Uncommon tips you need to know about terrazzo tiles

Posted on November 26, 2021November 24, 2021Categories Tiles Design

How frequently do you notice the surfaces you walk on? I hadn’t heard of “terrazzo tiles” until I went on a tour of Atlanta’s “Fabulous” Fox Theatre. With a Moorish motif, The Fox has magnificent terrazzo tiles floors.

Similar flooring from thousands of years ago has been discovered throughout Western Asia. But it was Italian mosaicists who invented terrazzo tiles in the 15th century. They allegedly used leftover tile from work to tile their own flooring. Terrazzo tiles are the hard surface that doesn’t absorb germs or water. In high-traffic locations like airports, business buildings, and hospitals, it’s often utilized. Terrazzo tiles are also gaining popularity in homes. It’s even “green” if it’s constructed of recycled glass or other materials and doesn’t release harmful chemicals.

Not only does it mean “terrace” in Italian, but it also defines material and a method of creating it. Terrazzo tiles may be simple or ornate. At first sight, terrazzo tiles and mosaic seem similar. The marble and glass used in mosaic are typically cubic (called tesserae) and cut especially for mosaic creation. Terrazzo tiles are made out of various-sized chips placed onto a colored concrete substrate and polished to a shine. Their surfaces may be mirrored or made of glass. Terrazzo tiles may be a single color or include portions of various hues. It may be as attractive and ornamental as a mosaic.

I’d adore terrazzo tiles floors in my home. But which one? Terrazzo tiles flooring comes in three varieties. Let’s start with the classic cementitious terrazzo tiles.

Terrazzo tiles Classico

The Venetians employed this kind of terrazzo tiles, with a few modifications. For them, it was inexpensive since it utilized scraps, clay, and goat’s milk as sealants. It took a long time to polish what was originally a rough surface into something smooth and pleasant to walk on. The expense of labor is part of what makes conventional terrazzo tiles costly today. It’s a labor-intensive procedure requiring expert personnel.

Traditional (or cementitious) terrazzo tiles need a strong cement foundation slab to begin. The National Terrazzo tiles & Mosaic Association says the best variant is sand-cushion. On top of the cement slab is a moisture-blocking barrier, then sand. Dividers — metal or plastic strips — are used to color the terrazzo tiles and let the cement stretch and compress without breaking. Then comes the terrazzo tiles “topping”, a cement-and-aggregate combination (marble, granite, etc.) It’s approximately three inches of flooring and weighs around 25 pounds per square foot. Also, the cement takes a long time to dry.

Why choose this heavy terrazzo tiles tile option? It may be placed both inside and outdoors, and it usually stays level once installed. It breathes; thus moisture issues are reduced. This is critical whether installing outside or in a basement. Glass, for example, is not suitable since it is not porous and cannot adhere to the hard concrete. Due to the way the cement dries, this kind of terrazzo tile works best with basic shapes like squares.

If heavy and complex old-school terrazzo tiles put you off, we’ll look at a “middle ground” terrazzo tiles type.

Polyacrylate Terrazzo tiles

These terrazzo tiles offer several benefits over traditional terrazzo tiles. The chips aren’t simply pressed into a thick cement; they’re placed in a matrix of cement and latex. Because the latex supports the concrete, the terrazzo tiles may be applied as thin as 3/8 inch. Instead of floating on a sand cushion above the cement subfloor, it’s glued to it. Because they’re typically connected to an existing concrete slab, polyacrylate terrazzo tiles systems cure faster than conventional terrazzo tiles.

Polyacrylate terrazzo tiles flooring is cheaper since they cure quickly and need less labor and product. Terrazzo tiles are a wonderful option for your house if you already have a level surface. No sand cushion means a polyacrylate terrazzo tiles floor can’t be placed over an uneven surface. The existing concrete floor must have joints at specified distances (dependent on floor size) with dividers over the joints. You can add additional separators to create further color variations, but they don’t help prevent cracking unless they’re over joints. Because the terrazzo tiles’ top layer is so thin. It weighs approximately 4.5 lbs/sqft.

Because polyacrylate terrazzo tiles are permeable, they may be used outdoors. Unlike cementitious terrazzo tiles, polyacrylate terrazzo tiles allow for the use of glass and mirror shards, even recycled. The aggregate may have various sizes. Polyacrylate may be colored to almost any hue, even brighter than cementitious terrazzo tiles. Because it’s thin and cures fast, it’s often used on walls. The polyacrylate terrazzo tiles flooring I’d want to have. Unlike other epoxy terrazzo tiles, it doesn’t need any smelly solvents. But it has its own benefits. Learn why epoxy terrazzo tiles are today’s most popular terrazzo tiles. You can read about Uncommon secrets on how to clean your terrazzo tiles by clicking here.

What’s the use of a third choice if cementitious terrazzo tiles are good for basements and outdoors, and polyacrylate terrazzo tiles provide for more color options? Previously, there was just one option. Then came epoxy, or resin-based, terrazzo tiles in the 1970s, revolutionizing the industry and making it much cheaper. The National Terrazzo Tile & Mosaic Association says epoxy dominates the terrazzo tiles industry. It’s the least prone to scratching, fading, cracking, or staining.

Depending on the thickness, epoxy terrazzo tiles flooring may be installed over a prepared concrete slab or even over plywood sub-flooring. It’s placed in multi-story structures since it’s so light. Intricate, multi-colored patterns are best achieved using epoxy terrazzo tiles. It may be placed with minimal dividers, particularly over plywood. So mold, mildew, and bacteria can’t grow on epoxy.

Moisture may be trapped between the concrete slab and the terrazzo tiles topping due to the non-breathable nature. For this reason, some builders construct vapor barriers between them, causing the topping to come away. It also can’t be placed outside due to its non-breathable nature and the epoxy’s fading ability. Another disadvantage is the solvent used in epoxy terrazzo tiles installation and cleaning. Only certain solvent-free variants may be utilized in typical ventilation systems like hospitals. It’s too powerful otherwise.

As you can see, each kind of terrazzo tile has benefits and drawbacks. They’ll all be more costly than other flooring options. Next, we’ll look at how to install terrazzo tiles.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking to install terrazzo tiles, this guide will come in quite handy as it will inform you about the requirements as regards installing terrazzo tiles.