What is Terrazzo?

If you’ve been looking for a stylish and durable material for your floors, counters or other surfaces, there are few finishes more timeless than terrazzo. A material in use in some form for over 600 years, terrazzo continues to dazzle in all kinds of locations in a modern home.

Terrazzo: A Brief History

The Renaissance was known for being an incredible time for artists and architects with plenty of ground-breaking innovations in the arts coming about. Along side all of the fancy sculptures and haunting stained glass, there was a large amount of waste in scrap chips. It was likely an accidental discovery outside of an artisan workshop that led to terrazzo, but over time, Italians noticed that walking over that marble, glass, and other durable chips pushed them into the workshop floors.

The result was an early form of the breathtaking material we have today. Over time, the Italians learned to create terrazzo on purpose by scattering chips from workshops into clay bases, compressing them and polishing them for a more uniform look. It has been used in many famous locations such as St. Peter’s Basilica and George Washington’s Mount Vernon and whose popularity spread like wildfire in homes built between the 1940’s and 1960’s.

Look at the Sustainability

Terrazzo is considered a sustainable floor option, provided you choose one made the old fashioned way; out of recycled materials. Leftover bits of glass, marble, stone and even more modern materials like plastic can be included in a terrazzo floor to create a unique look. And with a zero VOC base, you’ll be hard pressed to find a floor that’s safer or greener. It’s even approved for LEED-certified buildings and contributes to the points that are required for LEED certification.

As long as there are manufacturing processes going on, there will be plenty of waste that can be turned into terrazzo. It’s an excellent way to use up these materials and prevent them from ending up in a landfill. Plus, the material is incredibly durable, even when used in high traffic areas like entryway floors. The only way you’ll need to worry is if you want a change.

Choosing Terrazzo for Your Home

Terrazzo is one of the most flexible surface coverings available, and considering its lifespan, one of the best values. Of course, if you’re not planning on being in your home for a while, you may find the cost to be a bit more than you budgeted for. It tends to be about the same price as high end tile. However, if you are in your dream home, or at least the one you plan to retire in, there’s nothing that works harder or lasts longer.

You can use terrazzo indoors or out, on floors, showers, walls, or as a backsplash; the possibilities are truly endless. Since it can be purchased as pre-made tiles or poured in place, it can also be a great solution for oddly shaped areas. There’s no pattern to match and no wrong direction to turn terrazzo tiles, making the tile option a reasonable DIY project for people who want to try their hand at their own shower or backsplash.

If you’d rather use a pour-in-place terrazzo option, you’ll likely need (and want) professional help. There’s a great deal of equipment and skill involved in getting everything just so, to keep your terrazzo at its best for the long haul. We would love to help you find your skilled terrazzo installer as well as any other real estate needs you may have. We want to be your real estate resource for life.

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