Aside from that, since terrazzo tiles are a composite material, it is one of the most ecologically friendly flooring systems available on the market today, and it is available in a variety of styles based on the materials and techniques used to create it. On the market today, the following are the most often seen terrazzo tiles flooring systems:

Terrazzo tiles made of epoxy resin

Epoxy terrazzo tiles are now one of the most popular kinds of terrazzo tiles, and it is also possibly the type that needs the least amount of care. Furthermore, it is one of the most adaptable kinds, since it can be utilized for both flooring and countertop installations. In addition, the design modification options are almost endless – in terms of color combinations and the aggregate materials that may be used. While epoxy terrazzo tiles have certain drawbacks, the most significant being that it is not recommended for use outside due to their inability to resist severe weather conditions; otherwise, it makes for beautiful indoor counters and floors.

Terrazzo tiles made of cement

Common types of terrazzo tiles and how to maintain them

Because of its longevity and the fact that it is both cost-effective and flexible in terms of design, this kind of terrazzo tiles is especially well suited for high-traffic locations such as malls, airline terminals, and colleges. In order to avoid the formation of cracks during the installation of cementitious terrazzo tiles, it is preferable that the weather conditions be favorable throughout the process. Extreme care should be used in the mixing and laying out of cement terrazzo tiles in order to guarantee that the installation will endure for at least 60 years and perhaps longer.

Terrazzo tiles in a rustic style

Similar to epoxy terrazzo tiles, but more suited for outdoor applications because of its smooth and marble-like surface, which has a rough surface added as a way of increasing slip resistance. In outdoor areas of hotels, malls, museums, townhouses, and the vast majority of commercial enterprises with water elements such as pools, fountains, and man-made waterfalls, rustic terrazzo tiles may be found more often than not.

Terrazzo tiles with a cushion of sand

The most distinguishing feature of this kind of terrazzo tiles is the way it is constructed from the ground up. When used as flooring, it is composed of many layers of material, including wire meshes or reinforcement, isolation sheets, and several layers of sand, among other things. There are many reasons for this: it allows for small imperfections while also avoiding reflections on the surface, which makes it ideal for integrating designs such as logos and works of art with various colors.

Terrazzo tiles Floors are installed in a variety of ways.

Installation of cementitious Terrazzo tiles 

It is important to note that the installation of cementitious and epoxy terrazzo tiles is distinct in the sense that each binder necessitates a different installation technique depending on its composition. Cementitious terrazzo tiles are typically a combination of marble aggregate and cement in a 2:1 ratio, according to tradition (grey or white). The iron oxide may be added to the mixture to give it a colored appearance. Water should be used to completely mix the ingredients. After that, the mixture is put into the panels and troweled to the desired level of height.

After that, the aggregate is scattered (seeded) over the floor in a consistent pattern. It is necessary to roll a set roller over the floor in alternating directions to embed the marble chips in the floor while also moving extra cement and water to the top of the floor, which is then removed from the floor. Excess water and cement should be removed from the floor by rolling it a couple more times with various weighted rollers, which should result in a tight grouping of the marble aggregate. After this procedure is completed, the floor is gently troweled to finish it off. The floor must be allowed to cure for several days before the grinding process can begin. Click here to read about Herringbone Tiles Pattern vs Chevron Tiles Pattern.

Installation of Epoxy Terrazzo tiles 

Common types of terrazzo tiles and how to maintain them

Epoxy terrazzo tiles are less labor-intensive than cementitious terrazzo tiles and do not need the acquisition of many of the skills required by a cementitious system. Epoxy terrazzo tiles are a combination of two colors: Part A (base color) and Part B (contrasting color) (Hardener). The most common ratio is 5:1. Parts A and B are combined with filler powder (marble dust) and the aggregate to form the final product. The epoxy and aggregate mix is then put onto the floor and leveled using hand trowels before being closed with a power trowel to flatten and tighten up the aggregate and finish the job. Some installers additionally seed the floor before power troweling, which they consider being best practice. Typically, epoxy placed in appropriate ambient conditions may be ground within 24 hours after installation.

The stages of grinding, grouting, and polishing

Cementitious and epoxy terrazzo tiles grinding are essentially the same technique, with the exception of the process for the first rough grinding, which is somewhat different. The rough grinding of epoxy terrazzo tiles is done dry, with vacuum systems in place to capture the grinding dust. 

Cement terrazzo tiles, on the other hand, are wet-ground, resulting in the formation of a grinding slurry. Both methods are grouted after the floor has been rough ground until the metal or plastic divider strips are revealed and the aggregate has been exposed in a consistent manner. In this phase, an installer matches binder material to any pinholes or voids that may have occurred throughout the installation process. 

The floor is polished once the grout has been allowed to cure properly. Normal polishing is carried out wet in both systems to the desired finish level, which may range from 120 grit to 3000 grit in coarseness. Cleansing, drying, and application of a minimum of two coats of the suitable sealer are performed on both cementitious and epoxy systems.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking to select the two best terrazzo tiles. Feel free to go for the cement and epoxy types. However, there are other fancier types you could go for. This is just our own recommendation, feel free to explore.