Terrazzo is a quite a bit different from the natural stone floors we most commonly work with. It’s a type of flooring material that was made popular by Venetian builders in Italy in the 1920s, but is ultimately descended from styles of design that date back hundreds of years. A typical Terrazzo floor consists of chips of marble or granite set in concrete and polished to result in a smooth surface.
This Terrazzo floor, installed in the hallway of a property in Bridgend, South Wales, was in relatively good physical condition, but it had clearly lost its shine due to the build-up of dirt and muck over the years. In fact, it was first installed in around 1940! The owner was keen to have it rejuvenated to its best possible condition, so they asked me to come in to see what I could do.
Cleaning and Burnishing a Dirty Terrazzo Tiled Floor
My first course of action was to apply Tile Doctor Pro Clean liberally across the floor and leave it to dwell for a short period. This is a high alkaline cleaner that is designed to deal with light to moderate soil build-up, and to strip away any old sealer remaining on the floor. I scrubbed the product in using a black pad fitted to a rotary machine and vacuumed up the resulting cleaning with a wet-vac machine.
Next, to restore the shine to the floor, I undertook a process known as burnishing, which involves the application of diamond encrusted polishing pads. We will typically start with a Coarse grit pad to level off any uneven areas of the floor and grind down any particularly stubborn marks and stains. Then, we gradually refine the polish on the floor using Medium and Fine grit pads. A small amount of water is used as lubrication with each pad.
After I had finished applying the first three pads in our four-pad system, I gave the floor a thorough rinse and left it to dry overnight.
Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor
I returned to the property the next day and immediately ran some damp tests to check for excess moisture issues, which one might expect with an old floor like this one. Thankfully, the floor proved dry – and I could finish the burnishing process with the fourth and final Very Fine diamond encrusted burnishing pad, which achieved a beautiful shine finish.
Finally, I sealed the floor with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, an impregnating sealer which provides robust protection and enhances the coloured patterns in the Terrazzo.
As you can see from the photos above, the floor is looking so much more colourful and bright after a deep clean, polish and a fresh seal. The customer was over the moon!