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How to Clean Terrazzo Tiles
Enjoying the beginning of their revival, Terrazzo Tiles have had a massive return to fashion – eco-friendly to the heart, it represents the ultimate eco-friendly sustainable material. From large office receptions to high-end departments stores such as the Valentino Men flagship store, Terrazzo in tile form is at the forefront of design, practicality and style.
Originally, Terrazzo was poured on site, using waste natural stone chips and pieces, mixed with cement. Its still possible to have a poured Terrazzo floor, but cost and the scarcity of experienced practitioners can make is prohibitive. In tile form, the terrazzo first made its appearance as a dual layered material, combining a surface layer of the stone-cement mix and a base layer of purer cement. This gave the tile performance strength making it suitable for airport concourses, train platforms and supermarkets, but the weight of the tile also meant that it was not the easiest material to install, especially in a residential setting.
With new advances in technology, Terrazzo Tiles can now be produced in single-layer tile formats – that is, there is one layer of stone mixed with a cement binder, and vacuum technology means that this single layer can be used without the need for any re-enforcement. This has meant that not only can a tile be supplied in really large formats (such as 120cm x 120cm), giving the feeling of a poured Terrazzo floor, but also it has become a product suitable for both commercial and residential use. Single-layer Terrazzo tiles are pre-finished at the factory, so no need for specialist technical equipment and can be cut laid as if it were a natural stone tile.
Terrazzo is a naturally dense material, so in terms of practicality they are almost unbeatable. Some maintenance is required however, given that their two base materials, natural stone and cement are both porous and require sealing. Not all Terrazzo tiles will need to be sealed, so the requirements will depend on the material you have and the method of installation. Some tiles that have been polished on site, for example, may not require sealing – please check with your supplier / installer.
To help prevent staining and stop water penetration, we recommend sealing Terrazzo Tiles with two coats of Lithofin Stainstop MN, one coat before and one coat after sealing. Depending on where your Terrazzo has been laid, the sealant should be re-applied every 12 months (for example in wet room floors, or on shower walls) and generally at least every 18 months in most other applications. Terrazzo tiles in high traffic areas will also need re-sealing regularly to help maintain their beautiful appearance. In residential areas, an easy way to maintain terrazzo tiles is to make sure that all entrances and exists have mats. This will help reduce the wear caused by foot traffic coming in from the outside.
After sweeping up dust and debris, mop your Terrazzo tiles regularly with a neutral cleaner such as Lithofin EasyCare. To avoid staining, try to dry-off any spills as quickly as possible, especially acid or bleach based liquids, as the sealant is susceptible to these. Once a month, we suggest topping up your wash bucket with Lithofin Powerclean, which will help remove any extra dirt build up. In less diluted form it is also the perfect product for working on more stubborn stains.
Removing Stains from Terrazzo Tiles
Our single-layered pre-finished Terrazzo Tiles are produced with advanced technology designed to create the most practical of material, but like all things beautiful, they have their flaws. Spills that are not quickly cleaned and have been allowed to dry can possibly stain your new Terrazzo tile floor. Wine, tea and coffee, can stain terrazzo tiles, just as tomato sauce, lemon juice and oil can potentially make an impact.
When is comes to removing stains from Terrazzo Tiles we recommend deep cleaning the tiles using a product like Lithofin PowerClean, diluted 1:5 with water, scrubbing with a white emulsifying pad. This process should be repeated until the desired effect is achieved.
If this process does not completely remove the stain from your Terrazzo, our advice would be to remove the sealant with Lithofin Wax Off, then deep clean the tiles again with Powerclean. Once the tiles have fully dried, you can then re-seal them with Lithofin Stainstop MN. Take care to give the tiles plenty of time to dry out between each stage of the process.
If all else fails, bear in mind that Terrazzo Tiles can be sanded and polished – please consult with a professional before carrying out this kind of work.
When should Terrazzo Tiles be re-sealed?
We would generally recommend resealing your cement-based Terrazzo Tiles every 12-18 months. If you have laid your terrazzo in a wet area, such as on a shower wall – or on a wet room floor instead of a shower tray, we would recommend re-sealing your terrazzo every 12 months, maintaining them periodically with Lithofin Powerclean to help with limiting any build up of limescale.
If your Terrazzo cement tiles have been laid and sealed correctly, with a coat of sealant before and after grouting (with a product such as Lithofin Stainstop MN), and if grout residue has been removed with a product such as Lithofin Powerclean, then it should be an easy process to re-seal your terrazzo and bring it back to its original beauty.
To achieve the ideal result, you should remove old sealant with a product such as Lithofin Wax-Off and proceed to deep-clean your terrazzo with Lithofin Powerclean. As long as they are completely dry, you can then re-seal the tiles with two coats of Lithofin Stainstop MN. When you are sealing rooms that aren’t subject to constant water contact such as a hallway or kitchen, we suggest a final coat of Lithofin Multiseal, which will add sheen to your tiles and greatly assist with keeping your terrazzo in perfect condition.
If you are thinking about using Terrazzo Tiles in a commercial or residential project, then please get in touch to discuss the options we can offer including Terrazzo Wall Tiles, Terrazzo Slabs, and anti-slip Terrazzo suitable for most commercial and residential applications.
For large projects that require terrazzo, we can also produce bespoke mixes, that include a variety of different aggregate colours and sizes, together with different coloured backgrounds.