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Terrazzo Floor Grinding and Polishing
Dec 19 , 2020

Terrazzo flooring requires very little maintenance to maintain its finish over time making it a very popular choice for high traffic commercial buildings that also need to maintain an upscale image, although the finish wears very well, it will eventually need to be mechanically ground and polished again like it was when it was originally installed. Grinding the terrazzo surface with coarse diamond impregnated discs allows the removal of deep scratches, surface stains, old sealers and waxes, and other imperfections. After the coarse diamond grind is completed, we begin removing the scratches that are left behind by gradually grinding the floor with finer grit diamond pads until we have reached the desired finish per our clients request (Matte – High Luster). The diamond grinding and polishing process can vary greatly from one project to another depending on the condition of the terrazzo, lightly worn terrazzo may only need a 4 step polish and finish while a heavily worn floor may require a 10 step grind and polish. The best way to tell what your floor needs is to consult with your terrazzo restoration specialists.

Terrazzo Grinding and Polishing


How to Polish Terrazzo Floors

Terrazzo is a combination of crushed pieces of many substances including quartz, marble, and granite that is immersed in a cement-like base. It is usually ground and polished which transforms it into a smooth surface often used to create textured flooring.

While terrazzo is beautiful to look at, it does need to be cared for correctly. Unlike a wood floor that needs constant work or marble that must be buffed regularly, terrazzo is not that difficult to keep up. Here are a few steps for taking care of your terrazzo flooring.

Check First

Before applying polish or sealants, contact the manufacturer of the terrazzo flooring or the person who installed it. If the wrong polish is applied, it could damage the floor. Most recommended polishing compounds are available at home improvement stores. Be sure to check with the manufacturer before any procedure.

Step 1 - Start Dusting

The first order of business when cleaning a terrazzo floor is to use a soft dust mop to clean the floor before washing. Use a dry dust mop or clean towels across the flooring to pick up loose debris and dust.

Step 2 - Wash it Down

Once the floor has been lifted of dust, take a soft sponge mop and immerse it into a bucket with warm water. Wring out excess water before touching it to the floor. Using soap or vinegar on the terrazzo floor is not recommended. Soap can leave residue while the acid from the vinegar may leave marks on the flooring.

Step 3 - Mopping the Mess

Using the sponge mop, start mopping the floor in vertical strokes; horizontal strokes tend to leave more marks from the mop. Use clean water and go over the floor numerous times with the mop to loosen dirt and grime. Wring the mop after each stroke.

Step 4 - Allow for Drying Time

Once the floor has been washed with the mop, use soft, clean white towels to dry the floor thoroughly. It is best to get down in your hands and knees and dry the floor accordingly so no streaks will be visible.

Step 5 - Decide if You Should Polish

Depending on the foot traffic of the flooring in the house, it may be necessary to seal and polish the terrazzo floor if it appears dull. There are specific products available at home improvement stores for polishing the terrazzo material, as well as sealing the polish once it has been applied.

Step 6 - Read the Directions

Before applying the store-bought polish and sealant, be sure to read the directions on the product. The National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association does not recommend giving your floor a shiny appearance. If you are not sure what type of product to apply to your terrazzo flooring, either call the manufacturer or the person who installed the flooring. Most polishes are applied and dispersed with a mop and later buffed with a buffing machine or by hand with towels.

Advantage

Beauty—Terrazzo floors will give you a very unique, beautiful floor. The look that terrazzo offers is unlike any other type of floor. Terrazzo contains within it chips of marble, stone, or glass. With this mixture, manufacturers can make a completely customized design for you anywhere in the floor. While it may share some characteristics of other types of floors, it really has a unique look of its own.

Durability—Terrazzo flooring is one of the most durable flooring options that you could get. It is reinforced with concrete and has bits of stone, marble, or glass in it. Therefore, it can hold up to a lot of usage over a long period of time and still look like new. When you compare it to the durability of many other types of flooring, such as carpet, there is simply no comparison. You can put it in high-traffic areas and never notice a difference.

Ease of Cleaning—It is very difficult to stain terrazzo with anything. It does not absorb liquids very easily; therefore, you can clean it easily with a wet mop and a variety of cleaners. This gives you one of the easiest to maintain flooring options on the market today.

High-end look—Terrazzo is well known in the luxury housing markets. Many high-end lofts and contemporary settings use terrazzo floors throughout.

Terrazzo Cleaning & Polishing

Terrazzo flooring consists of chipped marble and other aggregates, with either Portland cement, polyacrylic modified Portland cement, or an epoxy or polyester system added as a binder to hold the marble and aggregate together. Each type of binding agent makes a durable and easy to maintain tile, but terrazzo flooring requires regular care and maintenance with specific products to maintain its finish. At least once each week, you should thoroughly clean, seal and polish your terrazzo floor to maintain your real estate investment.

1. Sweep the entire floor to remove loose dirt and dust. Sweep the debris into a dust pan and discard or use a hand vacuum to remove it.

2. Mix a neutral or slightly alkaline cleanser with water according to the cleanser’s label directions. When cleaning terrazzo floors, a cleanser with a pH between 7 and 10 is ideal. Do not use general cleaners, soaps containing water-soluble or organic salts, or acids to clean terrazzo floors.

3. Wet mop the cleanser and water solution onto the floor and leave it to soak for several minutes. Do not let the cleaning solution dry. If any portion begins to evaporate, apply more to keep the entire surface wet. This allows the cleanser enough time to loosen all material from the surface.

4. Rinse the mop with clean water and let it dry while you wait for the cleanser to do its job.

5. Remove the cleaning solution using a squeegee, wet vacuum or using a mop and clean water. Keep the floor moist as you remove the cleanser solution to prevent dirt from reabsorbing into the terrazzo.

6. Rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water. Keep the rinse water, mop and the bucket clean to avoid redepositing dirt onto the floor.

7. Mop on an acrylic water-based sealer manufactured for use with terrazzo or natural stone floors. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for application. Portland cement terrazzo is absorbent and requires penetrating sealer applied weekly. Resinous terrazzo floors that use epoxy or polyester binders require only surface sealers. Choose a sealer that has a friction rating of at least 0.5 to prevent the floors from becoming too slippery.

8. Allow the floor to dry completely and then run a mechanical buffer over the floor to add sheen to the finished floor. Work in a back-and-forth motion, using long strokes, and overlap each section slightly to avoid gaps.

9. Remove dust and residue that results from the buffing with a dry dust mop.


Grind Terrazzo floor with diamond grinding tools and polishing pads

People use terrazzo as flooring because of its low lost and clean. The terrazzo floor is not only easy to clean, but also an inevitable process to make polishing, it can make floor looks cleaner and improve the surface finish of the terrazzo.

1. Grinding: for an uneven terrazzo floor, it can be grinded with metal bond grinding tools, such a diamond grinding shoe, diamond grinding cup wheel or diamond grinding plates. After grinding smoothly, polishing with 50#, 100#, 200# diamond polishing pads. for flat terrazzo floor, it can be polished with diamond polishing pads directly. After terrazzo floor is polished, dry the terrazzo floor with a suction machine.

2. Curing: after floor drying (24 hours later), spraying cement stabilizer, the terrazzo floor must keep weting for over 4 hours.

3. Polishing: after the cement solidifying is dry(better over 24 hours), the works of floor polishing is started again, use the diamond polishing pads with 500#, 1000#, 2000#, 3000# and then dry the floor quickly.

4. Crystal polishing: after the terrazzo floor dry, you can use white or red sponge polishing pads with waterstone permeation solution to final polishing. After dry polishing, using polished water CR-2T or CR-10T to polish and crystallize the floor until dry.

How to Effectively Grind and Polish Terrazzo

Terrazzo is one of the oldest flooring styles, but it’s still popular, even after all these years. In terrazzo, marble or granite chips are set in concrete or cement and polished, to provide a smooth surface. Unlike marble or granite slabs, terrazzo offers the potential of innovative designs and color combinations, and does not compromise the strength of the floor in any way.
The process of laying terrazzo floors is fairly simple, but still requires the use of the right tools to secure a floor that will last. Mix the marble and cement, or the other materials in use, pour it on the surface, ground it down flat, and smooth it out to the required finish, usually 100-grit. Next, apply a Terrazzo sealer, and multiple coats of floor wax or finish, as required.
Whether it is a new floor or a restoration, terrazzo grinding and polishing are the two critical tasks, on which the finish of the floor rests.
The standard method of terrazzo grinding is wet-grinding:

1. Ensure an even surface, by eliminating all grooves

2. Clean the floor to remove coarse abrasives and residual debris

3. Use a floor surface grinder machine with the proper terrazzo grit matrices installed

The terrazzo grinding and polishing process uses diamond abrasives categorized according to grit size. Lower number grits are coarser and higher number grits are finer. Diamond polished terrazzo maintains its shine for a very long time.
Specific types of marbles may require dry grinding, which is more complicated. In either instance, concrete grinding machines are necessary to acquire the finish and strength of the terrazzo floor you wish to accomplish.


Learning how to properly grind a terrazzo floor can take years to master, and even masters of the craft will continue to hone their skills over a long career. While they are known for their longevity, terrazzo floors do suffer from wear and tear after prolonged high traffic usage, prompting restoration. If you are considering terrazzo restoration, odds are that you already have some of the symptoms of a worn floor. Whether you know your floor needs a fresh face or not, here are the basics of terrazzo restoration:

What to Expect During Terrazzo Restoration

Grinding, Grinding, and More Grinding

Much of the terrazzo restoration process is centered around grinding. Not only is grinding an integral part of removing surface layers of terrazzo, but it is also necessary for achieving the finished polish that terrazzo is famous for. While it may seem odd, terrazzo grinding often ranges from 3 to 12 steps, where initial layers are quickly and deeply stripped off and subsequent applications serve to polish and smooth out the newly excavated layer. The way this grinding works is by essentially cutting off top layers (surface coat, stone, sealant, and all) to reveal a new layer beneath. With most terrazzo floors easily reaching an inch thick or more, shaving off a quarter of an inch will reveal an all-new floor by cutting through the worn layers to a new flat surface.

Hole Filling

If there are any holes or chips that extend below the newly revealed surface, then it may be necessary to create a patch for the damaged area. To do so, your terrazzo restoration team will likely drill into the hole a small amount to create a rough surface for the patch to dig into, then they will attempt to match the original coating and stones used to create a seamless mixture that will fill the area. The hole is overfilled and then ground down and polished in with diamond tooling to make as natural a patch as possible; when done correctly, there should be little-to-no evidence of a hole ever existing when the patch is completed. It is important to note that holes are best filled after the grinding, but before the final polishing, so that the floor can be easily matched and blended with the most accuracy.

Final Polish

After the numerous rounds of grinding and any hole filling, all that will be left for your floors is to polish them up. There are a few ways to polish a terrazzo floor during restoration, the most common way features an acid powder distributed across the floor, which is then mixed with water and polished by a specialized machine. This method effectively ingrains the polish onto the surface of the terrazzo floor below and keeps the surface smooth and level. Even though the polishing may seem like a single step, it is not uncommon to see 20 passes of the polisher across the floor to ensure a long-lasting shiny surface. At the end of the restoration, the terrazzo should be highly shiny, a clear indication that the restoration will almost certainly last for years to come.


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