How to Clean Terrazzo Floors

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to Clean Terrazzo Floors
Intricate terrazzo floor. (colros flickr#248174845)

Terrazzo is a composite material with a base and an aggregate. Traditional terrazzo floors use a cement base and marble chips. The floor is laid over a 3-to-4 inch deep concrete pad. Marble chips are added at the end, then rolled onto the surface to level them. After curing, the floor is polished and buffed to a shine. Modern terrazzo floors are often called thin-set terrazzo. These floors use polymer resins instead of cement. Epoxy is a popular resin that's often used with terrazzo floors. Unlike traditional terrazzo floors, epoxy terrazzo is tightly sealed by the epoxy, and not subject to deep staining. Newer floors often use aggregates other than marble, including glass and other types of stones and objects.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Vacuum cleaner (without a beater bar)
  • Dust mop
  • pH-neutral stone cleanser
  • Mop
  • Bucket
  • Distilled water
  • Towels
  • Nylon-bristle brush
  • Floor scrubber
  • Floor polisher

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  1. 1

    Vacuum the terrazzo floor well to remove all grit. Do not use a beater-bar vacuum cleaner, as the beater bar can drag grit across the floor and leave scratch marks.

  2. 2

    Mop the floor with a pH-neutral floor cleanser made for stone. Do not use consumer floor cleansers, as they are not pH neutral, and may corrode or stain the floor. Allow the mop water to sit on the floor for five minutes to loosen dirt.

  3. 3

    Rinse mop the floor, changing the water frequently. Use towels to dry the floor's surface.

  4. 4

    Examine the floor on your hands and knees to see if mopping was sufficient. If there are stained areas, use a condensed mixture of stone cleanser and water, and scrub the area briskly with a nylon-bristle brush.

  5. 5

    Scrub the floor thoroughly with a power scrubber for large, very dirty floors. Clean the corners and edges by hand to prevent soap mixtures from re-drying and forming dirty pockets. Remove the dirty water residue with a mop and water. For the final rinse, use distilled water to prevent mineralisation of the floor (white residue that grows on the surface).

  6. 6

    Dry the floor thoroughly to prevent water spotting.

  7. 7

    Use a floor polisher to shine on the floor. Some traditional terrazzo floors require frequent waxing to maintain a stain-resistant surface. Determine the type of terrazzo floor you have to see if this step is necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Traditional, cement-based terrazzo floors should be sealed regularly because cement is porous and subject to staining. Properly polished, a terrazzo floor will look like a highly glossy stone floor.
  • Different resins respond differently to cleaning products. Try to purchase the correct products for your specific type of terrazzo floor.

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