How to Design Terrazzo For Your Projects
Working with terrazzo is a creative process. Typically used as a decorative floor, terrazzo allows designers to customize the signature look for countertops, stairs, and other terrazzo finishes as well. We’ll discuss how to design terrazzo and provide tips on how you can achieve the perfect design for your building project.
Deciding on Color
There are two main components that determine the color of terrazzo: the resin and the aggregates.
When creating samples, the resin and aggregates form a mix design. The resin color will form the base color and aggregates can be customized by ratios to get a distinct look. All percentages will add up to 100%.
For example, you can have the following mix designs:
- One aggregate, One size
- One aggregate but with different size variations
- Multiple aggregates combined together that vary in type, size, and colors.
There are many combinations to consider. More on developing custom mix designs later.
Pictured: Picking terrazzo colors is similar to picking paint colors. Any color is possible.
Selecting Resin Color
Epoxy terrazzo is a modern style of terrazzo allowing designers to select any color they want for their applications.
Traditional cement-based terrazzo is limited to only earth tone colors, so epoxy terrazzo has its advantages when a floor requires a unique blend of colors.
When selecting a color for your terrazzo floor design, we recommend referring to a color palette from a major paint manufacturer (Ex. Sherwin-Williams, BEHR, Benjamin Moore, etc.). A terrazzo manufacturer will match the epoxy resin to any color from any color deck.
Selecting the Aggregates
When working with epoxy terrazzo, aggregates options are plentiful. Aggregates complement the epoxy resin to form the terrazzo design, creating a speckled appearance. Within the terrazzo industry, chips and aggregates are terms used interchangeably.
So what options are available for terrazzo?
- Marble chips
- Granite chips
- Glass chips
- Porcelain chips
- Shell chips
- Plastic chips
- Metal chips
- Pebble Chips
Marble, glass, and shell chips are the most commonly used aggregates for modern terrazzo applications. You can find marble chips in various tints, shades, and tones for each color. Glass chips are great to use if you are looking to add a more vibrant color choice.
For LEED points, consider recycled options such as post-industrial and post-consumer glass, concrete, and porcelain.
Take a moment to explore possible chip options: View TERRAZZCO Aggregates
Developing Mix Designs
Now that we’ve talked about the possible options for epoxy colors and aggregates, we’ll discuss how to create a custom mix design for your terrazzo project.
As mentioned before, aggregates are customized in ratios that add up to 100% of the total mix design. The ratio consists of the specific aggregate and its size.
In the terrazzo industry, aggregates are available in different size gradations. They can range from size 0 to size 8.
For 3/8″ epoxy terrazzo floors, standard-size aggregates are recommended. Standard size refers to aggregates available in size 0, 1, and 2.
Venetian terrazzo refers to aggregates ranging from size 3 through size 8. Due to the size of the aggregate, the overall thickness of the terrazzo must increase accordingly. There is a premium cost associated with this style.
Standard Mix Designs
We’ll take a look at how variations in aggregates and color can effect the outcome of your terrazzo design.
Chip Size Variations
Georgia White is a marble chips often used in today’s terrazzo installations. In the diagram, you will notice how the aggregate appears at various standard sizes. At size #0, the aggregate is crushed into a finer material and increases in size as you ascend up the gradation chart. For custom mix designs, you can mix and match any number of aggregates by color and it size. The last example shows a mixture of Georgia White marble chips of various sizes equaling 100%. You can tweak the mix design by adding more or less of an aggregate or its size. Another example might include a mix design with 50% Georgia White at size 1 and 50% Georgia White at size #2.
Real-World Application: The terrazzo floors were installed at a Performing Arts Center (above). Many classic terrazzo designs typically include one or two colors. For this project, the epoxy terrazzo floor designs a geometric pattern in the lobby. Once a mix design is approved, materials are procured and delivered to the construction site for installation. As you can see, the geometric terrazzo design is divided into two colors. For the white terrazzo part of the design, a white epoxy resin is mixed with white marble chips (size #0 and size #1), and poured in place according to the design plans.
In this exhibit, the aggregate contents remain the same; however, the resin color is different. By changing the color of the epoxy resin, designers can achieve an entirely new look. You can notice in the mix design that aggregates like Autoblack Glass and One-Sided Mirror are listed multiple times, detailing the size and how much of each aggregate is added to the design.
Real-World Application: The mix designs shown above were used to design the terrazzo floors at Carolina Parks Elementary School. Epoxy terrazzo allows designers to create artistic floors that use multiple colors. At the Carolina Parks Elementary School, the floor’s design displays images of acorns and tree leaves, creating an engaging learning environment for young students.
Some projects may require 10-20 colors for a terrazzo floor depending on its design. You will see many artistic floors especially in airports around the world and even in universities and school systems. Schools normally pair the terrazzo floor with their school colors and have the option to add in their mascot logo as well.
Custom Mix Designs
We’ll now offer some more examples of how you can design terrazzo in different ways.
One aggregate, One size
There are many aggregate options offered by terrazzo suppliers. TERRAZZCO offers exclusive aggregates with over 50 colors to choose from.
When developing a mix design for your project, you can select one aggregate at a specific size. This is often common with micro or Venetian style designs. A common design trend that uses this method is pairing a white epoxy resin with a white aggregate.
I’ve selected two TERRAZZCO aggregates, Salt and Pepper Granite and One-Sided Mirror, to show how you can use just a single aggregate to achieve at a consistent size.
One aggregate but with different size variations
In addition to using the same-sized aggregate in the design, you can also use an aggregate of varying sizes as well.
This further extends your design freedom. You can pair size #0 chips with size #1 chips, pair size #2 chips with #1 chips, or add all standard chips to your overall design.
In the following examples, you will see two TERRAZZCO aggregates, Glacier Black and Verde Alto, used to create a mix design with different size chips. Notice the percentages for both examples as they add up to 100%
Multiple aggregates combinations
Working with multiple aggregates gives you the most customized terrazzo designs. There are many options to explore with endless possibilities. This process can take some time, but in the end, you are able to create a terrazzo design that meets your goals. Custom terrazzo designs are truly one-of-a-kind.
You can pair one or two aggregates together, or several aggregates for one mix design. As mentioned before, you have the option to mix and match marble, glass, and shell chips.
How to Get Started
Working with terrazzo is an easy process. If you are looking for design inspiration, we recommend visiting our samples page to browse through different terrazzo designs: TERRAZZCO Terrazzo Samples. This will enable you to see the different color options and trends available.
Concord Terrazzo Company offers TERRAZZCO free terrazzo samples to the architectural and design community.
We also offer design consultation to discuss affordable options and a custom sample development program where a representative will collaborate with you to bring your ideas to life.
Custom samples are made to order and take approximately two weeks to deliver the samples. If you have any questions about how TERRAZZCO Brand Products can be used on your next terrazzo project, please contact one of our Concord Terrazzo representatives at firstname.lastname@example.org.