Epoxy, Cementitious and Microterrazzo – In situ Terrazzo Floors
Terrazzo flooring is becoming a popular trend among prominent designers worldwide, primarily due to its durability, design flexibility, and minimal environmental impact. In fact, Terrazzo floors are known to outlast the life expectancy of the buildings where they are installed. The term “Terrazzo” originates from the Italian word “Terraces,” and it was accidentally created by Venetian marble workers in the 15th century. These workers discovered a unique way to make use of discarded marble slab chips by embedding them in clay to surface their terraces. Over time, this process evolved, and the aggregates range grew to include glass, mother of pearl, clear and coloured glass, granite, in addition to the original marble. In situ terrazzo is a technique where aggregates are mixed with a binder and poured to form a monolithic floor with minimal joints, creating a seamless surface. The terrazzo floors are then ground and polished in multiple sequences to achieve the desired sheen and feel. Because of the bespoke nature of the application and mixing of terrazzo floors, every application is unique and unrepeatable. Terrazzo floors can be customized in terms of the background binder’s colour, size, type, and color of aggregates.
Types of Terrazzo binders
Epoxy Terrazzo is a type of terrazzo flooring that was invented in the 1970s when resin-based polymers were developed. This flooring is made by mixing decorative aggregates with an epoxy resin-based formulation to create a thin set Epoxy Terrazzo.
Epoxy Terrazzo is a popular choice for indoor decorative flooring as it has a quick pour-to-grind duration thanks to the fast-curing properties of epoxy (usually overnight). Additionally, Epoxy Terrazzo is highly durable and has a strong surface that is less prone to cracking compared to Cementitious Terrazzo.
Another advantage of Epoxy Terrazzo is its high design flexibility due to its ease of pigmentation. This allows the flooring to come in a wide range of colours to match any design scheme.
Cementitious (Cement based) Terrazzo
Cementitious Terrazzo, which originated in 15th-century Italy, is the traditional form of terrazzo. The use of cement and polymer in the binder gives it a classic and rustic look that is reminiscent of old Venetian terraces. Cementitious Terrazzo is thicker and heavier than Epoxy Terrazzo, allowing for larger grades of aggregates to be incorporated into the mix. It offers a wide range of colours to meet the needs of designers.
One of the main advantages of Cementitious Terrazzo is its resistance to Ultraviolet (UV) rays, making it suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications. Unlike Epoxy Terrazzo, Cementitious Terrazzo will not yellow or discolor due to UV degradation, which is also known as aliphatic resistance.
Microterrazzo is a flooring option that is created by mixing liquid polymers with modified cementitious powders. It can be installed at thicknesses as thin as 5-6mm to create a seamless floor. It combines the advantages of both Epoxy and Cementitious Terrazzo to provide a durable, abrasion-resistant, and UV-resistant finish that can be used both indoors and outdoors.
No matter which terrazzo system you choose, they all comply with global green building standards thanks to their extreme sustainability factors, including recycled content, low VOCs, and locally sourced raw materials. Terrazzo is known to have a lifespan of over 80 years on average and requires minimal maintenance to maintain its aesthetics over the years, making it the most cost-efficient option when compared with other decorative systems. If your terrazzo floors begin to show signs of wear and tear, a simple repolish and reseal will restore them to their original glory.
With Terrazzo, there are no limits to your design aspirations as it can accommodate any design requirement you may have. However, it’s important to note that professional and well-trained applicators are required to achieve the desired outcome. Duphill’s Engineering and Technical team provides clients with a durable, attractive, and guaranteed floor that stands the test of time.