This blog will cover some terrazzo restoration myths I hear from people every day. When a terrazzo restoration worker comes to your door, their job is to sell you on their company and technique, as well as on themselves. Unfortunately, many companies over sell themselves and their system in order to get the job. If someone promises you a perfect floor, they are not being honest. Antique terrazzo flooring seldom comes out perfect. If you restore an old car you can use bonding agent and paint the surface. With terrazzo, imperfection cannot be painted away. If you fill a hole it may blend perfectly, but it most likely will not. Our goal is to get the holes to blend with the floor so they do not stand out. Most are hard to find, some are very hard to find. Another myth is that a floor can look good with only three steps, or without metal bond diamond grinding. Three step polishing on an old Portland cement terrazzo floor will not get a quality polished floor. Some companies that produce a non-shiny floor and try to recrystallize, or use final step polishing powders. Quality does not come with shortcuts. Remember that a terrazzo restoration cost that does not take into account value is a rip-off. A terrazzo floor done right will have a high shine, no topical finish or topical sealer and last for years and years before needing any polishing. Recrystallization, crystallization, and vitrification are all the same thing. In my opinion, as well as most experts I know, this kind of restoration does not last as long and damages terrazzo and marble flooring. Many floors I have seen with recrystallization have swirls and scratches in them. If you use this process, you can get a shine even though the floor shows poor workmanship. I am not saying all these companies do a bad job, but in the end you get a terrazzo floor that needs rebuffed every one or two years. The floor is completely sealed, so it cannot breath. This damages the terrazzo floor. That is the opinion of many who know the science behind these techniques.
Filling Holes and Chips in Terrazzo Flooring
There are many ways to fill holes and chips in terrazzo flooring. We heard a story last week about one of them. This company will be included in a couple of examples. The restorer was filling holes with white epoxy without any other pigment. After it cured he was painting rocks on the top. A worker was in the house doing something else and commented, “I don’t think the owner will be happy with that. The restorer responded, “People love this, everyone loves this.” Well the owner hated it. White epoxy without pigment will stand out across the room. We never paint rocks onto a floor. We use a white epoxy to start. We match that epoxy with pigment as closely as we can to the Portland cement. Once we fill the holes we add rocks that usually match the stones in the floor. If the stones are still available then we have them. We fill the hole just over the level of the floor then grind them down flat the next day. We feel his gives the best result possible.
Three Step Terrazzo Restoration Vs Up to Fourteen Steps
When I do terrazzo restoration I use a 400 pound machine that has three heads and while they spin one direction, the entire head counter-rotates. I recently bid a job where a company rep said “His machine weighs 400 pounds and mine weighs 150.” I just need to do more passes and I will have the same result. The problem is if your machine weighs eight hundred pounds and is not planetary you will have a hard time matching the results of a planetary machine. I lost this job to the other company. When they did the job they only used three grits. The floor had no shine at all. When that company was finished the man called us to start over and do the job right. There are many ways to restore terrazzo, but I believe the system used by SafeDry is superior to any other in the industry. Remember, price and value are not synonymous. We start as low as forty grit metal bond diamonds and go up to as high as ten thousand grit.
The picture above is from a house where a company told the owner he didn’t not want a shiny floor as it would be slippery. If you took off your shoes and tried to slide across this floor, you would likely fall due to the grip the floor will have on the sole of your foot. I challenge any company to show a better terrazzo restoration picture then the one above. I will always spend the time in research to ensure my floors are the best looking floors. There are no shortcuts. If you want a floor to look good you must put the time in to get the floor to look great.
I feel that powders and recrystallization, while producing a nice floor, do not give you the best and longest lasting floor. If you start with diamond grinding and use all diamond grinding and polishing you must train your people to be patient and diligent to get the best results. When you get there my experience is you achieve the shiniest, longest lasting floor. Check out some more of our pictures just taken the week this blog was first posted. By Joe Martin SafeDry owner. Email joe@SafeDry.com phone 877-824-0501