Dispelling Some Terrazzo Restoration Myths
There are a lot of misconceptions associated with terrazzo restoration. This blog is an attempt at dispelling some terrazzo restoration myths. When a terrazzo restoration sales person comes to your door, their job is to sell you on their company and technique, as well as on themselves. Unfortunately, many companies over sell themselves and their system in order to win the job. If someone promises you a perfect floor, they are not being honest. Antique terrazzo flooring seldom comes out perfect. If you restore an old car you can use bonding agent and paint the surface. With terrazzo imperfection cannot be painted away. If you fill a hole it may blend perfectly, but it may not. Over the many years I have been restoring terrazzo my techniques and results have gotten better and better. Most of the time many or all of the holes are hard to find. Our goal is to get the holes to blend with the floor so they do not stand out. If you like what you read on this site please like us on Facebook at the top right and bottom of this page. Thank you for your support.
Terrazzo Flooring is Old Fashioned
Many People call and want to restore their floors, but tell me their friends say it is old fashioned. While terrazzo dates back to the fifteenth century, pants are even older than that. Terrazzo floors come in a variety of colors with aggregate that can range from marble stones to glass and even sea shells and nuts and bolts. The sky is the limit. If you can polish it shiny than it can be used as an aggregate in terrazzo flooring. Terrazzo is not old fashioned. Terrazzo flooring is continuous flooring throughout the house. Polished to look like marble and no grout. Easy to maintain and never gets worn out. I do not see a downside. .
Many ways to restore terrazzo
Another myth is that a floor can look good with only three steps, or without metal bond diamond grinding. Three step polishing, on an old Portland cement terrazzo floor, will not get a quality polished floor. Some companies that produce a non-shiny floor and try to recrystallize, or use final step polishing powders. Quality does not come with shortcuts. Remember that a terrazzo restoration cost that does not take into account value may be a rip-off. A terrazzo floor done right will have a high shine, no topical finish or topical sealer and last for years and years before needing any polishing. Re-crystallization, crystallization, vitrification are all the same thing. In my opinion, as well as most experts I know, this kind of restoration does not last as long and damages terrazzo and marble flooring. Many floors I have seen with re-crystallization have swirls and scratches in them. If you use this process, you can get a shine even though the floor shows poor workmanship. I am not saying all these companies do a bad job, but in the end you get a terrazzo floor that needs rebuffed every one or two years. The floor is completely sealed, so it cannot breath. This will, most likely, damage the terrazzo floor. That is the opinion of many who know the science behind these techniques.
Filling Holes and Chips in Terrazzo Flooring
Most home owners do not know that chip holes, from carpeting, are in the vast majority of terrazzo floors in Florida. I am often asked if there is anything that can be done to repair them. There are many ways to fill holes and chips in terrazzo flooring. I heard a story about one of them. This company will be included in a couple of examples. The restorer was filling holes with white epoxy without any other pigment. After it cured he was painting rocks on the top. A worker was in the house doing something else and commented, “I don’t think the owner will be happy with that. The restorer responded, “People love this, everyone loves this.” Well the owner hated it. White epoxy without pigment will stand out across the room. We never paint rocks on the patch. We start with a, UV stable, white epoxy. We match that epoxy with pigment as closely as we can to the Portland cement. Once we fill the holes we add rocks that match the stones in the floor. If the stones are still available then we have them. We fill the hole to over the level of the floor then grind them down flat the next day. We feel this gives the best result possible.
Three Step Terrazzo Restoration Vs Up to Twelve Steps
I got a call from a guy in Marco Island who wanted to know how terrazzo was properly restored. He hired a company that did his 1600 square foot house for just over $2.15 a square foot. Two men worked on the job and said the floor was ground and coated. In my opinion, for two men, to prep grind, hone, clean and coat that many square feet in a day is hard to imagine. When the floor was done the coating was coming off the next day. You could see large areas that were just skipped or missed with their grinding tool. That job would take me two crews, four men and three days to restore. We would not grind and coat. When I do terrazzo restoration I use a two 400 pound machines that have three heads each and while they spin one direction their entire heads counter rotates. I recently bid another job where a company rep said “His machine weighs 400 pounds and mine weighs 150.” I just need to do more passes and I will have the same result. That is a myth we dispelled when we did the job after him. The problem is if your machine weighs eight hundred pounds and is not planetary you will have a hard time matching the results of a planetary grinder. I lost this job to the other company. When they did the job they only used three grits. The floor had no shine at all. When that company was finished the man called us to start over and do the job right. There are many ways to restore terrazzo. None of them include shortcuts, without sacrificing something. I can tell you, if a terrazzo floor could be restored in three steps I could save a lot of money. I feel the system used by SafeDry is superior to any in the industry. Remember, price and value are not synonymous. We start as low as forty grit metal bond diamonds and go up to as up to three thousand grit. We do three thousand grit with two different systems to insuring the shiniest terrazzo floors possible. Over the years we have tested many diamond polishing systems and just because a company does up to three thousand grit does not mean their floor will match ours. Our current diamond tooling gets the most out of the diamonds. Check out the great shine.
The picture above is from a house where a company told the owner he did not want a shiny floor as it would be slippery. If you took off your shoes and tried to slide across this floor you might fall forward on your face. I challenge any company to show a better terrazzo restoration picture then the ones above. I will always spend the time in research to ensure my floors are the best looking floors. There are no shortcuts. If you want a floor to look good you must put in the time to get the floor to look great.
I feel that powders and recrystallization, while producing a nice floor, do not give you the best longest lasting floor. If you start with diamond grinding and use all diamond grinding and polishing you must train your people to be patient and diligent to get the best results. When you get there my experience is you achieve the shiniest, longest lasting floor. Check out some more of our pictures just taken the week this blog was first posted. I hope this blog will help to dispel a few terrazzo restoration myths. If you would like more information on terrazzo restoration check out our blog, Terrazzo Restoration A to Z By Joe Martin SafeDry owner. Email joe@SafeDry.com phone 877-824-0501.