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Knowledge BaseTerrazzo

Can old terrazzo floors be restored?

Terrazzo flooring has been around for hundreds of years, and in the UK at least since 1881 – when Diespeker came to the UK!

Just take a look at the floor when you’re next travelling on the Underground, visiting an older hospital or school, going to the theatre, even walking across a concourse. There’s plenty of terrazzo in evidence from years gone by.

So it’s unsurprising that old terrazzo is sometimes uncovered during a building refurbishment, whether that’s residential or commercial. Trends do change, and terrazzo has sometimes been covered up by wood flooring or tiles. In some cases, carpet is stuck down on to it.

Now, with the aesthetic qualities of the material better recognised, coming across a heritage terrazzo floor can be an exciting find. But the chances are it won’t be in top condition. The dilemma here is whether the terrazzo should just be covered over again, dug up and replaced with a different material, or restored?

As terrazzo specialists with an interest in heritage, we would naturally recommend the third option. But only if it is practical, as successful restoration does depend on a number of factors.

If the terrazzo is in really bad condition or isn’t particularly attractive in the first place, it will make better sense from a financial and aesthetic point of view to replace it. And of course, it you like the material, you can opt to install a new terrazzo.

However, if it is an appealing terrazzo and in reasonable condition, then restoration is on the cards.

How can damage be repaired?

It depends on what the damage is. Old terrazzo that hasn’t been looked after may be cracked, scratched or stained. Colours may have faded. In some cases chippings will have come loose. The surface may have been damaged by glue from a material put on top of the original floor. There may be holes if screws or nails have been applied to fix the covering layer in place.

  • Firstly, glue spots, debris or other substances like carpet will need to be removed to take the terrazzo back to a repairable state.
  • Then repairs can take place. This requires careful matching of the existing terrazzo in terms of chippings and colour tones. Diespeker holds a vast selection of chippings in stock so we are likely to have the right style readily available.
  • Older terrazzo flooring is likely to be made from a cement based terrazzo rather than resin, but we will advise which method will work best for your repairs.
  • Finally the restored surface needs to be ground, to restore the depth of the original colours, then polished to bring out the natural beauty of the terrazzo before a final seal is applied.

So long as you then keep the floor clean and reseal it from time to time, your heritage terrazzo floor will last for many more decades to come.

The process is the same for restoring a floor or other terrazzo surface that hasn’t been covered up but shows signs of damage.

The Diespeker team will advise on the possibility of restoring a terrazzo floor, and the potential costs involved which will depend on the size and condition of the floor.



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