Kitchen with polished concrete floorKitchen with polished concrete floor

DIY terrazzo floors: the simple guide

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Flooring finishes
Policrete Team
Policrete Team
June 17, 2024
minute read

Terrazzo floors, with their unique and elegant appearance, have been a popular choice for centuries. This versatile flooring option combines beauty with durability, making it an excellent choice for both residential and commercial spaces. 

While terrazzo floors might seem like a complex and expensive project, a DIY approach can sometimes make it an accessible and rewarding experience. This guide will take you through the process step-by-step, ensuring you achieve professional results every time. 

What is terrazzo?

Terrazzo is a composite material poured in place and used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable materials, which are poured with a binder that is cementitious, chemical, or a combination of both. After it cures, it is ground and polished to a smooth surface, which makes it perfect for residential and commercial flooring solutions. 

Benefits of terrazzo floors 

  • Durability: terrazzo floors are incredibly durable and can last for decades with proper care.
  • Aesthetic appeal: the variety of materials used in terrazzo allows for endless design possibilities, from classic marble chips to colourful glass pieces.
  • Low maintenance: once the entire floor is installed, terrazzo floors require minimal maintenance, making them a practical choice for busy spaces.
  • Eco-friendly: many terrazzo materials can be recycled, and the longevity of terrazzo reduces the need for replacement, making it an environmentally friendly option.

Planning your DIY terrazzo floor project 

Choosing the right materials 

Selecting the right materials is crucial for your terrazzo floor. You'll need to decide on the type and colour of the chips and the binder. Popular choices for chips include marble, granite, and glass, each offering different looks and textures. The binder can be either cement-based or epoxy-based, with epoxy offering a more flexible and vibrant option.

Preparing the space 

Before starting your terrazzo floor project, it's essential to prepare the space properly:

  1. Clear the area: remove all furniture and any existing flooring material.
  2. Clean the surface: ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Any cracks or imperfections should be repaired to provide a smooth base for the terrazzo.
  3. Install a vapour barrier: if you’re working on a concrete slab or subfloor, installing a vapour barrier can help prevent moisture issues.

Installing your terrazzo floor

Mixing the terrazzo 

The first step in the actual installation is mixing the terrazzo materials:

  1. Measure the ingredients: use a scale to measure the correct proportions of chips and binder.
  2. Mix thoroughly: combine the chips and binder in a large container, mixing until you achieve a uniform consistency.

Pouring the terrazzo 

Once your mix is ready, it’s time to pour:

  1. Spread evenly: pour the mixture onto the prepared subfloor, using a trowel to spread it evenly.
  2. Level the surface: use a screed to ensure the entire surface is level. This step is crucial for a smooth, professional finish.

Grinding and polishing

After the terrazzo has cured (this can take several days), it’s time to grind and polish the surface:

  1. Start with coarse grit: use a coarse grit grinder to remove any rough spots and level the surface.
  2. Progress to finer grits: gradually move to finer grit grinders, smoothing the surface with each pass.
  3. Polish for shine: finish with a polishing pad to give your terrazzo floor a high-gloss shine.

Sealing the floor

Sealing your terrazzo floor is essential to protect it from stains and damage:

  1. Choose a sealer: select a sealer appropriate for your terrazzo type (cement-based or epoxy-based).
  2. Apply evenly: use a roller or brush to apply the sealer evenly, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Allow to cure: let the sealer cure completely before using the floor.

Maintaining your terrazzo floor

Regular cleaning 

Keeping your terrazzo floor clean is simple:

  1. Sweep or vacuum: regularly remove dirt and debris to prevent scratching.
  2. Mop with a damp mop: use a pH-neutral cleaner and a damp mop to clean the surface.
  3. Avoid harsh chemicals: do not use abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals, as these can damage the surface.

Periodic maintenance 

  1. Re-seal as needed: depending on traffic and use, you may need to re-apply the sealer every few years.
  2. Polish to maintain shine: periodic polishing can help maintain the floor’s shine and appearance.

Are DIY terrazzo tiles always the best option?

While DIY terrazzo tiles can be a cost-effective and rewarding project, they are not always the best option for everyone. Engaging a professional flooring company specialising in terrazzo installation can be a better choice for several reasons. 

For instance, professionals bring extensive experience and expertise, ensuring that the installation is done correctly and efficiently, minimising the risk of errors that can occur with a DIY project. They have access to high-quality materials and advanced tools, which can enhance the final result's durability and aesthetic appeal. Additionally, professional installers can offer valuable advice on design choices and maintenance, providing a seamless and hassle-free experience that guarantees a stunning, long-lasting terrazzo floor.

Does DIY seem like too much work? Get the job done right with Policrete 

Not interested in a ‘do it yourself’ kind of project? Not to worry. Policrete has flooring professionals ready to tackle even the most complicated terrazzo ideas. 

At Policrete, we offer a range of flooring services to ensure your project is completed to the highest standards. Our team of skilled experts have meticulous craftsmanship and use top-quality materials to create beautiful, durable terrazzo floors. Plus, we offer personalised design consultations to help you achieve the perfect look for your space, and with comprehensive maintenance services, we’ll ensure your floors remain pristine for years to come. 

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