Terrazzo and polished concrete are two materials that are used to create a unique and appealing floor in your home. They look similar and both are durable, reliable flooring options that are low maintenance and sustainable. However, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two so we’ll break down everything you need to know below.
What Is Terrazzo?
Terrazzo flooring contains a higher amount of aggregate in a cement and epoxy base which results in a shiny finish with larger chunks of stone in it. The aggregate used in terrazzo can be just about anything including marble flakes, glass, and stone. It can be poured and laid similar to polished concrete and can be used to create nearly any design you desire. Additionally, terrazzo can be colored and is even available in premade floor tiles.
What Is Polished Concrete?
Polished concrete, on the other hand, is the process of taking normal concrete and mechanically grinding it down to expose the internal aggregate. This gives polished concrete a terrazzo-like finish. This can be done on existing concrete floors or even new concrete slabs you’ve recently installed. Concrete coloring can also be added during the grinding and polishing of your slab to create unique, beautiful patterns and colors.
How Terrazzo & Polished Concrete Differ
While they look similar and are both very durable products, there are some key differences to be aware of.
Cost: Terrazzo flooring can be very expensive to pour since the aggregate that’s mixed in can vary so widely. For example, mixing marble or pearl into your aggregate is going to cost more than a lower-cost stone. Polished concrete, on the other hand, is a very economical choice that produces a similar look to terrazzo. The only things that fluctuate the price for polished concrete are the size of the area, the amount of prep work, whether or not you’re looking for a specific pattern, and the staining and dyeing process.
Aggregate: The next difference between concrete and terrazzo is aggregate usage. Concrete is typically 30% coarse aggregate while terrazzo has a much higher coarse aggregate usage of around 70%.
Installation: Concrete polishing is often done with an existing slab of concrete making the installation process much less labor-intensive. Terrazzo, on the other hand, has to be mixed to specifications and poured before being ground and polished.
Ongoing Maintenance: Polished concrete has a high shine finish that doesn’t require waxing and stays shiny for a very long time. Terrazzo floors are similar but may require buffing, resealing, and waxing periodically.
Safety: Polished concrete is one of the less slippery floors available. Terrazzo, however, requires waxing and buffing which can create a slippery surface. But you can add a slip-resistant sealer to your terrazzo which will increase its grip.
Terrazzo & Polished Concrete Similarities
Both of these flooring materials are highly durable, look great, can be made to match any color or style, is resistant to moisture and stains, and each floor is one of a kind. They’re also both environmentally friendly options that hold temperature well.
Call AM Construction & Concrete For a Free Quote
If you’re considering either a terrazzo or polished concrete floor, call the experts at AM Construction & Concrete for a free quote. We’ll provide you with a free, transparent breakdown of the costs and timelines required for your specific project.