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How to tell the difference between real terrazzo tiles and terrazzo lookalikes

Terrazzo tiles are without a doubt one of the trendiest design materials right now.

Terrazzo tiles are being utilized in a variety of ways, from kitchen benchtops to furniture and, of course, tiles.

Terrazzo tiles come in a variety of styles. Here, we’ll discuss the primary distinctions between genuine terrazzo and terrazzo-look tiles.

Terrazzo tiles: genuine vs. imitation

The critical decision is whether to use genuine terrazzo tiles or a terrazzo-look tile (also known as ‘faux terrazzo,’ which is typically made of porcelain).

Genuine terrazzo tiles are composed of a variety of chips, including marble and glass chips, that are kept together by a composite. It is often significantly thicker, about 20mm, in order to minimize cracking.

A fake terrazzo tile is a terrazzo design that has been transferred to a porcelain tile (or, in some cases, to cement encaustic tiles). Many faux tiles are incredibly realistic due to advancements in technology.

Terrazzo’s advantages and disadvantages

However, there are a few disadvantages to genuine terrazzo tiles. Price is a significant factor! It typically costs between $120m2 and $250m2, while terrazzo-style tiles cost between $35m2 and $85m2. Additionally, you must consider the installation cost, since genuine terrazzo tiles are likely to be more costly than terrazzo-look porcelain tiles.

Another disadvantage is that thickness must be planned for from the outset of a project. It is not always practical to utilize genuine terrazzo tiles in remodeling. If it combines with another area or otherwise creates a trip hazard, an angle or other product may be required to eliminate the danger.

Maintenance is arguably the most critical item to consider. The majority of genuine terrazzo tiles are porous, and even when sealed, they may be inappropriate for shower rooms.

When using genuine terrazzo tiles, it is important to seal them before installation to prevent the surface from grout stains and to facilitate grout cleaning. After grouting and cleaning, you should seal the surface with high-quality terrazzo tiles or penetrating sealer to prevent stains and to make continuing care simpler. Additionally, while cleaning genuine terrazzo tiles, it is essential to use a high-quality PH-neutral cleanser to retain its beauty and integrity.

Due to the delicate nature of terrazzo tiles, many designers avoid it in bathrooms, or at the very least in showers, and instead opt for a terrazzo-look tile. Alternatively, you may incorporate genuine terrazzo tiles into another area of the bathroom, such as the vanity top.

Color and design

Whether you pick genuine terrazzo or a tile that looks like it, you’ll discover a wide variety of colors and patterns.

In warm browns, cold and modern whites, or with a few pops of color.

Additionally, you may select terrazzo tiles with large chunks or tiny specks, depending on your desired level of drama.

Size

Terrazzo tiles have historically been produced in 400 × 400 x 16mm and 600 x 600 x 20mm dimensions. Nowadays, providers may create in practically any format and even in a variety of forms, such as the chevron pattern.

Keep a watch out for further terrazzo tiles alternatives to become available in the future years.

Bringing Terrazzo Floor Tiles Back to Life

I sometimes have the opportunity to restore tiled flooring in public buildings, and late last year I was requested to clean and seal a terrazzo tiles floor in a Redhill church. The floor was in poor condition; it was not only covered in filth from a lack of regular care but it was also characterized by multiple fissures. The look of the floor was generally unappealing, and the church requested that I come in and make some repairs, as well as a good clean and seal.

Terrazzo tiled floor cleaning and burnishing

Upon initial inspection of the floor, I was unsure whether any old sealer remained on the terrazzo tiles, so to ensure it was removed completely, I began the cleaning process by applying a layer of Tile & Bath co, a powerful cleaner/stripper designed to both dissolve old layers of sealant and lift out any embedded dirt.

After rinsing the floor with water to remove any remaining cleaning chemicals, I moved on to a different cleaning method called burnishing. Burnishing is the process of polishing the surface to create an aesthetically attractive gloss. The burnishing system is comprised of four diamond-encrusted burnishing pads that have varying grit levels.

I began with a coarse burnishing pad and worked my way through the system with Medium, Fine, and finally Very Fine pads to achieve a very refined, high-quality polished finish. You should use a little water to help lubricate the burnishing and rinse the floor thoroughly after each pad to remove the slurry.

After thoroughly drying the floor after both cleaning operations, I began fixing the fractures in the tiles using a two-part resin stone filler.

After the filler had cured, I repolished the floor with just the extra fine burnishing pad, concentrating my efforts along the crack lines. This significantly reduced the appearance of cracks and left a smoother surface.

Terrazzo tiled floor sealing

The last step of the repair involves sealing the Terrazzo tiles, a sealant that penetrates the stone’s pores, providing a durable surface capable of withstanding the high volume of activity seen on church floors. Buffing the whole surface with a delicate white buffing pad was the last step.

Magnificent Gravel

The aggregate, the vibrant chips, is what separates terrazzo tiles from plain old cement and adds an element of artistic sophistication. Along with conventional marble, gleaming glass, iridescent mother-of-pearl, and vivid plastic provide a variety of hues and nearly infinite combinations of chips and pigments. To maintain control over the completed product’s appearance, terrazzo tiles installers begin with the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association’s standard mixes and then create samples for their customers.

“People want to synchronize their flooring with other types of flooring, such as carpet, tile, or even stone,” says Dave Roberson of the David Allen Company, which installed the Ewells’ flooring. “We can almost perfectly duplicate a granite to the point that you couldn’t detect the difference.” Roberson goes to considerable lengths to ensure uniformity in the field after establishing the formula, weighing and packing the pigment, and combining the aggregates in the shop. “Even then,” he continues, “everything has an effect on the color: humidity, temperature, and even the quantity of water.” It is, in fact, more an art than a science.” You can read about How to start a terrazzo tiles business in Australia by clicking here.