Concrete is defined as cement mixed with water and an aggregate. Sand and gravel are traditional concrete aggregates. Ancient terrazzo concrete floors consisted of mortar and marble waste chips. Masons mixed the mortar and marble and spread the mixture over stone tiles and polished the sharp edges of the marble to create a decorative outer walkway or terrace. While the aggregate material of terrazzo flooring has become more varied over the centuries, the compositional formula for a terrazzo concrete floor remains virtually unchanged.
Choose an aggregate type and size. Terrazzo concrete floors consist of marble, glass, plastic, river rock or mother-of-pearl aggregates. Pebble-sized aggregate closely packs, giving the look of granite. Use large chunks of aggregate to show off the colour or material of the aggregate and create an assertive flooring appearance.
Select a mortar pigment. This step is optional. The Portland cement used to create the terrazzo concrete provides a natural white background for the aggregate. Dye the mortar to complement or offset the colour scheme.
Purchase Portland cement to use as the mortar. Use Quikrete only if you are working on a small project such as a porch or steps. If the terrazzo concrete is for a large room, use regular Portland cement to allow you time to work with the terrazzo mix.
Combine the Portland cement and aggregate in a 1:2.5 or 1:3 ratio. Higher aggregate content provides a more decorative appearance but will be more difficult to spread.
Add water according to the cement manufacturer's instructions.
- This Old House: Terrazzo Floors
- The National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, Inc.: Green Terrazzo
- Builder Bill: An Overview of DIY Decorative oncrete
- Concrete Construction: Terrazzo Topping
- The National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association, Inc.: Guide Specification for Structural Terrazzo
- Concrete Network: Use Fibers for Secondary Reinforcement
- Mix the terrazzo concrete in a wheelbarrow or concrete mixer. Be cautious when using a concrete drum mixer. The rotating action of a drum may cause the aggregate to break down if overmixed. Add Fibermesh to the terrazzo mixture to add strength to the terrazzo concrete mix.
- Wear a mask and gloves when working with Portland cement.
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images