Terrazzo floors are one of the oldest floors available.  First introduced in the 1700s, they have gone in and out of style over the centuries.  However, no one can deny they are a very hardy floor, durable, and often, very attractive.

However, for cleaning contractors and facility managers, cleaning and maintaining a terrazzo floor can be challenging. Unlike more traditional and easier to care for floors such as VCT, terrazzo has unique needs that contractors and managers must be aware of.

But very recently, the care of terrazzo has become much easier.  This is because new technologies and floor care products have been introduced to strip and maintain terrazzo floors. These technologies also help reduce the amount of time it takes to care for these floors, and in the process, helps protect them as well.

It involves the following three steps:


If a finish or sealant has been applied to the terrazzo, it must be stripped or scrubbed off.  “Scrub-free” strippers are available that should eliminate the need for a machine scrubber. Properly mix the stripper and follow dwell time instructions per the manufacturer. Apply to the terrazzo using a flat mop and bucket filled with the solution.

This should be accompanied by deep cleaning the floor using an automatic scrubber with a 200-grit pad* and what is called, a “restoration” cleaner.

If performed correctly, these steps should only need to be completed once for the life of the floor.

Contractors should note that when using the scrubber, move forward over the floor and then turn around. This “overlapping” ensures that all floor areas are scrubbed clean.

Prepare a Foundation and Applying the Finish

Once the floor is dry, apply what is referred to as a substrate “densifier.” This is a water-based formulation that penetrates the pores in the terrazzo, helping to increase density, hardness, and provide additional protection of the floor. Using an automatic scrubber with a 400-grit, 800-grit, or even a 1500-grit pad enhances the shine.  Again, this step only needs to be performed once.

Ongoing Maintenance

Once the foundation has been created, the floor should only need to be cleaned on a regular basis and machine polished/burnished using a terrazzo cleaning solution on a regular basis.

While the process may sound a bit involved, it moves along very fast. And the fact that the first two steps – the preparation and preparing the foundation – only need to be performed once for the life of the floor, makes the process a significant time saver.

However, it is still wise to take steps to protect the terrazzo and this is best accomplished with the use of mats.  Mats help keep soil and moisture from being walked on to the floor. If possible, install a total of 15 feet of matting. Also, install what is called “high performance” matting.  The combination should help protect terrazzo and keep it looking its best.

For more information on how to care for terrazzo floors, contact one of our experts@charlotteproducts.com