One of the materials which I have embraced this year is terrazzo. Part of the reason is that terrazzo reminds me of Italy, where it was invented in the 16th Century; terrazzo is widely used in Italy in homes, lobbies and restaurants. Part of my interests is due to terrazzo’s sustainability, being made from remnants of marble, quartz and glass. I also like the Art Deco and 1950’s vibe, as can be seen here San Francisco in many residential developments; just take a drive through the outer neighborhoods and look at the beautiful terrazzo entry stairs, still colorful and intact.
What is terrazzo? Terrazzo is a composite material originally made of cement and marble remnants from quarries. Today, resin is also used now as a binder, while quartz, glass and metal are being used in addition to marble. Terrazzo is either poured on-site, or can be purchased in tile or slab form for easier (and often less expensive) installation.
Why choose terrazzo? In addition to the charmed history and sustainability, terrazzo is extremely durable, and is available in nearly unlimited colors, in a range of materials. Terrazzo, which retains warmth, is also a great choice when using radiant heating.
Where can you use terrazzo? I’m currently working on a project creating terrazzo stair treads and poured landing. But why stop there? Once sealed to provide water resistance, terrazzo can be used on any interior floor or wall surface, including kitchens and bathrooms.
What are the latest innovations? Resin is now being used to make terrazzo, providing a smoother finish which is also more resistant to scratching and cracking. Designers are now making furniture, lighting and accessories out of terrazzo.
What about maintenance? Terrazzo is easily cleaned with a mop or nylon brush and hot sudsy water…that’s all. Over time, poured concrete is susceptible to cracking, and requires that the floor be re-ground and polished by a professional.
David Bjørngaard, December 2016
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