Terrazzo Grinding, Polishing, & Sealing
What Is Terrazzo?
Terrazzo is a composite material, poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments.
Made by mixing marble, granite, quartz, or glass chips into a cement binder, terrazzo is excellent for tiling. Highly customizable, terrazzo can be polished smooth or given a textured finish, layered with extra chips of marble or other stone, and layered intentionally for a unique aesthetic look. Terrazzo is cost effective, attractive, and one of the toughest products available when it comes to tiling materials.
Can You Repair Deep Scratches?
Yes, deep scratches can be repaired and removed. The process to do the removal is by grinding the stone using abrasive diamond embedded pads, similar to sand paper. The deeper the scratch, the more abrasive diamond pad we use. These diamonds are used in a series, which is determined by the depth of the scratch and the existing finish. For example, for a really deep scratch on a polished finish, we would start at a grit level of 50 then precede with 100,200,400,800,1500 and 3000 grit diamonds. After this process the stone can be polished using a polishing compound which permanently creates a chemical bond to the stone, resulting in a mirror like shine.
How Does Polishing Work?
First, let's explain this simply. In order to get any stone surface to shine, the surface must be extremely smooth. If you want your stone to shine like a mirror, it must be as smooth as a mirror. This level of smoothness can be measured by the grit level used on the stone. A 400 grit pad leaves the terrazo semi smooth to the touch, but has no shine. This is considered a matte or flat finish. When inspected microscopically, the pores of the stone are very open and are very susceptible to absorption, thus it is imperative to consistently apply sealer to prevent against water staining. As a side note, we would like to add that this finish is recommended for shower floors and pool decks due to the fact that this grit level provides the best slip resistance when wet.
A polished floor becomes extremely slippery when wet. An 800 grit diamond pad results in a finish that is smoother to the touch and also has a low lustre appearance- we consider this a satin finish. When looked at under a microscope, the stone's pores begin to close up and it becomes less absorbent than a matte finish. At a 3000 grit level, the terrazzo is extremely smooth to the touch and has a semi gloss sheen. The pores of the stone are almost completely closed up. In fact, you can place water on this surface and it will bead up for a while before being absorbed. The next smoothness level up is a polished finish. This finish is still as smooth as a 3000 grit but it becomes polished by the use of an acidic polishing compound. This is a permanent finish, not a topical coating like an acrylic sealer. Upon completion of polishing, the floors must be neutralized so that trace amount of acid do not sit on the surface of the newly polished terrazzo. If the acid is allowed to sit and dry, it will actually etch the polish.
Does My Terrazzo Really Need To Be Sealed?
100% YES YES YES! No matter if your terrazzo was just installed or appears to be in good shape, it is absolutely critical to seal your terrazzo and routinely seal it every year. The sealer acts as a waterproofer essentially. When chemicals that are harmful to your terrazzo are accidentally spilled on your stone, the sealer will allow these chemicals to stay suspended on the surface of your stone, preventing etching and staining. If your terrazzo is not sealed it is extremely susceptible to damage. Harmful chemicals will instantly damage and stain the surface. Even water will damage the stone. If you allow water to absorb into the stone, the iron oxide naturally found in your stone will start to rust completely through the stone. This will result in the yellowing of your terrazzo. If the oxidation is on the surface, it can be repaired by applying a poultice to the stone, but if it is all the way through the stone(from top to bottom) then the only option is to replace it.
Can You Fill Holes And Chips In Terrazzo?
Before your stone was delivered to your house as a brilliant and perfect piece of stone, it was composed of numerous holes and voids. At the fabrication factories, these holes and voids are filled using a tinted resin to match the stone color and characteristics. Holes and chips are very common, especially in areas where there is a lot of abrasion, such as at the bases of dining chairs that slide back and forth very often. The holes virtually disappear once they are filled and the material used to fill is very durable.
Can I change the color of my grout?
Yes, after your mexican tile has been thoroughly cleaned, the grout can be stained to virtually any color.
Can Terrazo be cleaned?
Yes, terrazzo can be cleaned by a variety of different methods. Most commonly, we apply a hi-test alkaline solution to the floor and allow it to dwell. This solution breaks down penetrated dirt buildup on the stone surface as well as the grout lines. We then either use a hot water surface extractor or a floor machine to restore terrazzo and grout to its original state.