DIY: Cleaning Your Own Terrazzo Floors

DIY: Cleaning Your Own Terrazzo FloorsWhat can you do to clean your own Terrazzo floors?

If you own a home in Florida that was built between the years of 1953 to 1963 it may have flooring that is Terrazzo.

What is terrazzo you may ask? Terrazzo is a type of floor that was developed in Italy many years ago by the marble installers. With the left over pieces of marble that they brought home they pieced together and set in a concrete type material and Terrazzo was born.

Fast forward to the mid-19th century and before it was being used in the United States it was being used in flood prone Caribbean islands were it could withstand floods and high humidity and moist conditions. In the U.S. it was used when we transitioned from wood frame houses with wood floors to concrete block homes with concrete foundations.

Initially using carpet as a floor covering was to expensive but the use of terrazzo in homes proved to be far less expensive. By the mid 1960’s carpet was the rage and soon all the older homes with Terrazzo were covered over with carpet.

In order to install the carpet, installers placed wood tack strips next to the walls to attach the carpet to by using nails which when removed leave wholes spaced about every 6 inches around the perimeter of the room.

The way to reverse the carpet installation process is to start by removing the carpet from the room and using a screw driver and hammer to carefully remove the wood strips leaving the nails exposed. Using a Dremel tool and a fiber re enforced blade carefully cut each nail making sure it is flush with the floor.

Once you have removed everything from the floor and the Terrazzo is exposed it is now time to clean and prep the Terrazzo for waxing. Start by using a razor and go over the entire floor to make sure that any glue from the carpet installation or any other dry dirty that is on the surface of the floor is removed.

Now you can chemically strip the floor using a high ph cleaner mixed with water. Apply liberal amounts for stripping solution one manageable section at a time. Scrub floor using a weighted floor machine and a black pad. This will remove any old wax and dirt from the floor. Wet vacuum that section and mop using a clean mop and ph neutral floor cleaner.

After the floor is completely dry you can apply 3-4 coats of a 25% solid floor finish. Wait 20 to 30 minutes before you apply each coat of wax.

Image credit: AFC Floor Care

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