If you’ve been looking for a stylish and durable material for floors, countertops, or other surfaces, there are few finishes more timeless than terrazzo. This material has been used and around for at least 600 years, terrazzo continues to dazzle and dominate in all kinds of locations in the modern home.
The History Behind Terrazzo
The Renaissance was an incredible time for artists and architects, alongside all the fancy sculptures and haunting stained glass, there was an incredible amount of waste in the form of scrap chips. It was probably an accidental discovery outside of artisan workshops that led to terrazzo, but over time, Italians noticed that walking over those marble, glass, and other durable chips pushed them into workshop floors. Over time, Italians learned to create terrazzo on purpose, by scattering the chips from workshops onto clay bases, compressing them, and polishing them for a more uniform look. It has since been used in such famous locations as St. Peter’s Basilica and George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and spread like wildfire in new homes built from the 1940s through the 1960s.
Looking for Sustainability?
Terrazzo is considered a sustainable floor option, provided you choose one made the old fashioned way: out of recycled materials. Leftover bits of glass, marble, stone, and even more modern materials like plastic can be included in a terrazzo floor to create a unique look. As long as there are manufacturing processes going on, there will be plenty of waste that can be turned into terrazzo. It’s an excellent way to use up these materials and prevent them from ending up in a landfill.
Choosing Terrazzo for Your Home
Terrazzo is one of the most flexible surface coverings available, and considering its long lifespan, one of the best values. You can use terrazzo indoors or out:
Use it as a backsplash
A great solution for oddly shaped areas
It can be purchased as pre-made tiles or poured in place. There’s no pattern to match, and no wrong direction to turn terrazzo tiles, making a tile option a reasonable DIY project for people who want to try their hand at their own backsplash or shower tile.
If you’d rather use a pour-in-place terrazzo option, you’ll likely need professional help. There’s a great deal of equipment and skill involved in getting everything just so to keep your terrazzo at its best for the long haul.