Terrazzo Floor Polishing Steps
Due to their extremely high durability, we install terrazzo flooring systems in the highest-traffic commercial use cases, including stadiums, airports, and municipal buildings. Because of the extreme traffic these floors receive, terrazzo may require occasional repolishing to look as good as when installed.
At Craftsman Concrete, we specialize in wax-free terrazzo floors. In other words, terrazzo floors that are polished rather than sealed with wax. As you’ll read in this article, terrazzo floor polishing has many benefits over traditional waxing and stripping systems. While we focus on poured terrazzo floor polishing in this article, the same information also applies to tile terrazzo floors.
If you have a terrazzo floor that needs to be repolished, give us a call for a free on-site consultation.
Step 1 — Initial Grind and wax removal
The first step of terrazzo floor polishing is an aggressive initial grind using 50 or 100-grit diamond tooling. This grinding step is necessary to remove contaminants such as dirt or any old floor wax buildup. If the buildup of floor wax is especially heavy, it may require chemical stripping before the initial floor grinding steps.
Step 2 — Diamond Polish
After thoroughly grinding the surface of the terrazzo to remove any contaminants, we will polish the freshly exposed terrazzo surface to the desired level of reflectivity. For epoxy-based systems, floors are ready to be polished immediately after the initial grinding step. Reactive silicate densifiers must be added to Portland cement-based systems to increase hardness and stain resistance.
We run 200 and 400-grit diamond pads to create a natural-looking, semi-gloss finish. We use finer diamond tools, up to 3500-grit, for mirror-finished terrazzo floor polishing.
Step 3 — Stain Guard
Although terrazzo flooring systems have been around for hundreds of years, we have significantly improved the quality of sealer applied to floors in recent years. In the past, we sealed terrazzo floors with topical floor wax to protect the floor and enhance the color of aggregates in the terrazzo. We now use high-quality, penetrating sealers to protect terrazzo, creating a long-lasting, low-maintenance flooring installation.
Wax-Free Terrazzo Systems
At Craftsman Concrete Floors, we specialize in wax-free terrazzo flooring systems. Not only do wax-free systems reduce terrazzo flooring costs for end-users, they also provide many functional benefits, both for Portland cement and epoxy-based terrazzo floors.
Drawbacks of Waxed Terrazzo Floors
Terrazzo floor installers have used floor wax for over 100 years to protect and enhance the appearance of terrazzo floor systems. However, floor wax has many downsides that are worth considering.
- Floor wax is soft. Contaminants and debris can be pushed into the surface of the wax where they cannot be removed by sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming.
- Low-Abrasion resistance. Waxed terrazzo floors will quickly show scratching from regular foot-traffic
- Floor wax is slippery. Waxed terrazzo floors are much more slippery than floors utilizing penetrating sealers.
- High maintenance costs. Waxed floors require frequent stripping and rewaxing, leading to increased maintenance costs.
Benefits of Wax-Free Terrazzo Systems
- Extremely Hard Wear Surface. The primary benefit of wax-free terrazzo systems is that the floor’s wear surface is a highly durable terrazzo matrix, not a soft wax coating. This translates to a floor that shows very low wear, even when subject to high traffic.
- Low Maintenance Costs. Our penetrating sealer-based system can last up to 5 years without any maintenance.
- Slip Resistant. Polished Terrazzo Floors are one of the most slip-resistant hard surface floors.
- High Abrasion Resistance. Because terrazzo is primarily made up of stone aggregates such as granite and marble, its surface is extremely scratch and impact resistant.
Proper Care of Terrazzo Floors
Due to their reduced maintenance requirements, maintaining wax-free terrazzo floor systems is simple. Below are some basic polished terrazzo floor maintenance guidelines.
Commercial Terrazzo Maintenance
- Dust Mop Regularly. Dirt, sand, and grime are abrasive to terrazzo floors and will increase the frequency of professional floor maintenance services.
- Clean with a floor scrubber. An appropriately sized floor scrubber with a non-abrasive pad and clean water is the most efficient way to mop a large terrazzo floor.
- Use a terrazzo-tested floor cleaner. We recommend Prosoco’s 2010 all-surface cleaner. A harsh cleaner can dull terrazzo finishes and will increase maintenance costs over time.
Residential Terrazzo Maintenance
- Use robotic vacuums. Daily vacuuming will decrease the need for professional terrazzo floor restoration services. This is the most important thing a homeowner can do to extend the life of their floor.
- Wet mop when needed. We recommend using a euro-style microfiber wet mop with warm water. Always use a terrazzo-tested floor cleaner to ensure compatibility. Further, terrazzo cleaners will always rinse clean, eliminating any buildup that may occur from soapy or waxy cleaners.
About Craftsman Concrete Floors
Craftsman Concrete Floors has been installing decorative concrete floors in Texas since 1999. We specialize in providing high-quality installations for both commercial and residential projects.