In this article, we will cover the benefits of specifying a seamless epoxy terrazzo floor system.
Table of Contents
The origins of terrazzo flooring dates back centuries where discarded chips from marble slab processing operations were set and submerged in clay using rubbing stones to create a smooth and decorative surface. With many ancient terrazzo floors still in service today, it is a real testament to the durability and longevity of the material as a floor covering solution.
Today, technological innovations have seen resin-based terrazzo flooring systems launched to market. These seamless systems are even more sustainable and durable than their cementitious predecessors and have been successfully installed at a number of landmark large-scale commercial developments across the world because of the resilience of its floor finishes.
When it comes to evaluating the efficiencies of a floor finish on a lifecycle basis, seamless epoxy resin terrazzo is a popular choice in environments such as shopping malls, entertainment venues, hospitals and airports because its hardwearing surface helps impede wear and tear, which lead to significant cost savings on maintenance and refurbishments over time.
Seamless epoxy terrazzo offers design flexibility unrivalled by any other flooring material. With an unlimited resin colour palette, epoxy terrazzo can come in a wide scope of aggregate materials including:
Resin terrazzo systems can be laid in a wide variety of complicated patterns and designs. Using brass or aluminium strips to create a matrix outlining the required design, resin terrazzo is simply used to fill each block or segment in a way not dissimilar to painting by numbers. Once the surface is ground the design emerges from the surface of the floor.
Seamless epoxy terrazzo flooring has an outstanding record for durability and performance. With correct care and maintenance, the floor will typically last or even outlast the lifetime of the structure in which it resides.
The composition of the material, including both the hard-cure epoxy resin and the hardwearing aggregate chippings, delivers a robust surface, which, as a result, has been proven to alleviate maintenance cost and energy usage over time.
Typically, 17% of a seamless epoxy terrazzo floor is made up of processed epoxy resin binders. The remainder of the floor’s make-up includes naturally occurring or recycled aggregates as well as pigments and fillers.
Up to 60% of a terrazzo floor’s composition can be aggregate content, all of which can represent pre or post-consumer waste including recycled clear, coloured and mirror glass chippings as well as granite, flint, marble and mother-of-pearl chips from stone-processing plants.
Mature resin terrazzo floors can be stripped and re-sealed using water-based products in order to restore the finish to its original vibrancy. Recycled aluminium strips can also be used to complete any design work on the floor.
Epoxy resin is a low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that omits minimal odour during installation. The finished material is non-porous and seamless thereby prohibiting moisture from penetrating the surface.
The non-porosity of the epoxy material eliminates microbial growth and as a result can be used to improve the indoor environmental air quality of the commercial development where it resides.
Floors are well known to take more abuse than any other surface within a commercial setting, mainly from the high volumes of foot traffic that they are subjected to. As a result, an effective cleaning and maintenance routine should be in place to preserve the aesthetic and performance of the terrazzo finish.
The low maintenance aspect of the terrazzo material can lead to significant energy savings over time. Whereas floor coverings such as carpet, tiles or vinyl require energy intensive vacuum or steam cleaning on a regular basis, the best method for cleaning epoxy flooring is by using a dry and damp mop alongside the occasional spray buff.
It is important to use a cleaning agent with a pH value between 7 and 10 as harsh cleaning materials may cause damage to the epoxy terrazzo surface. All-purpose cleaning products or those containing water-soluble, inorganic and crystallising salts, as well as harmful acids or alkalis should be avoided.
Sealers recommended by the manufacturer can also be used to eliminate wear patterns caused by long periods of heavy traffic. The use of cleaning compounds containing oil may lead to permanent damage of the surface whereas waxy products may result in a slippery surface. These too, are to be avoided.
Typically, throughout the lifetime of a commercial building, the total flooring cost can be 35 times that of the initial installation price, so it is crucial to consider long-term cost-saving efficiencies at specification stage.
The National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association (NTMA) conducted the following analysis into the lifecycle cost performance of seamless epoxy terrazzo systems compared to competitive floor covering solutions over a 40-year period.
The results demonstrated that epoxy terrazzo offered clients the lowest lifecycle cost of any floor finish resulting from its durability, low maintenance requirements and minimal need for repair or replacement. In fact, no competitive commercial finish comes close to the life-cycle performance of epoxy and cementitious terrazzo.
With the extensive list of benefits when selecting an epoxy terrazzo floor system, it's no surprise that we have worked on a number of projects across the Asia Pacific Region. Click here to read more about our Mondeco range...
This guide has been produced to give an overview of the benefits when choosing an epoxy terrazzo flooring system for a commercial development.
Detailed recommendations and advice are available from our network of regional technical and sales representatives.