Thinset Epoxy Terrazzo or Cement Terrazzo: The Differences

Differences Between Epoxy and Cement Terrazzo

The terrazzo industry has evolved over the centuries. Terrazzo was created during the 15th century in Italy when Venetian marble workers reused scraps from their construction projects to build terraces in their living quarters. Today there are many different terrazzo systems to choose from. One of the questions Concord Terrazzo Company is frequently asked from clients is whether they should go with thinset epoxy terrazzo or cement terrazzo.

Introduction to Thinset Epoxy Terrazzo

Epoxy terrazzo was formed during the 1970s as industries were introduced to epoxies, acrylics, and polymers. Since then the epoxy terrazzo market has grown significantly and accounts for the majority of installed indoor terrazzo systems.

 

Epoxy terrazzo is a thin-set terrazzo system that offers the lowest maintenance costs and quickest pour-to-grind duration. Under the right conditions, terrazzo can cure overnight and ready to grind and polish the following day. Compared to cement terrazzo, epoxy terrazzo is stronger and durable and is less susceptible to surface cracks.

 

After epoxy terrazzo was introduced in the 1970s, the design flexibility of terrazzo widened. Modern-day terrazzo can create almost anything you can think of. The epoxy resin matrix can match any pigments resulting in an unlimited choice of colors. This is great when considering installing multicolor designs or patterns. In addition to color selection, epoxy terrazzo incorporates a wider range of aggregates that includes recycled glass, Mother of Pearl, and synthetic chips.

Epoxy Terrazzo

Introduction to Cement Terrazzo

Cement terrazzo is the traditional terrazzo system that dates back to the 15th century and often seen in 1920s Art Deco buildings. There are multiple terrazzo systems that fall under the cement terrazzo category: sand cushion, bonded, monolithic, rustic and polyacrylate.

 

Cement terrazzo systems are thicker and heavier than thinset epoxy terrazzo. They offer a wide color palette, but their colors are not as vibrant as an epoxy terrazzo system.

 

The one main advantage of a cement terrazzo system is its use for both indoor and outdoor applications. Epoxy terrazzo systems do not fare well in outdoor applications due to UV ray exposure. For those interested in using terrazzo for exterior use, it is recommended to install a rustic terrazzo system.

Cement Terrazzo

Thinset Epoxy Terrazzo Characteristics

Advantages:

  • Recommended for high-traffic indoor spaces
  • Unlimited design potential
  • High level gloss finish
  • Nonporous finish
  • Best thin-set terrazzo system available
  • Zero VOCs/Use of Recycled Materials
  • Low maintenance and lifecycle costs
  • Durable, stronger and less susceptible to cracking

 

Disadvantages:

  • Not recommended for outdoor use
  • Drawbacks related to moisture vapor transmissions
  • Recommended professional installation

Cement Terrazzo Characteristics

Advantages:

  • Use for exterior applications
  • Classic design styles
  • Zero VOCs/Use of Recycled Materials
  • No moisture vapor transmission concerns
  • Durable flooring system

 

Disadvantages:

  • Longer duration to cure
  • More susceptible to cracking than epoxy terrazzo
  • More limitations to designs than epoxy terrazzo
  • Recommended professional installation
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