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The best tiles for a terrazzo flooring project

Terrazzo is a type of material used in flooring and wall treatments. It is known for its speckled appearance.

The best tiles for a terrazzo flooring project

Juliet Taylor


September 30th, 2022

What is terrazzo flooring?

Terrazzo is a material made from a cementitious binder and/or polymeric with chips of marble, quartz, granite, or glass. The invention of Terrazzo flooring is accredited to the Italians – specifically, the Venetians – but there have been discoveries of terrazzo-like floors in Turkish ruins which date back to 8,000 – 10,000 years. Nevertheless, the Italians at least hold credit for the name; “terrazzo” originated from the Italian word for “terrace.”

Interestingly enough, terrazzo was actually created by chance. Venetian marble workers began to set discarded chips from marble slabs into the terraces of their homes during the 15th century. The results were stunning and terrazzo quickly evolved into the popular flooring material it is today, with glass and quartz chips as well as marble.

Terrazzo saw a modern resurgence in the 1920s. It gained popularity with the Art Deco movement and was seen as a beautiful, eccentric flooring material with a practical lifespan. Since then, the popularity of terrazzo flooring has waxed and waned throughout the decades.

Terrazzo reached its peak in the 1070s with the rise of disco before cooling off once again. In the late 2010s terrazzo began a meteoric rise into designer homes, featuring everywhere from kitchen bench tops to wall tiles to floors and dining tables. This has waned over recent years but Terrazzo remains a stylish material to include within the home.

What is terrazzo flooring made of?

Terrazzo is made of a combination of the most durable flooring materials. It will have a base of either cement or epoxy resin. This includes some combination of the following.

  • Cement
  • Epoxy
  • Quartz
  • Marble
  • Granite
  • Concrete
  • Recycled glass
  • Porcelain
  • Metal aggregates

Benefits of terrazzo flooring

  • Durability: Terrazzo has a very long life cycle. The average lifespan of terrazzo floors is around 75 years. With proper care, terrazzo floors can last over a century. Terrazzo floors typically last as long as the structure they are laid within.
  • Easy maintenance: Terrazzo floors are suitable for high traffic areas and will withstand heavy wear over time. Repairs are rare and simple, especially with terrazzo tile. Routine dry and damp mopping is enough to keep terrazzo looking new. For the longest lifespan, terrazzo floors should be re-sealed every 12-18 months.
  • Diversity: Terrazzo comes in a huge range of colours, aggregates and styles. This makes it a versatile material which can suit just about any interior.

Disadvantages of terrazzo flooring

  • Cost: Terrazzo flooring is one of the most expensive flooring materials around, inclusive of labour. On average, poured terrazzo flooring costs between $120-$250 per square metre. However, terrazzo tiles are much more reasonable (and popular) at around $35-$85 per square metre.
  • Installation: The installation of terrazzo is labour intensive and quite difficult. This contributes to the expense of the materials. You may attempt to DIY, but you should familiarize yourself with epoxy flooring and the demands of an epoxy project first. Unlike concrete terrazzo, terrazzo tiles are easy to install.
  • Scratch resistance: Terrazzo is susceptible to scratching and staining if it is not properly sealed.

Terrazzo flooring Australia: The best terrazzo floor tiles for Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane

10. Outdoors

outdoor terrazzo courtyard

The supreme durability of terrazzo flooring makes it an ideal candidate for outdoor use. It is weather, water and heat resistant and will likely outlast your interior floors even with heavy outdoor exposure.

9. Terrazzo and tadelakt

terrazzo and tadelakt bathroom

Tadelakt is a waterproof plaster primarily used by designers for bathroom amenities such as baths, sinks, walls and sometimes floors. It is made from treated lime plaster and has a smooth finish which resembles natural stone. Tadelakt is low maintenance and pairs well with terrazzo because of its organic, handmade appearance.

8. Patterned

mosaic look bespoke terrazzo flooring tile

Terrazzo is a versatile material which you can find in a variety of patterns. Mosaic terrazzo has a gorgeous natural look that feels true to its Italian roots.

7. Terrazzo tiles bathroom

terrazzo bathroom splashback

Terrazzo is an excellent material to include in the bathroom, from walls to floors to counter tops. Its natural water resistance makes it perfectly suited to protecting the room from common bathroom splashes and water leakage.

6. Coloured

assortment of colourful terrazzo tiles

Terrazzo is not always plain white! There are many different colour variations that you can find in the characteristic terrazzo look. A bright colour such as the pink or yellow pictured above could be exactly what your interior needs to make it pop.

5. Terrazzo look vinyl

terrazzo vinyl tile flooring self adhesive

Vinyl flooring, sometimes known as hybrid flooring, is a type of combination flooring made from plastic, limestone and/or wood which has the capability to resemble other flooring types. Terrazzo look tiles are a type of vinyl terrazzo that provides an affordable alternative to authentic epoxy terrazzo. You can purchase the above tiles here from Vinyl Home for $39/pack.

4. Terrrazzo laminate

laminate terrazzo flooring floating floor

Laminate flooring is quite similar to vinyl in that it can resemble other flooring materials such as wood, terrazzo, marble and natural stone. Laminate has a composite base with a base layer of printed paper. Much like vinyl and linoleum terrazzo, it is an affordable alternative to traditional terrazzo floors.

3. Modern residential

modern designer home with natural terrazzo floor and benchtop kitchen

Terrazzo has regained popularity in the eyes of contemporary design. Modern terrazzo interiors are often swept with neutral, speckled terrazzo from floor to counter top. This creates a raw, naturalistic appearance that calms the interior flair.

2. Bespoke tiles

terrazzo multicoloured patterned flooring tile bespoke artisan suppliers

Bespoke and artisan tiles are always in demand for modern designs. Terrazzo floor tiles are no different; authentic tiles of cement terrazzo are in high demand from trusted retailers across Australia such as Anterior XL.

1. Epoxy terrazzo

epoxy terrazzo floor kitchen

Epoxy is a protective layer you can apply to flooring which fortifies it against damage for decades. It is made from a number of polymer resins and hardeners which ensure its durability. Epoxy terrazzo is guaranteed to last for decades. It will set and protect the colours of the glass/marble/granite pieces so that your terrazzo floors shine.

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