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Care for Terrazzo

Made of white portland cement and tan and white marble chips (the old method), or epoxy and marble chips (the new method), and formed into large "tiles" or slabs, terrazzo is a long-lasting, stone-like material. It's not a terribly common residential flooring material, but a friend of ours grew up in a late-1950s house with it in the front hall. So we'll humor him (and others like him) by including a few tips here:

  • Sweep and mop frequently to remove abrasive dirt, sand, and dust.
  • Don't use household cleaners. Most detergents and floor-cleaning products contain alkalis, which will damage the finish. For best results, use a commercial cleaner made especially for terrazzo.
  • Use a wet mop and change the rinse water frequently to keep it clean.
  • Buff occasionally with an electric buffer.
  • To remove tough soil, use an electric floor-scrubbing machine, then buff.

Cement-based terrazzo must be sealed occasionally with a penetrating sealer to reduce its porosity and prevent staining. Use a sealer especially made for terrazzo.

Never clean terrazzo with soaps and scrubbing powders containing detergents, water-soluble inorganic salts, or crystallizing salts. They can damage the finish.