Keep Your Terrazzo Floors Beautiful
If staining is likely to be a major problem in your home, investigate some of the new epoxy, polyester, urethane or other synthetic resins which do not contain cement. Resinous terrazzo compares in appearance with cement terrazzo, but does not stain as easily. It also has the advantage of greater strength, which permits its use in thin layers to form low-weight floors.
Protect Your New Floor
When the contractor installed your terrazzo floor, his final step should have been to apply a penetrating sealer approved for terrazzo. In fact, the Florida Terrazzo Association specifications state: "until it has been sealed, terrazzo is unfinished material and, as such, should be carefully protected from possible damage."
The penetrating sealer is absorbed by the cement, thus sealing the pores and greatly reducing its absorptive qualities.
Proper protection for terrazzo, then, is internal rather than "on the surface," and makes waxing unnecessary. It is true that waxes will give temporary protection to your terrazzo floor, but wax tends to wear off readily and also to make the floor slippery. Too, if you keep a layer of wax over marble, you are not allowing the floor to take on the natural sheen, or patina, which is characteristic of terrazzo.
Resealing is necessary only when regular cleaning and polishing fails to restore the soft sheen
or when neglect has resulted in staining or heavy
build-up of soil.
Rejuvenate Old Floors
Possibly you have acquired an older home with terrazzo floors that have been abused in some way? Have harmful products been used? Or, do you have a terrazzo floor that was not sealed properly? The result in any case is probably dingy, dull, scuffed-looking floors. Then follow these steps to restore your terrazzo floors to their normal lovely appearance:
1. Use a good quality wax-stripping product to clean the floor thoroughly. Remove all foreign matter and old wax.
Rinse very thoroughly, being sure all the cleaner is removed.
Apply a thin coat of penetrating type of terrazzo sealer, following manufacturer's directions.
When the floor is dry, buff with an electric polisher.
Follow the general cleaning methods given below hereafter.
Follow These Cleaning Methods
Clean as often as needed to keep grime and sand removed. Remember that soil acts as an abrasive and damages the floor.
Use only neutral liquid cleaners (meaning those which are neither acid nor alkaline). For best results, use a commercial cleaner made especially for terrazzo. All-purpose household cleaners, soaps, detergents and wax removers usually contain one or more alkalis, and so should not be used on terrazzo. For general cleaning, use one cup of neutral cleaner with each three gallons of water — or follow manufacturer's directions.
Wet mop the solution onto the floor, and allow to remain several minutes. Then mop up the dirt-filled solution, changing rinse water often. This helps to remove all soil and also does away with unsightly "moplines." Keep the floor wet at all times during the cleaning operation. Otherwise, dissolved soil dries back onto the floor. When the floor is dry, buff with an electric polishing machine, if you have one. Buffing helps restore the natural sheen on your floor.
To remove stubborn soil, periodically use an electric scrubbing machine with a stronger solution of the neutral cleaner.
5. Daily sweeping or dusting will mean easier weekly care and more attractive floors. Do not use an oiled mop or oily sweeping compound. Oils in any form can penetrate the surface and permanently discolor terrazzo floors.