Terrazzo is a rather popular flooring material due to its durability and opulent appearance. However, many homeowners have always been skeptical about the use of terrazzo on frequently wet spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms. This is because traditional terrazzo comprises a cement-based binder that it porous and can soak in water.
So- will your terrazzo absorb bathroom water or not? Can you install terrazzo as your shower base? What are the advantages and disadvantages of installing terrazzo flooring in your bathroom? We answer these questions and more in this article.
Can you install terrazzo on bathroom floors?
Yes- you can install terrazzo flooring on bathroom floors- either as a new installation or as part of a remodeling project. However, we recommend going for epoxy terrazzo as opposed to traditional, cementious terrazzo. This is because bathrooms are typically wet and non-porous epoxy terrazzo won’t get damaged as it won’t soak in the water lying on the floor surface. Porous cement-based terrazzo, on the other hand, may end up getting stained or discolored as the cementious grout absorbs the bathroom water.
If you’re considering installing terrazzo flooring as part of your bathroom remodeling project, here’s a detailed procedure for properly installing terrazzo tiles:
- Start by dry-fitting the tiles. To achieve the look of slab terrazzo using terrazzo tiles, lay the tiles up against each other, while cutting the edge tiles to fit using a diamond-edge wet saw.
- Next, spread a single, light layer of wet-set adhesive over the entire bathroom subfloor, then give it about 15 minutes to set.
- Once the adhesive sets, install the first row of terrazzo tiling by starting at the center of the bathroom floor as you work your way towards the wall. The tiles should fit tightly against each other such that there are no joint spaces. You can then use a rubber mallet to make the tiles stick better to the adhesive.
- Next, install the row of edge tiles that you’d previously cut to size. You can then proceed to lay the rest of the terrazzo tile sheets in continuous rows.
- To ensure even stronger bonding between the installed tiles and the adhesive underneath, roll a 150-pound floor roller over the entire bathroom floor surface.
- Finish off by sealing your new terrazzo bathroom floor with a commercial terrazzo sealer. This will help prevent any kind of water penetration and consequent damage to the concrete or wood subfloor, or staining on the terrazzo surface itself.
Below are some of the advantages of installing terrazzo floor tiles in your bathroom:
- Terrazzo flooring is relatively durable. Non-porous epoxy terrazzo- specifically- can withstand wear for years due to its water and stain-resistant capabilities. What’s more, unlike vinyl flooring which is quite susceptible to microbes, terrazzo flooring is bacteria-resistant.
- Terrazzo floor tiles comes in a wide variety of stylistic designs, depending on the arrangement and colors of the marble and natural stone chips. For instance, if you’re going for that minimalistic, contemporary look in your bathroom; monochromatic terrazzo tiles would fit right in. Conversely, if you prefer a grandiose, expressive style in your bathroom; we recommend going for terrazzo tiling with multicolored design patterns.
- A couple types of terrazzo flooring- epoxy terrazzo and polyacrylate terrazzo- are great for bathroom restoration projects since they can be laid over existing wooden or concrete subfloors. Epoxy also boasts greater sanitary qualities compared to other types of natural stone flooring- making it a great choice for bathrooms.
- Polyacrylate terrazzo offers great UV light protection, making it a perfect fit for bathrooms that are exposed to a substantial amount of natural light. Using other types of natural stone in such settings would result in the floor getting discolored.
Despite all the benefits that it offers, installing terrazzo flooring in bathrooms presents a few drawbacks, as discussed below:
- Terrazzo has high maintenance requirements. Regular sweeping and mopping is necessary to preserve the high-gloss finish on terrazzo surfaces. What’s more, terrazzo floor restoration, which is recommended every two years, is a labor-intensive and costly process that involves grinding and polishing the surface to restore its factory look.
- Terrazzo is rather slippery due to its satiny finish. This makes it a significant safety hazard, especially in homes with children or elderly people. As such, we advise the use of anti-slip mats for bathroom floors if you’ll be installing terrazzo in your bathroom.
Can you install a terrazzo shower base?
Your shower base is probably one of the wettest areas in your bathroom. As such, you may be wondering whether it’s a good idea to install terrazzo flooring in such an area. The answer is yes, so long as the terrazzo has been sealed. Sealed terrazzo is non-porous and won’t allow water to penetrate its structure and cause staining or structural damage.
The good news is that most commercial terrazzo tile sheets come pre-sealed, albeit at the expense of increased costs. However, if you’re installing slab terrazzo as your shower base, or your terrazzo tiles aren’t pre-sealed, you can always seal the surface with a premium-quality terrazzo floor sealer.
Finally, before installing a terrazzo shower base, read through the terrazzo manufacturer’s instructions as recommendations. For instance, some brands only recommend the installation of their terrazzo flooring over a grout or mortar base to prevent cracking.