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   How to:  Clean  |  Seal  |  Restore

Terrazzo - Tile or Poured Slab

Marble or Stone pieces with a cement binder

                   (If the binder is resin, see Agglomerates)  

Sealing - Cleaning - Problem Solving - Protection - Care

help with flooring
terrazzo floor

Terrazzo - Cleaning and Sealing

terrazzo floor 
Terrazzo is composed of marble chips and/or marble dust with a cement binder.  It is available as finished individual tiles or as poured in place over a concrete slab and then ground to the polished finish.  The presence of marble in the chips and/or dust means that the surface can dull down by etching from acidic liquids. To prevent this effect, it needs to have a sealer protecting it.  See below for sealers.

There is no need for confusion or problems brought about by misidentification of a surface type, yet it happens all too often. If you would like to see why this is the case and how to properly identify a surfacing material ..... Click here

If you are concerned about doing it yourself - consider that the satisfaction of a project is directly related to your knowledge of what needs to be done and how. Who actually does the work is less important. We estimate that 25% of the usage of Aldon products is by "do it yourself" homeowners and we know they are happy because we hear from them.

MATERIAL DESCRIPTION - With Identifying Characteristics
Typical absorption range = extremely low

Testing your surfacing for absorption rate

Testing for acid sensitivity

Note this on your worksheet for later reference

  • Approximately 3/8 inch thick.
  • Very precise dimensions if in tile format
  • Very flat and square
  • Finish is "honed" (smooth, softer looking, not very reflective) to "polished".
  • Surface is very hard
  • Tile is a factory produced material using pieces of stone, stone dust, and cement binder.
  • Poured in place slab coatings are the same material with expansion joints of brass (or other material)
  • Wide range of colors and styles.
  • Confirm if it contains marble or limestone with a drop of muriatic (swimming pool) acid. Marble and limestone fizz on contact. Cement also fizzes, but resin does not.  See testing for acid reaction.
terrazzo flooring
  • Almost any design, style and finish is available.
  • Factory made, therefore more precise and controlled than quarried stones.
  • Little or no variation from batch to batch.
CONSIDERATIONS      (All Are Preventable!)

(Click links for Aldon's solutions to these issues!)

  • If the stone and/or dust used is marble or limestone, the finish will dull and etch from acidic liquids. Protect from acidic liquids with an Aldon sealer. See 
  • Acidic cleaners should be avoided in the installation process because they could dull the finish of marble/cement materials. If the tile grouting process scratches the surface, review Aldon "Grout Easy" before grouting. "Grout Easy" is a water soluble coating and comes off easily while grout is being cleaned up with water and a sponge.
  • Questions come up all the time about restoring older Terrazzo floors.  You can find the answers in    and here

Following are recommendations for products you may need (in sequence of use ) for whichever of the categories applies to you. Please review each and mark your printed worksheet accordingly.

Layed, But Not Grouted

  1.  Grout Easy
  2. Efflorescence            Treatment       
  3. Grout Residue
    (should not be needed after using Grout Easy)     
Grouted, But Not Sealed
  1. Grout Residue
  2.  Efflorescence            Treatment       
  3. .............Sealer ( see below )
  4. Lifeguard
  5. Care ...........

Sealer Has Been Applied

Important! - First - Click here!

  1. Aldon Products Premium Stripper
  2. ...........Cleaners   ?
  3. ...........Sealer ( see below )
  4. Lifeguard
  5. Care ..........

Regarding The Sealer Results Shown Below

The golden rule here is to choose the sealer for the least absorbent of the components so that you seal without excess buildup on the denser marble chips.  See below for suggestions.

An Aldon sealer does far more than just bead water and look pretty! To see what that is click here.

Your results may vary somewhat from these pictures due to variations in computer display and the surface materials themselves. Nevertheless, you will be able to see the differences well enough to make good choices. Different areas of the same piece are used as much as possible to minimize raw material variations. Of all the sealers Aldon manufactures, the ones shown are recommended as best suited to this surface type. (Important: If your project has had any sealer applied in the past, it must be evaluated differently. To see why, Click here!)

(The tile pieces shown are actually Agglomerate.  The characteristics for sealing purposes are identical between Agglomerate and Terrazzo.)

Unsealed tile  >>

"Same Day Sealer"

Water Based - Penetrating Type

"Same Day Sealer" is recommended when sealing only the grout. It wipes easily from the tile face to make the process easier.

"S-B-S Sealer"

Solvent Based - Penetrating Type

Recommended for Agglomerates and Terrazzo
Note: This surface is already very low in absorption and of high reflectivity. The best visual results are usually achieved with a spray application. S-B-S Sealer is available in spray cans for small projects. For large projects, see information on spray equipment here . However, you can certainly test the standard "pour and spread" of a gallon can and evaluate.

Top picture - sealed with SBS Sealer:
  • Sealed in one application
  • Low (matte) gloss
  • No color change on most agglomerates

Bottom picture - acid test

  • Fully Sealed - left half
  • Not sealed - right half
  • SBS Sealer virtually undetectable on surface.
  • Left side sealed with SBS Sealer
  • Right side unsealed

Acid Protection:

Above you can see a line of liquid at the arrow.  This is full strength muriatic (pool) acid. The arrow points to the left half that is sealed with S-B-S Sealer and is without any fizzing acid reaction. The unprotected side on the right is fizzing and etching from the acid.

Other care products you might need for this surface type



Dust Whiz

* Note:       will add another level of gloss to any of the above sealed surfaces.
It also prevents traffic wear to the sealers finish.

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