How to Repair Terrazzo Floors
Evidence of terrazzo floors goes as far back as the Roman Empire, probably because of their beauty and durability. Terrazzo floors are made of cement with marble chips and sometimes other stones scattered over the top before the cement has had a chance to dry.
After the floor is dry, the top of the stone and marble chips is ground down until the floor has an even sheen to it. However, even terrazzo can become damaged and need repair.
Clean the floor of all surface dirt by dust mopping. Remove any paint, adhesive or glue using a commercial paint stripper.
Use an ammoniated floor finish remover to rid the terrazzo of any wax or finish. Allow the stripper at least ten minutes to work and then use a buffer with a black stripping pad to loosen the wax. Vacuum the old stripper and wax with a wet/dry vacuum. You can test the floor to see if any finish remains by placing a drop of muriatic acid or hydrochloric acid toilet bowl cleaner on the floor. There is no finish remaining on the floor if the acid bubbles.
- Evidence of terrazzo floors goes as far back as the Roman Empire, probably because of their beauty and durability.
- Allow the stripper at least ten minutes to work and then use a buffer with a black stripping pad to loosen the wax.
Use an epoxy terrazzo repair kit to repair any cracks and divots that may exist. Inject the epoxy resin into the floor with the syringe that is included in the kit. Holes and divots should be filled with stones from the kit that match the terrazzo’s surrounding area. Try to match size and shape as closely as possible.
Start with a 60-grit metal bond diamond-polishing disk on a right angle grinder and polish the repaired area. Follow this process using progressively finer grinding disks until there are no scratches or swirl marks remaining on the floor. Work in small areas at a time and keep the area wet. Vacuum the slurry created by grinding before moving on to another area.
- Use an epoxy terrazzo repair kit to repair any cracks and divots that may exist.
- Holes and divots should be filled with stones from the kit that match the terrazzo’s surrounding area.
Attach a white polishing pad to the buffer and buff the floor until it has the desired gloss
- “Stone, Resilient and Wood Floor Care: Comprehensive Custodial Training Manual”; William R. Griffin; 2003
- Match your terrazzo floor colour to the epoxy repair kit.
- The floor striper will work faster and do a better job if it is used with hot water.
- Do not use any sharp scraping tools to remove paint or adhesives from the floor as they may add scratches to the floor.
- Terrazzo needs to be able to breathe, so avoid putting floor finish or sealer on the floor. The finish can lock in moisture and cause cracks to occur.
Peggy Epstein is a freelance writer specializing in education and parenting. She has authored two books, "Great Ideas for Grandkids" and "Family Writes," and published more than 100 articles for various print and online publications. Epstein is also a former public school teacher with 25 years' experience. She received a Master of Arts in curriculum and instruction from the University of Missouri.