Creating Terrazzo Style Floors with Polished Concrete and Aggregates

One of the reasons that concrete is considered such a versatile flooring option is that it can mimic other forms of flooring while still maintaining the advantages of concrete. Concrete can be made to look like wood, like tile, like stone – almost every type of flooring except for carpet.

There is no better example of this than the way concrete can be designed to look like terrazzo, one of the most popular styles of a  terrazzo floor and interior wall décor available.

What is Terrazzo Flooring?

Terrazzo is a world-famous flooring method with origins in 16th century Italy. Sitting on a considerable amount of excess marble and stone cuts, designers in Renaissance Italy placed the marble in cement and ground it by hand. It eventually created a very unique style of flooring that remains popular even today:

A genuine terrazzo floor is rarely used in today’s construction. But a terrazzo floor style tile is still extremely popular, used in everything from mid-century modern homes to casinos to commercial properties all throughout Colorado and the United States. Instead of creating terrazzo the way it used to be created – by placing the marble cuts in cement and grinding it down – most people use terrazzo style tiles, and create tile floors using either genuine terrazzo or tiles that mimic terrazzo.

Authentic terrazzo tiles, however, have many challenges – especially for commercial properties. They are very expensive, difficult to clean, fragile, and not necessarily designed for the amount of foot traffic and use that commercial properties receive. They can still be used in luxury homes, but in commercial properties, they are typically not ideal.

Luckily, concrete flooring with aggregate can provide an alternative to terrazzo. Though it may not have the same shimmer that the original terrazzo had, polished concrete flooring with the right aggregate can have an appearance that mimics terrazzo tile in almost every meaningful way.

Polished Concrete Flooring in a Terrazzo Style

Polished concrete is the act of laying concrete and then grinding it down with a fine abrasive grit until the top layer is removed and the exposed layer is bright and shiny – giving it a shiny, polished appearance. Polished concrete can be a single color. But it doesn’t have to be.

By grinding and smoothing down the top layers until you’ve reached the course aggregate, you can smooth and expose the aggregate to give an appearance that is very similar to terrazzo tile. In theory, different aggregate choices can have a different appearance, and like terrazzo, every inch of the flooring will be unique.

There are some differences between the two:

  • Concrete has more color limitations based on the aggregate used.
  • There is more aggregate per square foot in terrazzo than in concrete.

But the biggest difference is price and longevity. Terrazzo is as much as 4x-8x more expensive than polished concrete, which is prohibitively expensive even for many luxury commercial properties. Also, because it’s tile, it is harder to clean and much more susceptible to damage, especially in commercial properties where foot traffic, chemicals, and heavy machinery could damage it. Given the costs of terrazzo, this makes it even less ideal. With polished concrete, you can add an epoxy coating and it will last for decades at a time.

Contact Colorado Concrete Repair for Polished Concrete Styles and Estimates

Terrazzo is one of many polished concrete styles that are available for your commercial flooring. At Colorado Concrete Repair, we can provide you with an estimate for all different types of concrete and epoxy flooring, including polished concrete, and make sure that you have the best available service and support we can provide. Contact us today to get started.