Terrazzo has been used as a flooring material for three centuries but it’s become popular once again. Floor care technicians are bound to encounter terrazzo floors in need of cleaning or restoration and building managers and cleaning professionals are likely to have a few questions about how to properly care for them. Luckily, one of the biggest advantages of installing epoxy terrazzo flooring is how easy it is to maintain. Because it’s non-porous and seamless, it’s easy to clean and maintain over time and, because it’s durable, property owners can expect a flooring system that will last for decades with little to no repairs or replacements. This makes it a cost-effective flooring system that, when properly care for, can last a lifetime. Here are some key DO’s and DONT’s to follow that will keep your terrazzo flooring bright and beautiful for years, no matter what type of wear it’s subjected to.
DO: Use a neutral pH cleaning solution when cleaning terrazzo.
Neutral cleaners are designed to react only in solution with clean water, mixed in accordance with the manufacturer instructions. Ask your terrazzo installation contractor to recommend the proper neutral cleaner and sealers to be used on your floor and allow it, once applied, time to react as designed to loosen foreign matter.
DON’T: Let the cleaning solution dry on the floor.
While it’s suggested that you take several minutes to let the neutral cleaner settle, don’t allow the solution to dry. It’s important to keep the floor wet during the entire cleaning process so the dirt and cleaning residue don’t dry on the surface. Rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water or use a wet vacuum or squeegee to remove the dirty water. More than one rinse may be necessary to remove all the dirt. When it’s finally dry, buff the floor to restore shine.
DO: Dust, mop or vacuum the floor daily.
When grit is pounded into the floor with foot traffic, it acts like an abrasive and can damage the floor. This is especially true for high-traffic areas such as airports, schools and transportation centers. For most public buildings, daily dust mopping with a clean, non-oily dust mop is essential to remove dust particles and grit attached to the surface. Additionally, remove any wet spillage by damp mopping. To remove stubborn stains and scuff marks, brush scrub the spots with your neutral cleaner diluted in warm water.
DON’T: Use all-purpose cleaners.
All-purpose cleaners containing water-soluble inorganic or crystallizing salts, harmful alkali or acids can damage terrazzo because of their pH. Also, avoid oil-based sweeping compounds as they can permanently discolor your floor.
DO: Seal your floors with a water-based sealer.
Sealers should achieve a slip resistance coefficient of friction rating according to code. When applying a sealer, mop on the floors and complete with one or more coats in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Normally, a new floor requires two or more coats which provide a good sheen for a period of 45 to 60 days before needing additional coats. Sealers should be classified by Underwriters Laboratories as slip-resistant with a minimum rating of 0.5 or higher. Property owners can follow up by a water-based finish for daily and weekly buffing if a high sheen is desired.
Terrazzo flooring is a beautiful and affordable choice because it can be used to create patterns and pictures, or just as attractive solid flooring or tiles. While the cleaning process may sound a bit involved, it’s a worthwhile investment in the life of a terrazzo floor. If you confidently know how to clean your floor, you’ll be able to keep it bright and polished.