Refinishing Terrazzo Floors

Lead Image
  • 48-72 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 150-500
What You'll Need
Terrazzo floor finishing material
Special wax for terrazzo floors
Terrazzo floor cleaner
Rags or towels
Wax stripper
Floor buffer/sander

Terrazzo floors are very expensive and opulent. The ancient Romans used terrazzo floors in places of the highest power like cathedrals and government structures. Today, these floors are found in pricey hotels, office buildings and banks. They consist of marble chips, granite and glass. Terrazzo floors are installed on top of concrete and, in some cases, produced a pattern or illustration, like a mosaic. The finish is a resin or polyurethane, which is then covered in several layers of wax. Refinishing terrazzo floors is not only a long process but a difficult one. The article below will share with you what goes into refinishing terrazzo floors, as well as things to avoid when doing so.

Special Cleaners

Terrazzo floors are durable, but they need to be cleaned regularly. Sometimes this is all you need to do to them. When terrazzo floors are installed, they are coated with polyurethane to seal the floor but are also covered with special wax. This wax helps to prevent the floors from getting dirty, but regular use can cause the wax to become scuffed and dingy. Even though the floor may look scratched or stained, it very well may not be. Use water mixed with terrazzo floor cleaner. Using any other cleaners can damage the floor. Mix three gallons of water with one cup of cleaner. Mop the floor as you would normally.

Scrubbing Materials

Never use any tools that are abrasive. Doing this will cause you to unintentionally strip the floor of its wax and sealer. Only use clean rags and towels when wiping down and buffing the floor. You can also use a power buffer with a terrycloth pad.

Strip the Sealer

In order to fully refinish terrazzo floors, you need to strip away both the wax and the polyurethane coating found on them. This is a process that takes a long time to accomplish. You need to use a very good wax stripper and apply it to the floor in patches, working in small areas at a time. Once the stripper is applied, you need to wait at least an hour and then wipe away the wax. You will need to do this several times until the wax or polyurethane is fully removed.

WARNING: Check the wax stripper's safety label to see if there are any special precautions, such as whether to wear a respirator mask or special shoes while applying it.

Imperfections Removed

If the terrazzo floors become damaged below the sealer, you can remove these imperfections by buffing and sanding. Never use a sander with large grit sandpaper, as most scratches you will find are surface scratches. Even if you have to go deeper to remove larger scratches, the refinishing process will fill them in and the stone will look as good as new.

Protect the Investment

After the floor is cleaned and scratches, removed you need to protect the floor all over again. The resin or polyurethane is applied in two to three coats. From here you will use floor wax in several layers then the terrazzo floors are polished and buffed.