Terrazzo Floor Cleaning

Welcome to my Work History archive where you will find detailed examples of the cleaning and renovation of Terrazzo flooring carried out in Lancashire

Cleaning and Polishing Terrazzo tiles

Terrazzo is actually the by-product of broken pieces of stone often Marble, Limestone and Granite, which rather than being wasted are set into to a cement screed and poured onto the floor. Then once the screed is set it is grinded to a polish. Because of this we find the best way to maintain Terrazzo is with the use of Burnishing Pads which hone the floor and restore its appearance.

Terrazzo has actually been around for a long time, but mainly became popular in the 1920s when the first electrical grinders showed up on the building sites making the process of polishing much easier. With this new variation of Terrazzo the builder/tiler was able to create new set designs and pieces which fitted perfectly with the demands of the “Roaring Twenties” as the flooring of choice for hotels, railway stations and offices wishing to add that wow factor to a hallway or entrance.

One of the big issues we find with older Travertine floors is cracking due to settlement in the sub floor. These floors are poured in sections so any cracks need to be filled with a matching resin and then cleaned, polished and sealed.

Below you will find detailed examples of work we have carried out in the past, it should give you some idea of what’s involved and what can be achieved with the right techniques and products.

Terrazzo Floor Renovation Beziers France

Renovating a Large Terrazzo Tiled Floor in Béziers France

The English owner of a French Chateau contacted Tile Doctor about the hard floors at their property in Béziers in the South of France. There were several floors at the property including Terrazzo, Limestone and Black and White Encaustic tiles all around a hundred years old and in a bad state of repair. There was a lot to cover so for this post we will focus on the Terrazzo flooring.

Terrazzo Floor Before Renovation Beziers France

We have been known to carry out tile renovation work in other counties so we were more than happy to consider a visit to the South of France and help bring the floors back to life. Previous overseas projects have included a hotel restaurant in Addis Ababa, holiday cottages in Ireland and a villa in France.

Luckily for us the customer had invested in some machinery that he had found on eBay but he didn’t have the technical knowledge to do the work and so had decided to seek help. Having discussed each of the floors in detail over the phone and with photographs sent via email I worked out a restoration plan for each floor.

We supplied the products he needed and we were flown down from Manchester to Béziers Cap d’Agde Airport where we were picked up by the client, (very Hollywood). If you have never been to Béziers before it’s well worth a visit, it’s a beautiful area, well laid out, with parks and rivers, an old 12th Century Monastery and the property had great views all around.

Tile Doctor Floor Renovation Bezier

Deep Cleaning and Filling Terrazzo Flooring in Béziers France

On arrival at the property work started with setting up the machinery and conducting some preliminary cleaning tests to work out the best approach. After that however our host insisted on showing us round Béziers, it was a Saturday afternoon and we were in the South of France so why not, they certainly know how to live properly down there.

Terrazzo Floor Before Renovation Beziers France Terrazzo Floor Before Renovation Beziers France

So, work started on the Sunday with the application of a 200-grit Milling pad and Oxy-Gel cleaning solution. I was concerned (due to some hairline cracks in the Terrazzo) that water would seep through into the rooms below (this was a big old townhouse set on four levels) so by using a gel-based product it would be easier to control and the moisture would be kept to a minimum.

Terrazzo Floor During Cleaning Oxy-Gel Beziers France

The resultant soiling was then extracted with a wet vacuum and attention moved to filling the cracks in the Terrazzo with a resin filler. Once the resin had cured the floor was cleaned again, this time with a 200-grit DRB Milling pad which contains diamond segments. The process was lubricated with water and progress was checked underneath several times to ensure the pad was working as expected.

Terrazzo Floor During Renovation Beziers France

Polishing a Terrazzo Floor in Béziers France

This work continued with increasingly finer diamond encrusted burnishing pads starting with a 400-grit Diamond burnishing pad and moving up to an 800-grit and finishing with a 1500-grit pad. Only water was used for lubrication and the soiling was extracted with a wet vacuum after each pad was applied. This method slowly improves the surface of the Terrazzo adding a long-lasting polished appearance.

The floor was left to dry overnight and the following day treated to a spray burnish using a very fine 3000 grit burnishing pad; the pad is applied dry to the floor with only a little amount of water which is sprayed onto the surface.

Sealing Terrazzo Flooring in Béziers France

This final 3000-grit pad leaves the floor dry and allows the floor to be sealed shortly afterwards. The sealer chosen for the Terrazzo was Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing impregnator which works by soaking into the pores preventing dirt from residing there. Sealing the floors keeps the dirt and other contaminates on the surface where it can be easily removed.

Two coats of Colour Grow were applied and this brought out the lovely pink tones in the Terrazzo which together with the polished appearance really transformed the appearance of the floor.

Terrazzo Floor After Cleaning Beziers France

For aftercare cleaning I got the customer to purchase a five-litre bottle of Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner along with the other products. You must be careful what you clean sealed floors with as many products contain bleach and are simply too strong resulting in the premature degradation of the sealer.

We spent the whole week at the property and as well as working on the other floors did find time to do some more sightseeing before flying back the following weekend.


Professional Renovation of a Terrazzo Flooring in France

Renovating a Large Terrazzo Tiled Floor in Béziers France Read More »

Mosaic Terrazzo Floor Llandudno Restaurant After Restoration

Old Terrazzo Floor Fully Restored as Part of Renovation Work in Llandudno

The Washington Hotel in Llandudno, North Wales, is a truly historic building and one of the enduring features on the promenade of the sea resort. This beautiful part of Wales was the holiday destination of choice for Lewis Carrol, the famed author of Alice in Wonderland, and you can see several statues of him in and around the town.

The Washington Hotel first opened in 1855, but was rebuilt in 1925 after being destroyed by a fire. The building most recently served as a nightclub, before it closed in 2012. Now, there is ongoing renovation work to turn it into a restaurant.

Mosaic Terrazzo Floor Llandudno Restaurant Before Restoration
As part of this renovation work, we were asked to restore bring the old Terrazzo floor back to life, which was certainly worse for wear after nearly a century of use. It had been covered in carpet, as well as old vinyl tiles, and was very heavily soiled with dirt and ingrained muck. This area of floor would eventually act as the entrance to the restaurant and bar area, so it was important to get this right for the customer.

Mosaic Terrazzo Rotating Door Floor Llandudno Restaurant Before Restoration

Burnishing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

There were three areas we were asked to restore, covering 36 square meters in total:

• Circular foyer (27 square meters)
• Internal entrance area (2 square meters)
• External entrance stairs: (7 squares meters)

We started the restoration process with the application of a Very Coarse 50 grit diamond pad to tear away all the old carpet and vinyl resin, clearing the area to allow us to work directly on the Terrazzo tiles. With the tiles exposed, we discovered two large, long cracks in the base of the floor, so we filled these with a flexible floor grout. We chose to use this instead of a resin compound because resin isn’t very flexible, and if there is any movement the crack will become exposed again after six to 12 months. A flexible floor grout will move with the contractions and expansions of the base, and if the movement is not too extreme the flexible grout will not crack in the future.

Llandudno Cracked Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration
We then continued through our system of diamond burnishing pads, applying the 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1500 grit pads with a small amount of water as lubricant. Once the floor was fully dry we applied the final 3000 grit pad, which is the finest of the pads and produces a very high quality polished effect on the stone.

Llandudno Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration

Sealing a Terrazzo Tiled Floor

Once the floor had been polished, it needed to be sealed in order to protect it from dirt becoming ingrained into the pores of the stone. We did this using firstly two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow, which is our impregnating, colour-enhancing sealer. The sealer works by penetrating the pores of the stone to fill them and block trapped dirt and stains. We then left the floor to dry off fully overnight.

The next day, we returned to the building to apply a crystallization powder known as Tile Doctor Shine Powder, which further enhanced the shine we had built up on the floor and give it extra sealer protection.

Llandudno Mosaic Terrazzo Restaurant Floor During Restoration
The customer was exceptionally happy with our work, as the restoration of the Terrazzo tiled flooring is an essential part of the renovation project overall. We wish them all the best in the eventual opening of the new restaurant!

Mosaic Terrazzo Rotating Door Floor Llandudno Restaurant After Restoration
For aftercare, we recommended to the customer that the floor is maintained with Tile Doctor Stone Soap as this will not only clean the Terrazzo without damaging the sealer like many stronger cleaners, but also maintain its patina as well.

Mosaic Terrazzo Floor Llandudno Restaurant After Restoration

Professional Terrazzo Tiled Restoration at a Restaurant in North Wales

Old Terrazzo Floor Fully Restored as Part of Renovation Work in Llandudno Read More »

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Completed

Stained Terrazzo Tiles Cleaned at a Wigan Fish and Chip Shop

These photographs are of a Stained Terrazzo Tiled floor from an old Fish and Chip shop in Wigan which had been closed for several months due to the owner being ill. The shop had then been sold and the new owners asked us to call in and re-furbish the tired and badly stained tiles rather than go to the expense of re-tiling or re-surfacing the Floor area, which would have cost a lot more than what we charged.

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Before Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Before

Terrazzo is a composite tile made up of Marble and Limestone chippings, sometime Granite, all mixed into a clear cement resin and then made up into tiles of all sizes. We estimated these tiles we laid more than fifty years prior and were not looking their best after being stained with rust stains from heavy equipment, cooking oil and grease, ingrained dirt and grime. Although a tough job to tackle it didn’t put us off and as you will see we still managed to get them clean again.

Cleaning Terrazzo Tile

The method we used to restore the surface was to cut them back using a set of burnishing pads which take off a few millimetres off the tile surface and regrinds to make them look as good as new, this is something you can’t do with Vinyl Tiles or Ceramic and Porcelain. The pads are encrusted with diamonds and are used in conjunction with a little water; you start with a coarse pad and work through the set of pads which become finer in grade as you progress until your polishing the surface. Once this process is complete the floor was given a good wash down to remove any soil and allow us to spot any areas that needed further attention.

Sealing Terrazzo Tile

When the Terrazzo tile was dry it was sealed sealing with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating matt sealer that brings out the colours in natural stone, the client had also specified they didn’t want a shiny finish as they had a concern about slippery surface that could lead to slips and falls. Once the sealer was dry it was buffed using a white buffing pad.

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop After Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop After

The results are quite satisfying given the age of the floor and the stains we had to deal with not only that but the owner had engaged a number of other cleaning companies who had tried a test clean and he had even tried cleaning it himself but the results were poor.

Terrazzo Tile at Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Completed

Original Terrazzo tiles restored in a Wigan Shop

Stained Terrazzo Tiles Cleaned at a Wigan Fish and Chip Shop Read More »


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