Terrazzo is making a big comeback in architectural flooring. This centuries-old flooring is enjoying new life as architects and designers recognize its environmental friendliness, durability, and ageless beauty. Through Kafka Granite’s longstanding relationship with T&M Supply, terrazzo suppliers and contractors use Kafka aggregates in gorgeous flooring all around the country! Here’s the first in a series discussing some hot architectural trends. So let’s find out more about terrazzo style and terrazzo flooring aggregates!
Terrazzo Flooring – Humble Origins, Timeless Appeal
These floors began life over 1500 years ago as Venetian mosaic workers began carting home marble castoffs to create terraces at home. Their first floors were rough and hard on the feet, gradually being polished and worn smooth by time and use.
Recognized for its glimmering beauty beneath the Italian sun, terrazzo gained its first advancement. Workers began to press the chips into a clay base, then ground and polish them to a high shine. The end result was stunning and durable and was in use often from that time forward. Terrazzo floors lay in St. Peter’s Basilica and even George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon.
In modern times, terrazzo hit a peak of popularity in the architecture of the 50s. Modern-style architects made frequent use of it in the southeast and southwest regions. A rising cost of installation saw a decline in its use at the start of the 70s. New manufacturing and installation techniques have helped bring the price down. An increased awareness of environmental sustainability makes terrazzo an attractive option. The flexibility, durability, and natural beauty of terrazzo promises it will continue to be a trendy option for decades to come.
The Benefits of Terrazzo
These floors are unquestionably beautiful. Their unmatched elegance and incredible durability have helped the technique survive to modern times. These floors use flexible metal divider strips that allow unlimited design opportunities. They can be set using Portland cement or thin set epoxy. The aggregates which make the bulk of the flooring come in a host of materials and colors, including granite, quartz, marble, mother of pearl, synthetic materials, and recycled glass. Epoxy can be tinted to match any color scheme. Imagination is the only limit in designing these floors. They can create unique shapes, logos, or patterns and match any décor. Current architectural design trends make elegant use of bold and dramatic color schemes. They also showcase the natural beauty of our earth’s stone aggregates. Terrazzo gives you the best of both worlds in an incredibly durable surface.
Terrazzo offers a considerable return on investment. The structure of the material offers incredible durability. The epoxy terrazzo floors boast the lowest life-cycle cost of any hard floor surface. Terrazzo typically lasts as long as the structure it’s housed in. Terrazzo is also a low-maintenance material. Once installed and finished, the polished surface will maintain its look and beauty for decades to come even under heavy foot traffic. Epoxy terrazzo is also chemically resistant and more flexible than its predecessor while offering heavy compression strength.
Used indoor or out, terrazzo also makes fantastic bar tops, counters, table tops, and vanities. Terrazzo, like many hard floor options, can be slippery. When used in areas with small children or the elderly, consider applying a non-slip adhesive to the surface.
With its origins as a recycled product, terrazzo has always been a sustainable flooring. These days, terrazzo’s regional sourcing, durability, indoor air quality only add to its value. Use of recycled content such as porcelain, glass, and mirror in terrazzo flooring can help a building achieve LEED certification.
These floors last for decades with remarkably low maintenance needs. An annual stripping and resealing can help extend the lifespan with ecologically friendly water-based products and regular maintenance is as simple as dry and damp mopping and semi-regular spray buffing. They can withstand heavy traffic without regular replacement.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Terrazzo is mostly composed of naturally occurring or recycled materials. The granite, quartz, and marble chips are naturally occurring materials specially crushed and dried for use in epoxy terrazzo floors. Porcelain, glass, and mirror chips have a similar origin, but rather than being quarried, can come from factory cast-offs or recycled material. Even the dividing strips and steel substructure can incorporate recycled metals. The extreme longevity and low energy usage required for maintaining these beautiful floors grants them highly favorable embodied energy for their life cycle, meaning the energy used to create and sustain them is lower than other flooring options.
Air Quality and Off-Gassing
Consumers are becoming more aware and concerned about the off-gassing habits of the products in their homes and places of business. The components of terrazzo, whether they are cement or thin set epoxy based, have zero-VOC materials. This means a finished floor with little to no off-gassing. Terrazzo is also free of moisture, mold, and microbial growth since it offers a non-porous surface. The end result is a product that does not contribute to poor air quality.
Terrazzo helps create a stylish, unique look in any space, whether a custom home with dramatic flair or the lobby of a high-rise building. The unique properties of terrazzo make it an artist’s medium, allowing for unending design options. The proven durability terrazzo is showcased in its age; this is a product that improves as it ages and lasts a lifetime. With considerable environmental benefits during its manufacturing process and beyond, it is a material you can feel good about using. Terrazzo helps builders achieve LEED status and safeguards the health of those in buildings it resides in. Regardless of placement, terrazzo offers the best of all worlds – stunning design, remarkable durability, and environmental sustainability.