TERRAZZO FLOORING | An Architect Explains

Terrazzo, like crazy marble flooring is a composite material used for floor and wall treatments. It originated in Italy a long time ago and has gone through enough changes to make it as good a choice now. It consists of a combination of sprinkled, stone chips like marble, quartz, granite, glass and a cementitious binder that is poured into place. Terrazzo is then cured, ground and polished to a smooth surface.

Terrazzo (mosaic) floor is a composite material consisting of stone chips

Terrazzo has both advantages and disadvantages. It is useful to know the characteristics of Terrazzo, its usability and suitability as a flooring option. As an Architect, I have described Terrazzo along with it’s features under the following headings so that you can decide whether it is suited for your requirement and your space:

What are the characteristics of Terrazzo?
What are the advantages of Terrazzo flooring?
What are the disadvantages of Terrazzo flooring?
Where is Terrazzo flooring best suited?


  • Origin: Terrazzo is man-made, but is composed of natural material.
  • Composition: Marble, granite, quartz and/or glass chips mixed with a binder like portland cement, polyacrylic-modified portland cement or epoxy resin.
  • Physical Characteristics: Terrazzo flooring is hard, heavy, durable and long lasting.


  • Durable: and should last a lifetime, if maintained properly.
  • Dense: and if sealed well, is impermeable to water.
  • Water resistant: due to its low moisture absorbency and hydrophobic nature (non-affinity for water).
  • Easy to maintain: Just have to sweep the floor often to remove the dust that can act as an abrasive.
  • Cool: under foot.
  • Appearance: Terrazzo provides an elegant look to a room if done well. It almost looks like Granite.
  • Environment-friendly: Terrazzo flooring doesn’t harm the environment as it is constructed out of natural materials including sand, marble, and other types of stone. You can even recycle this type of floor.


  • Professional installation: Terrazzo flooring can be installed only by a professional because it is made, poured and cured at the point of installation.
  • Relatively expensive: Because of the specialised installation, the upfront cost is considerably higher than resilient flooring.
  • Slippery: when wet.
  • Hard underfoot: as it does not have any cushioning- It is hard to stand on for an extended period of time.
  • Cold: Being a good conductor of heat, it causes heat loss in a room.
  • Stains: Terrazzo tiles are prone to stain marks caused by acidic substances like vinegar and tamarind.
  • Maintenance: Terrazzo requires heavy polishing at the time of laying and periodic polishing to retain the shine.
Terrazzo requires periodic polishing to maintain the shine



Terrazzo, once was used only by the affluent but now, is commonly used as it is a cheaper option to marble and granite flooring. Due to its extreme durability, many homeowners are willing to pay more for the initial installation of terrazzo because they know that it probably will last their lifetime. A slightly different type of flooring is the crazy marble flooring.

For information on other flooring options, go to:


In order to get a rough idea of the suitability of a particular flooring for your requirement and to make a fair comparison of the different types of flooring, refer to an Architect’s rating of the various kinds of flooring on my blog: House construction in India

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