How do I clean a terrazzo floor? Because this type of flooring is inexpensive, durable, and widely available, this question is a common one. By knowing how to answer it, you will be able to keep your terrazzo flooring bright and beautiful for many years, no matter what type of wear it is subjected to.
What Is Terrazzo
Terrazzo is a composite material of marble chips and concrete or resin that is combined to create smooth, luxurious flooring or countertop material that captures the beauty of marble in a more affordable way. Terrazzo is generally composed of two parts marble chips to one part binder (concrete or resin), and extra chips may be scattered on the top of the mixture for an even more marbled appearance. Special mixtures of terrazzo may also use mother of pearl or abalone shell for different appearances.
While the marble chips in terrazzo are durable, the binder is more porous and subject to stains, particularly for flooring. Cement is the most porous material, but a terrazzo floor can have a finishing sealer applied that will help the floor resist stains and liquid penetration. This is recommended as a preventative measure to keep your floor looking superb, but the sealer will need to be stripped and reapplied periodically to keep the floor looking new. Wax should not be used to coat a terrazzo floor, as it can cause the floor to be dangerously slippery and waxy buildup will dull the floor's polished sheen.
It is important to note that when a terrazzo floor is first laid, it will take time for the cement to cure. During that period, which can last several days or weeks, the floor may change color or have a mottled appearance. This is not staining, and as the floor cures the color will even out.
Steps to Answer How Do I Clean a Terrazzo Floor
Over time, even the best kept floors must be properly cleaned. Terrazzo floors are easy to clean with a few simple steps:
- Sweep the floor to remove loose dirt, crumbs, and other debris. A dry mop can also be useful if the floor is dusty.
- Using plain water or a neutral (neither acidic or alkaline) cleaner, wet mop the floor and let the cleaner sit on the floor for several minutes to dissolve dirt. It is important that the entire floor surface remain wet during this time, otherwise the loose dirt will simply dry back onto the floor.
- Rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water, or use a wet vacuum or squeegee to remove the dirty water. More than one rinse may be necessary to remove all dirt.
- When dry, buff the floor to restore shine.
Hiring a Professional
If your terrazzo floor has lost its luster or has stains you cannot remove with simple cleaning, it may be wise to hire a floor restoration specialist. A professional will be able not only to strip the sealer off the floor and reapply it properly, but they can also polish the floor's surface effectively with commercial equipment to restore its original shine. If you aren't experienced with cleaning different flooring types, hiring professional floor cleaners is a safe way to ensure your floor looks its best. Many cleaners offer free estimates or will have an online pricing list, allowing you to see if their services fit within your budget.
More Terrazzo Cleaning Tips
To keep your floor looking fantastic…
- Never use an oil-based cleaner or stain remover. Oil products can permanently discolor terrazzo flooring.
- If using a commercial cleaning product, even one specially formulated for terrazzo floors, test it in an inconspicuous area first to check for discoloration.
- Keep your floor from getting stained by placing mats or rugs in high traffic areas and near the refrigerator or stove, and wipe up any spills immediately.
- Establish a regular cleaning schedule to avoid long term buildup of dust, dirt, and debris on your floor. Regular cleaning will help you avoid overuse stains.
Terrazzo flooring is a beautiful and affordable choice because it can be used to create patterns and pictures, or just used as attractive solid flooring or tiles. If you can confidently answer the question "how do I clean a terrazzo floor" you will always be able to keep your floor bright and polished.