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What is Terrazzo Flooring & How Much Does it Cost?

Over the years, terrazzo flooring has become extremely popular. This style of flooring adds a lot of value to homes and gives any room an elegant look. However, terrazzo floors were an accidental discovery that happened in Italy. Legend has it that mosaic artisans used to sweep leftover marble and other pieces from their mosaic masterpieces onto terraces. Over time, the surface would become smooth from people walking on it so much. Later, the artists came up with the idea to put the pieces into a more permanent base, such as clay, and cover the top with a polish. Thus, terrazzo flooring was made.

The Costs

  • Minimum cost - $20 per square foot

  • Maximum cost - $100 per square foot

The cost of terrazzo flooring is directly related to the materials out of which the floor itself is made. Since terrazzo flooring is made out of little chips and pieces of other materials, some terrazzo flooring costs more than others. For example, making pearl or marble terrazzo flooring is going to cost more than if it is made out of pieces of glass. The great thing about terrazzo flooring is that homeowners can have just about any design that they want created out of the small pieces. Homeowners do well to keep in mind, however, that more complicated designs often cost more in labor costs.

There is one way to keep the costs of terrazzo flooring down, and that is to use terrazzo tile. These are pre-made tiles using the terrazzo technique. Instead of having to hire a contractor to make the entire floor using small pieces, homeowners can hire contractors to lay down the tiles. The tiles usually run between $15 and $30 per square foot. The biggest drawback to using the terrazzo tiles is that it gives homeowners less creativity when it comes to designing their floors because all of the tiles are pre-made. That being said, the tiles still come in a wide variety of colors and styles.


Despite the fact that there are not many materials needed in the making of a terrazzo floors, the process is very time consuming. In fact, most contractors say that the most important part of laying a terrazzo floor is the surface preparation beforehand. During surface preparation, the contractor needs to fill in any cracks to create a smooth surface. Below is a list of some of the materials required during this process.

  • Terrazzo Floor Material – This can be made out of marble, glass, granite, pearl or a mixture of all.

  • Epoxy – An epoxy mixture is often used to form the base.

  • Grout – This is used to fill in any holes that may have been left while setting the epoxy base.

  • Sealer – This is the polish that is placed on top to give the floor its finished look.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Although terrazzo floors add a lot of style to any room, they have their drawbacks as well. Below is a complete breakdown of the pros and cons associated with choosing a terrazzo floor.


One of the best reasons to add a terrazzo floor to a house is to add a lot of style and flare to a room. Since terrazzo floors are not very common, they add to the value of a home as well. Although terrazzo floors can be expensive, homeowners do not have to worry about replacing them for a long time. This is because, when properly installed, a terrazzo floor is extremely durable. Expect these floors to last for decades if not centuries. Due to the sealer that is placed on top, these floors are waterproof and require very little maintenance. This is why some people choose to use a terrazzo floor outside of their home, such as around a pool. Last but not least, terrazzo floors are very green. A lot of places make terrazzo flooring out of recycled materials. For example, recycled glass is often one of the key ingredients in a terrazzo floor.


Although there are not many disadvantages to using terrazzo flooring in or around a home, these should still be noted. First of all, terrazzo floors are hard and very cold. This means that they are not always pleasant to walk on without shoes. This is especially true during the winter months. This problem is avoidable with under-floor heating, but that costs even more money, which brings up another problem with terrazzo floors. They can be extremely expensive depending on the material used to make the floor. Also, since the floor is so hard, it can be a pain to walk on or stand on for an extend period of time. This can lead to sore muscles and joints in the hips, legs and back. Last but not least, if homeowners go too extravagant with their terrazzo floor designs, it can overwhelm the room. Although nearly any design can be made using terrazzo flooring, sometimes less is better.

Terrazzo Flooring Throughout History

Believe it or not, terrazzo flooring is something that has been used throughout history by some of the greatest men who ever lived. For example, Michelangelo used terrazzo flooring in St. Peter's Basilica. Richard Neutra, the Austrian American architect, used this style in many of his designs, and even George Washington walked on terrazzo flooring in his Mount Vernon estate. By the time the 1960s rolled around, terrazzo flooring was dominating many of the southern states. Today, terrazzo flooring can be found in many custom-build houses. It has a very rich history and it continues to grow by the day.

Last updated on Mar 31, 2015

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