Terrazzo: what you need to know

Considering terrazzo for flooring or surfaces? Here's what you need to know about installation, cost and style.

By Andrea Manley | 20 February 2020

Traditionally a flooring choice with a rich history, terrazzo has had a renaissance of late, favoured for its distinctive look and used in ever more surprising applications around the home.

kitchen with terrazzo worktops and splashback - grand designs

Image: Homeowners Andrew and Francesca asked terrazzo specialists Diespeker & Co for bespoke worktops and splashbacks in distinct TE081 terrazzo to bring character to their otherwise neutral kitchen space. 

Widely used in commercial spaces for its durability, terrazzo is making its way into our homes as a  distinctive, sustainable material for flooring, wall-coverings and surfaces.

It was developed centuries ago in Italy as a budget flooring solution, using waste chips from the marble industry as a cost-cutting aggregate.

With the advent of resin terrazzo, it’s become a sought after aesthetic. While it can be demanding to manufacture and install, it’s perfect for new builds who want to add character, with huge scope for customising the colours, shapes and formations for a bespoke, individual look that’s relatively easy and cheap to achieve.

Additional words: Hugh Metcalf 

Poured terrazzo floors

kitchen with poured terrazzo flooring - grand designs

Image: Architects bureau de change sourced Fior di Pesco resin terrazzo slabs from InOpera for the floor of this contemporary kitchen extension. They cost £60 per sqm. 

Technological developments are extending the range of terrazzo types but the two main ones are cement-based and resin-based. Classic terrazzo is a mix of marble or granite aggregates set into a cement binding agent, which is ground and polished to create a smooth surface.

It is resilient, can be used inside or out, and be cast in situ or laid as tiles. Combining aggregates with an epoxy or polyurethane system is the most common installation type today.

More flexible than concrete and less likely to crack, resin-based terrazzo can be installed quickly and is a thinner, stronger material than concrete.