Types of Terrazzo Flooring
Thinset Terrazzo Flooring
Thinset or poured terrazzo flooring is the most common type of terrazzo floor installation. This type of terrazzo flooring offers incredible benefits such as longevity and durability, high impact and chemical resistance, low maintenance costs, and a timeless appearance. However, poured terrazzo flooring is challenging to install and requires specialized labor and materials.
Poured terrazzo flooring has one of the highest upfront installation costs of any type of flooring available. However, as discussed in this article, terrazzo flooring can provide one of the lowest long-term flooring costs for the correct use case. For this reason, we install terrazzo flooring in high-traffic use cases such as stadiums, municipal buildings, schools, and even jails.
Terrazzo tile can achieve a similar aesthetic as poured terrazzo flooring with a more straightforward installation at a lower cost. Modern terrazzo tiles generally come in large format sizes, such as 24″x 24″, providing a more contemporary appearance than other tiles. However, large-format tiles are more expensive to install and manufacture because of their size. Although Terrazzo Tiles are less costly than poured epoxy terrazzo flooring, they’re one of the most expensive types of tile installations available.
A residential terrazzo tile flooring installation.
Variables That Drive Cost
Terrazzo flooring combines an epoxy resin binder, marble dust, and other aggregates. These aggregates are made of marble chips; however, granite, glass, polished metals, and shells are also commonly incorporated. One benefit of terrazzo flooring is that many of these materials can be recycled, creating a floor with more environmental benefits than other types of flooring, such as hardwood or ceramic tile. The color and quality of aggregates are highly variable and significantly impact the cost of a finished floor.
Aggregate Pricing Overview
- Marble Chips can range from $25-$100 per 50lb bag
The overall square footage of the installation impacts the cost of terrazzo flooring. Because we most often install terrazzo floors on large projects, such as stadiums and schools, economies of scale usually kick in at 30,000 sq. ft. or more. That means for small projects, such as residential kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, the price per square foot will be higher than for larger jobs, such as municipal buildings. Because terrazzo flooring materials are highly specialized, material costs per square foot are also higher for projects under a few thousand square feet.
There is a direct correlation between the complexity of a terrazzo flooring design and a project’s cost. One of the terrazzo’s most desirable features is its endless design flexibility. Logos and other complex designs, such as flowers, birds, and murals, are often incorporated into terrazzo flooring. Because these intricate designs require a large variety of aggregates and epoxy colors as well as custom-bent metal divider strips, floors with complex designs cost more. Terrazzo flooring cost for single-color floors with simple divider strip patterns will always be much lower than for intricate floors. Fortunately for homeowners, most residential installations tend to be simple in design.
Cove Base and Stair Treads
Terrazzo material is often poured into a cove base, another significant benefit of this flooring installation. If you’re unfamiliar, a cove base is a curve type of base-board molding incorporated directly into the floor. This molding is often used in public restrooms or kitchens, allowing easy cleaning and preventing moisture damage to walls. Because cove base must be sculpted and polished by hand, this addition means an increase in cost.
Further, terrazzo can be poured onto stair treads on both horizontal and vertical planes. Because of the amount of hand detail work involved in installing and polishing this installation, staircase terrazzo can have a high cost.
Other Cost Considerations
Thin-set terrazzo flooring is generally installed directly on a structural concrete slab. Subfloor preparation includes grinding the existing subfloor and installing an epoxy-based primer. This primer is required to ensure a high level of adhesion between the structural concrete slab and the terrazzo flooring. Subfloor preparation for new construction will always be less expensive than renovation projects, as we must remove fewer contaminants from the slab for new construction projects.
Existing Flooring Demolition
When installing terrazzo flooring in a renovation project, we must carefully demolish the existing flooring to prevent damage to the subfloor. This demolition can add $2-4 per foot in additional costs.
Thin-set Terrazzo Flooring Cost
- Basic thin-set terrazzo flooring ranges from $40-60 per square foot
- Terrazzo flooring with complex patterns can range from $60-$100 per square foot
- Terrazzo flooring with exotic aggregates can cost as much as $150 per square foot
Terrazzo Tile Cost
- High-Quality terrazzo tiles start around $30 per square foot
- Depending on size and complexity, the installation cost can be $10-20 per square foot
How long will installation take?
The installation will take at least three days for small projects such as residential bathrooms or kitchens. Because terrazzo is a poured product requiring cure time, it is impossible to complete these installations in fewer days. The installation time will vary based on the overall square footage for larger jobs such as commercial buildings.
Long-term terrazzo flooring costs
Because terrazzo flooring is extremely durable, these floors provide a long-term solution for buildings that require a very long life. In fact, for most terrazzo installations, these floors will generally exceed the usable life of the building. Terrazzo maintenance is usually as simple as sweeping, mopping, or auto-scrubbing. Because of this, the cost of a terrazzo floor across its life is generally lower than any other type of flooring. Further, for businesses that cannot accept any downtime, such as stadiums, business owners can be confident that their terrazzo flooring will be in good order through