Poured In Place Epoxy Terrazzo vs Terrazzo Tile

Looking to invest in a terrazzo flooring system for your next project? TERRAZZCO can guide you in understanding the best flooring options available for your specific project conditions and budget. Concord Terrazzo design and technical team can perform an analysis comparing Thin-set Epoxy Terrazzo, a poured in place terrazzo system, against Custom-Made Epoxy Terrazzo Tiles. Concord Terrazzo Company can assist any design professional with specifying the best terrazzo solution based on project-specific requirements.

Floor Comparison: What Are The Main Differences Between Poured In Place Terrazzo and Terrazzo Tiles?

Epoxy Terrazzo Flooring in Lobby Space

Pictured: Seamless Epoxy Terrazzo

Precast Epoxy Terrazzo

Pictured: Terrazzo Tile

1) Grout Joints

Poured in Place Epoxy Terrazzo is a seamless flooring system that is manufactured on site by certified installers which leads to a smooth, polished surface that is free of any grout joints. Qualified terrazzo installers will apply a thin-set epoxy terrazzo at 3/8″ thickness. Terrazzo divider strips provide two functions; a.) divider strips provide crack mitigation when properly placed over existing joints or cracks in the concrete substrate, b.) divider strips can be used as a design element as a color seperation point between terrazzo colors or as a design element themselves.

 

When installing epoxy terrazzo tiles, grout joints will be visible and Concord Terrazzo Company recommends a minimum of a 1/8″ grout joint between TERRAZZCO tile products.

 

Terrazzo & Grout Joints – What to Know: The joints between terrazzo tile can create an undesired aesthetic as well as generate unwanted noise pollution created when wheels roll across the flooring surface.  Seamless thin set epoxy terrazzo is a much quieter flooring system when compared to any tile floor. Grout joints can also be a common place for dirt and bacteria to hide. Build up of dirt and residue in the grout joints can affect the overall appearance of the flooring system, often making the terrazzo appear to be old and dated. Poured in place epoxy terrazzo is a smooth seamless surface that removes typical issues associated with grout joints in high traffic area flooring systems.

Epoxy Terrazzo Grout Joint

Pictured: Tile bonded by grout lines, whereas poured in place uses divider strips to transition colors and reduce risk of cracking in terrazzo.

Epoxy Terrazzo Installation

Pictured: Poured in Place Terrazzo Installation. Terrazzo formed on site.

Installation of Terrazzo Tiles

Pictured: Tile Installation. Terrazzo made offsite and delivered for installation.

2) Floor Installation

When comparing a thin-set epoxy terrazzo installation to a terrazzo tile installation, there are a few differences in who can install the floor finishes and how long it takes to complete.

 

Terrazzo tile is an attractive option for certain projects because the terrazzo material is prefabricated which can lead to a quicker and easier installation by any tile installation company. The National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association recommends hiring a certified terrazzo installation company to complete a poured-in-place terrazzo installation and for good reason.

 

Thin-set epoxy terrazzo requires a crew to mix components, trowel the surface at the desired thickness, and grind and polish the terrazzo floor. This can be challenging for any contractor who does not have the trade skills to perform the installation. While labor-intensive, poured-in-place terrazzo is a work of art that has everlasting results.  In comparison to cement-based terrazzo systems, epoxy terrazzo has a quick pour-to-grind time.

 

The total installation time varies depending on the project size and scope. Epoxy terrazzo can cover large commercial spaces in a matter of days. According to the NTMA, and installation of 1,000 square feet will take just as long as a 2,500-3,000 square feet project, which a terrazzo contractor can turn over in about 10 days, depending on the design pattern and substrate conditions.

 

Note: Concord Terrazzo Company is a terrazzo material manufacturer and supplier, not an installation company. We collaborate with architects and designers to customize a terrazzo floor design. We supply materials to qualified terrazzo contractors only.

3) Cost

Thin-set Epoxy Terrazzo is the most cost-effective flooring system available for institutional, commercial, and industrial projects. The great value terrazzo provides is due to the minimal repairs and replacements associated with thin-set epoxy terrazzo installations over a 40-year period.  But what about the initial costs?

 

Terrazzo is linked to having a high initial cost. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect for epoxy terrazzo tiles vs poured in place epoxy terrazzo.

 

Terrazzo tiles can vary greatly in price based on the manufacturer and materials used in the tiles. Some tile manufacturers carry mass-produce tile and carry a stocked product which may offer lower price options when compared to a custom-made finish.

 

Epoxy terrazzo installations also vary depending on the overall size of a project, the U.S. region, as well as the type of materials selected, and design complexity. Generally poured in place epoxy terrazzo is more cost-effective than tile when there is considerable square footage. While epoxy terrazzo tile may be better for small areas approximately 1,000 square ft or less, projects like schools, hospitals, airports, and other commercial spaces requiring terrazzo covering 2,000-3,000 square feet or more should talk to a representative to compare options. Poured-in-place terrazzo may turn out to be priced similar or lesser than a custom epoxy terrazzo tile. Speak with a qualified terrazzo contractor to understand both initial installation costs and lifecycle costs.

Semi-Exotic Terrazzo Sample #2000 - White Mirror Glass
Standard Architectural Hard Kit Sample - Venetian Northern White #1649
Exotic Sample 387 - Terrazzo with Cobalt Blue Glass and Mother of Pearl
Standard Terrazzo 2093 - Black Terrazzo
Semi-Exotic Architectural Hard Sample - Blue Terrazzo #114
Standard Terrazzo Sample 1952 - Ligh Mahogany in Black Terrazzo

Note: All TERRAZZCO finishes are custom-made.  Commercial projects over 1,000 square feet should speak with a Concord Terrazzo representative to access the material and lifecycle costs of each flooring system. 

4) Lead Times

In addition to pricing, lead times differ between poured in place epoxy terrazzo and terrazzo tiles. Leads times vary by manufacturers.

 

In some cases where manufacturers carry a stocked tile product, next day deliveries are possible. However, for customized tile products, expect longer lead times. Customization requires designers to select the epoxy resin and aggregates before the production stage. Depending on the order size, production may take several weeks to manufacture and deliver the product.

 

Lead times for poured-in-place terrazzo can be much shorter than precast terrazzo tile but scheduling the work with a qualified terrazzo installer is crucial.

 

Note: During peak seasons, TERRAZZCO lead times for poured-in-place terrazzo materials is approximately 2 to 4 weeks. 

Terrazzo Durability at Airport

Pictured: Seamless Epoxy Terrazzo Floor in Airport. Can last lifetime of any building structure.

5) Durability

Durability is one of the key characteristics of terrazzo making it ideal for high traffic settings. However, the lifespan for terrazzo tiles is vastly shorter than a poured in place epoxy terrazzo floor. You can expect terrazzo tiles to last 10 to 15 years. For poured in place terrazzo, the lifespan exceeds more than 40 years even lasting as long as 100 years.

Epoxy terrazzo can be applied with flexible membranes and moisture mitigation systems to eliminate cracking and moisture issues. As a seamless surface, epoxy terrazzo has great impact resistance. TERRAZZCO’s EZPour Epoxy has high performing qualities with a tensile strength of 9,590psi, a compressive strength of 13,260psi, and flexural strength of 4,100psi.

 

The reason terrazzo tiles do not last nearly as long as poured in place epoxy terrazzo is due to the presence of grout joints. With grout joints, the tile edges and corners are susceptible to chipping and cracking over time. Repairing tile damages can prove costly for any building owner. In contrast, a poured in place epoxy terrazzo floor goes through its lifetime with minimal need for repairs nor replacement. Even if epoxy terrazzo floors become damaged at some point, it can be restored at a fraction of the cost of installation.

 

Note: Groutless EZPour Epoxy is TERRAZZCO’s signature epoxy resin, a decorative flooring system for high traffic areas. Contact a Concord Terrazzo representative for more information or pricing email info@terrazzco.com.

 

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6) Thickness

Both poured in place epoxy terrazzo and epoxy terrazzo tiles can be specified at 3/8″ thickness. Thinset epoxy terrazzo toppings range from 1/4″ to 3/8″ thickness, are thinner and lighter weight than traditional sand cushion and bonded cement terrazzo toppings that can have a 2″ to 3″ overall thickness.

 

Keep in mind that despite epoxy terrazzo tiles having a 3/8″ thickness, setting material is required so the overall height would be closer to 1/2″ thickness after installation.

 

One additional factor to consider is the aggregate size. The aggregate size will affect the overall thickness of terrazzo. Aggregates are sized from #00 to #8 in the terrazzo industry. Venetian terrazzo, the use of larger aggregates, are becoming a popular trend among designers. However, poured in place epoxy terrazzo may not be best suited for Venetian styles depending on how large the aggregate size is. Micro aggregates and standard sizes ranging from size #0 to size #2 are recommended for epoxy terrazzo designs.

Terrazzo Design Flexibility with Fish Floor Design

Pictured: Seamless terrazzo allows for a wider range of design elements and colors.

7) Design Flexibility

Epoxy terrazzo is a one-of-a-kind flooring system when it comes to design. The ability to customize a terrazzo floor that includes multiple colors and even graphics and logos make it a top flooring choice among the architectural and design community.

 

Poured in place terrazzo offers limitless design options. Architects and designers can select any resin color for their floor designs using a variety of aggregates in any color, size, and material. Anything that you can imagine, epoxy terrazzo can recreate.

 

Epoxy terrazzo tiles can incorporate the same colors and aggregates as poured in place epoxy terrazzo; however, the design capabilities are limited.

 

Whereas epoxy terrazzo can take any form including free-flowing designs, it is hard for terrazzo tiles to replicate designs often seen with poured-in-place epoxy terrazzo systems.

 

Note: Epoxy terrazzo is recommended for indoor applications only. Most aggregates are exclusive to the TERRAZZCO Brand.

8) Maintenance and Floor Care

In terms of longterm care and maintenance, there is no better option than poured in place epoxy terrazzo. The epoxy binder is nonporous meaning the flooring system prevents the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew, and has great resistance against chemicals and stains. Cleaning routines are simple requiring daily dust sweeping or weekly damp mopping to remove dirt and debris. Epoxy terrazzo retains its color and glossiness well throughout its lifecycle.

 

Dirt builds up between the grout joints of tile. As a result, extra care is required to clean and maintain tile flooring. Cleaning routines may require a manual scrubbing of floors or vacuums to remove dirt and stains. Bacteria can also form in the joint areas. Commercial cleaning products can eliminate bacteria; however, all-purpose cleaners may alter the tile appearance.

 

Download Maintenance Guide: Click to View

9) Sustainability and Air Quality

Epoxy terrazzo has zero VOCs. As a result, poured in place epoxy terrazzo and epoxy terrazzo tile benefit projects seeking improved air quality. Both systems can contribute to LEED credits for construction buildings as terrazzo contains recycled contents such as post-industrial recycled glass, porcelain, and concrete.

 

Note: TERRAZZCO Brand epoxy resins are GREENGUARD AND GREENGUARD Gold certified

Greenguard Gold Certified

Ask for Help

If you are unsure whether poured-in-place epoxy terrazzo or terrazzo tile is the best option for your project, Concord Terrazzo representatives can elaborate more about each product option. Representatives can advise you in:

 

  • Help you select budget-friendly materials for your project
  • Answer any questions or concerns you have about terrazzo
  • Recommend solutions for your upcoming projects

 

Contact a Concord Terrazzo representative to discuss your project.

TERRAZZCO Architectural Binder

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Download the TERRAZZCO Architectural Binder with tons of information regarding terrazzo. The information inside can help you in designing your next project.

 

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