How to Restore Terrazzo Floors

Written by laura bramble
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How to Restore Terrazzo Floors
Terrazzo flooring easy accommodates designs. (floor inlay image by Adrian Hillman from Fotolia.com)

Terrazzo has been around for centuries. Venetian workmen of the 15th century collected waste marble chips and blended them into cement, pouring the mixture for use as a flooring material. Terrazzo in an unpolished form was originally used on terraces; hence, the name. Eventually the flooring material was sanded, polished and used inside homes and building, partly because of its elegant look, but also for its ability to accommodate seamless design. While it is durable, it requires maintenance. Many mid-20th century homes feature terrazzo floors, but have carpet laid over them. These floors can be uncovered and restored to their original beauty.

Skill level:
Challenging

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Things you need

  • Wax-stripping floor cleaner
  • Floor sander/polisher
  • Diamond-crusted disks of varying coarseness
  • Matching marble chips and cement
  • Floor sealer/polish

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Chisel out any carpet tack marks, carpet strip nails, chips and gouges.

  2. 2

    Clean the floors with a cleaner and wax stripper. Remove all loose debris. Remove any stains with the appropriate removal method for the type of stain.

  3. 3

    Match marble chips to the flooring and create a cement base that is colour-matched to the old cement. Mix with the marble chips. You may be able to get professional help with this, even if you do the rest of the job yourself.

  4. 4

    Pour the marble cement mixture into the chiselled-out areas. Allow to dry, then grind and sand the patch flush with the floor.

  5. 5

    Grind the entire floor down with a diamond-coated disk. Continue the process in layers with successively finer disks until all scratches and stains are removed and the surface is smooth.

  6. 6

    Re-clean the floor. Rinse thoroughly, removing all debris and dust.

  7. 7

    Coat the floor with a terrazzo floor sealer/polish. Let the floor dry thoroughly.

  8. 8

    Buff the floor with a professional polisher until it shines

Tips and warnings

  • If you hire someone, make sure he is experienced in terrazzo floor restoration. Since these floors are not as common as they used to be, this will be a fairly select group of workers, but they will fashion the most seamless repairs.
  • To maintain the floor, clean it regularly with a neutral pH liquid cleanser only. Typical household cleaners are too alkaline.
  • Do not use oil-based products on the floor; they will cause staining.
  • Wipe up staining agents quickly to prevent staining.

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