How to Install Terrazzo Tiles

Jim Williams
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Terrazzo is a composite material consisting of marble, quartz, granite, or other natural stones. It's ground, poured with a binder, cured, then polished to create a smooth surface. Terrazzo tile has been around in many commercial applications for centuries; in fact, it originated in early neolithic buildings (ca. 9,000 to 8,000 B.C.) in Western Asia, and made famous with Venetian construction. Recently, this type of tile has become more wide spread for residential properties due to its durability and sleek look.

With careful planning and the right tools, you can install your own terrazzo tile flooring. Follow these basic tips to install terrazzo tiles:

  1. Selecting the right type of tile: Select and order terrazzo tile flooring. Verify that type, finish, dimensions, color, and pattern, and quantity are clearly identified in the order.

  2. Preparing the subfloor: Prepare your subfloor by removing any carpet, debris, and dirt. Eliminate squeaks and soft spots. You can prime the subfloor by applying a thin layer of skim coat. Skim coat is a cement-based treatment that will seal in any cracks or holes. Once the skim coat dries, sweep and vacuum to remove any remaining dirt.

  3. Measuring the area: Begin the actual installation process by properly measuring your floor. Start with the longest straight line of the room and measure from the outside wall to the center and make a mark. Then measure down the wall the same distance, marking as you go. This will be a reference point for your installation process. Next, fit a line of tiles while they are still dry, starting in the center and marking as you go.

  4. Installing the terrazzo tile: As you dry-fit your tiles, make any cuts you need to make for tiles that will fit along the edge, or along the wall. Once you have dry-fit all your tiles, spread your adhesive using a trowel. Let the adhesive sit for a few moments and lay your first tile. Make sure to butt each tile against each other. Once all your tiles are in place, go over the floor with a roller.

  5. Seal the tile: Allow your tiles to dry for at least 12 hours. Afterwards, apply a thin layer of sealer, based on the tile manufacturer's recommendations. Allow the sealer to dry for about 24 hours then gently clean with a wet mop. If applied correctly, the water should bead on top of the sealer.

  6. Enjoy your new floor!

Terrazzo tiles create a beautiful mosaic of colors and offer both durability and longevity. Good luck in your construction – and email us with questions!

More Resources:

DIY Network, “How to Install Terrazzo Floor Tiles

Yahoo! Voices, “Installing Terrazzo Tile

Wikipedia, “Terrazzo

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