How to Polish Terrazzo Floors

A close up on terrazzo floors.
  • 2-4 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Soft dust mop
Soft sponge mop
Warm water
Large towels
Store bought water-based sealers and polish

Flooring today comes in all shapes and sizes, but one of the most favored is terrazzo floors.

Terrazzo is a combination of crushed pieces of many substances including quartz, marble, and granite that is immersed in a cement-like base. It is usually ground and polished which transforms it into a smooth surface often used to create textured flooring.

While terrazzo is beautiful to look at, it does need to be cared for correctly. Unlike a wood floor that needs constant work or marble that must be buffed regularly, terrazzo is not that difficult to keep up. Here are a few steps for taking care of your terrazzo flooring.

Check First

Before applying polish or sealants, contact the manufacturer of the terrazzo flooring or the person who installed it. If the wrong polish is applied, it could damage the floor. Most recommended polishing compounds are available at home improvement stores. Be sure to check with the manufacturer before any procedure.

Step 1 - Start Dusting

The first order of business when cleaning a terrazzo floor is to use a soft dust mop to clean the floor before washing. Use a dry dust mop or clean towels across the flooring to pick up loose debris and dust.

Step 2 - Wash it Down

Once the floor has been lifted of dust, take a soft sponge mop and immerse it into a bucket with warm water. Wring out excess water before touching it to the floor. Using soap or vinegar on the terrazzo floor is not recommended. Soap can leave residue while the acid from the vinegar may leave marks on the flooring.

Step 3 - Mopping the Mess

Using the sponge mop, start mopping the floor in vertical strokes; horizontal strokes tend to leave more marks from the mop. Use clean water and go over the floor numerous times with the mop to loosen dirt and grime. Wring the mop after each stroke.

Step 4 - Allow for Drying Time

Once the floor has been washed with the mop, use soft, clean white towels to dry the floor thoroughly. It is best to get down in your hands and knees and dry the floor accordingly so no streaks will be visible.

Step 5 - Decide if You Should Polish

Depending on the foot traffic of the flooring in the house, it may be necessary to seal and polish the terrazzo floor if it appears dull. There are specific products available at home improvement stores for polishing the terrazzo material, as well as sealing the polish once it has been applied.

Step 6 - Read the Directions

Before applying the store-bought polish and sealant, be sure to read the directions on the product. The National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association does not recommend giving your floor a shiny appearance. If you are not sure what type of product to apply to your terrazzo flooring, either call the manufacturer or the person who installed the flooring. Most polishes are applied and dispersed with a mop and later buffed with a buffing machine or by hand with towels.

Daily dusting and mopping of your terrazzo floor is usually enough to keep it clean and looking like new.