Terrazzo material with a reputation
The techniques of producing terrazzo floors are different. It is mostly prepared by mixing ensemble and binder which is outpoured onto the surface. Using the metal dividers, the craftsmen can create different shapes on the floor filling in the created surfaces with a terrazzo of different colours. After the outpouring and levelling of terrazzo, comes the maintenance. When the foundation is solidified, terrazzo is polished using special machines until it reaches a certain level of smoothness.
Terrazzo floors (a word which comes from an Italian word “terrazzo”, which means terrace) look like mosaics. They are made of granules which are builted into the binder.
Terrazzo floors are present on the building scene for a relatively long time. Even the old Romans had floors similar to nowadays terrazzo. These floors used to be placed into the homes of rich aristocracy and into the public institutions. Terrazzo has always stood for prestige. After some time, terrazzo became more available when it comes to price, however it remained a choice for the people who care about aesthetics and longevity of the floor surface.
Terrazzo is a natural product, invented hundreds of years ago in the North Italy. According to the story, the artists and the sculptors who dealt with mosaics used to throw the litter on their terraces (small parts of marble and other materials) which were left over after their work. In time, these pieces were firmly locked into the ground creating a practical and an aesthetical likeable surface. In time, the craftsmen learned how to bind the marble and other pieces as well as swarfs with a stabile clay base, and also the way to make this surface shiny and smooth. So it began a long history of terrazzo floors which has lasted for many centuries.
Nowadays terrazzo floors are different form the ones the Romans had in the technique of production and in composition, although the essence is the same: granules and binder. Granules are usually marble, although materials such as glass, plastics, stone, porcelain, onyx, metal pieces, pearls, etc. are also used.
The binder which connects the pieces or the swarfs is usually cement, however it can be cement modified with polyacrylate or latex, polymer (epoxide, polyester), or it can be electro-conductive (this type of binder is used for special conditions and special purposes). Each type of binder gives certain physical characteristics to the floor, and depending on the characteristics and performances of the final product we need - we choose the binder.
A certain amount of stainer can be added in the binder in order to get terrazzo in different colours. A combination of different binder colours and ensemble gives very effective visual results.
The techniques of producing terrazzo floors are different. It is mostly prepared by mixing ensemble and binder which is outpoured onto the surface. Using the metal dividers, the craftsmen can create different shapes on the floor filling in the created surfaces with a terrazzo of different colours. After the outpouring and levelling of terrazzo, comes the maintenance. When the foundation is solidified, terrazzo is polished using special machines until it reaches a certain level of smoothness. However, instead of building in the terrazzo on the spot, terrazzo panels can be bought, which are prepared in advance and are ready for covering.
Terrazzo is mostly used for floors, but in the kitchens it can be used for walls which are to be protected from water, as well as for working surfaces in the kitchens, although this use is rare in the eastern part of Europe. The material is very practical – it is waterproof and easy to maintain. It is hard and relatively cold, and it is not usually placed in the rooms which are used by people all the time. All these characteristics have contributed to the usage of terrazzo usually in the rooms in which we use water and the ones which need easily maintained floors – bathroom and kitchen, hall and terraces. Though, today, terrazzo is used rarely in these rooms because it has been replaced by the ceramics and in the private rooms it stayed popular for use in the exterior (terraces, balcons…).
Lately, in public institutions, terrazzo has regained its popularity. Its practical characteristics – easy maintenance and extreme longevity as well as aesthetics, getting the most various patterns on the floor surface which gives an effective result in reshaping the interior spaces together with a low price – have made the designers and architects begin placing the terrazzo on the top lists.
Terrazzo is a material with many advantages. It is unusually beautiful, and due to the way of the montage (on the spot) the colours and patterns can be adjusted to the needs of the designes and the investors giving a unique result. It has an exceptionally long life. When it is placed inside, it will last not only for decades, but for centuries. Terrazzo is not dangerous for human health and it is an ecologically clean material. In its composition there are no chemicals dangerous for human health, and during the maintenance it is recommended to avoid aggressive soaps and oils and to use hot water and neutral cleaning agents.
All these characteristics, together with a remarkable beauty, make terrazzo very valuable.