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Terrazzo originates from Italy where, around 500 years ago, quarry workers used stone offcuts for flooring in their own homes. At first, the finish was rough-set and uneven but as methods progressed, the flexibility and benefits of terrazzo were recognised. With refined polishing techniques, opportunities for bespoke colouring and flexibility in thickness, it fast became a valued material.
The material became very popular in the UK in the mass of post-war building projects as a cost-effective alternative to popular stone, marble and granite. In recent years, terrazzo has enjoyed something of a revival, due to its resilience, easy maintenance and design qualities, as well as the need to refurbish old flooring. Terrazzo can be bespoke made to virtually any specification.
Traditionally, terrazzo is composed of marble chippings and cement, ground to a fine finish. It is extremely durable and presents an ideal option for heavy use.
Capital Stone imports selected terrazzo from Italy, where our specialist suppliers have the mechanised capability to produce thick sheets of the material and then compress them. This mechanisation process adds strength in the concrete to enable sheets to be sliced thinly and cut into tiles. Any detail such as grooves and insets are introduced at our factory in the UK using state-of-the-art Italian cutting machinery.
For bespoke terrazzo, traditional hand casting skills remain the best way to achieve the required design. The process is labour intensive, requiring close attention throughout the process. Intense polishing at the end of the process allows the material to come into its own. The real attraction of this hand cast material is the way it can be used to create truly unique designs. Any number of colour combinations is possible, and special additions to the mix will create an exclusive product.
As a flooring option, terrazzo is extremely hardwearing. We have seen terrazzo lift lobbies constructed on 1960s council estates that are still going strong, showing little sign of wear despite continuous heavy footfall. In general, maintenance is minimal, with cleaning and polishing giving rise to the same finish the terrazzo had at installation. The ability to match terrazzo means that floors can be refurbished rather than replaced, making it a sustainable option.