Green Wednesday: Terrazzo Floors

From on March 05, 2008 in General Remodel

Today the spotlight is on terrazzo, and we guarantee this flooring choice is worthy of the attention. Below we’ll explain what terrazzo is, why you should use it, and finally, where you can find it.

What is terrazzo?

Terrazzo FloorTerrazzo is made with finely grounded aggregates, such as chips of marble, faux marble, quartz, granite, or glass, all held together by a cement or resin binder. The beautiful part is that many of these components are recycled, making Terrazzo an environmentally friendly choice. For instance, glass terrazzo is made from discarded car windshields, mirrors, beer bottles, recycled porcelain from kitchen sinks, and even crushed oyster shells. The combination of sources varies; all of it can be mixed and matched depending on desired colors, patterns, or textures.

When Terrazzo is installed, it is polished and sealed for a smooth and uniformly textured surface. Originally used in Italy as a low-cost flooring option, Terrazzo is recognized for withstanding decades. It is a popular material for floors and countertops, but it can also be used for walls, stairs, and other surfaces both inside the house and out.

What are the benefits of using terrazzo?

We’ve already mentioned environmental friendliness and longevity. But Terrazzo has numerous good qualities to boot. These include:

Terrazzo Floor

  • Limitless possibilities in color and design. Divider strips can be used to create customized patterns, seals, and visual effects. Terrazzo can also be tinted, adding to its sparkle and depth.
  • Durability comparable to granite, while being less porous than marble. Also, terrazzo resembles its non-cement additives. It can be as attractive as stone or ceramic, while costing much less.
  • Minimal maintenance. Terrazzo does not chip like other tiles. When the surface gets worn, it can easily be refinished and polished to look brand new.
  • The seamless surface can consist of various textures, including sleek and smooth, textured, or rustic.
  • Terrazzo is slip resistant and fire proof. It can be made resistant to grease, oil, and bacteria. This makes it a good choice for schools and hospitals, as well as for any high traffic area within the home.
  • Proper sealing protects terrazzo from stains and water, making it a popular choice for bathrooms, kitchens, and even swimming pools.
  • It is lightweight and can be applied over existing floors. Terrazzo installation is also flexible in that it can be applied like a traditional tile or mixed and poured in large swaths onsite.

Terrazzo BlocksWhere can I purchase it?

IceStone makes surfaces made from 100% recycled glass in a cement matrix. The precast slabs are ideal for countertops and backsplashes, tabletops, flooring, outdoor pavers, and more.

Vetrazzo surfaces are 85% glass, all of which is recycled. All their products are made in the U.S.

EnviroGLAS turns post-consumer and industrial glass destined for the landfill into surface and landscaping material. One example is EnviroSLAB, an environmentally friendly countertop for the kitchen, bathroom, or elsewhere.

Fritz Tile makes resilient terrazzo flooring from marble and granite chips. The company claims to make the only flexible terrazzo tile.

SensiTile vanity and kitchen countertops blend the durability of concrete with the latest in optical technology. Their handmade tiles fuse the organic quality of stone with technological effects.

Watch the making of an eco-friendly countertop
Terrazzo floors