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By : ibahouse

Terrazzo Floors Bring History to Life Architecture

Terrazzo flooring, with its mosaic style of pieces of marble or granite set in polished concrete or epoxy resin, is known for its flexibility and remarkable durability. So it’s no wonder the method has been around for centuries.

With proper care during installation and use, it’s also possible for terrazzo floors to last a number of decades. “There are terrazzo floors that were installed in the early 1900s that are still nice looking jobs,” says James Bateman, terrazzo division manager of Terrazzo & Marble Supply Companies. Indeed, the style is known to some as ‘forever floors,’ a nod to its history and longevity.

References to terrazzo date all the way back to ancient times, but the origins of today’s terrazzo are modeled after 20th-century Italian work.

Italian masonry workers used to quarry marble and granite using dynamite. After the explosions, many marble pieces would crumble and fall to the side of the quarry, where workers gathered them and mixed the chips with cement. They poured the mixture on their terrazza (or terrace, in Italian) and ground the material with carborundum blocks to expose the marble inside. “At the time, marble was reserved for the Italian aristocracy—certainly not the laborers at the marble quarries,” Meyer says. But terrazzo gave the working class access to a higher design aesthetic.

While Terrazzo flooring may carry a higher upfront cost, its durability and life expectancy often make it the most affordable option, in the long run, Bateman says. When you add up the life cycle costs for carpet, porcelain, or other flooring materials, terrazzo typically ends up saving you money. “It’s definitely the Cadillac of flooring options,” he says. “A lot of people see that initial price tag and think, ‘Oh, wow. That’s five times the value of carpet.’ But you’re probably going to replace that carpet six times in the life of one terrazzo installation.”

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