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Why terrazzo look is making a comeback

By Milliam Murigi
Friday, January 22nd, 2021
A stool decorated with terrazo. Photo/PD/MILLIAM MURIGI.
In summary

Trends are cyclical. The recent to make a return is the speckled pattern that donned floors in the past, but this time with a bit of a modern twist. It is not only being used as a flooring material, but it’s being printed on  décor accents, bathroom tiles, swimming pools and even water tanks. 

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

You might remember terrazzo as the speckled flooring in your grandmother’s kitchen or the bathroom countertops in many hotels and restaurants. 

For a long time, we have left it out of our decorative construction6, but now the design style seems to making a grant return and intending to cover everything and not just our floors.

Terrazzo is a flooring material consisting of chips of marble or granite set in concrete and polished to give a smooth surface.

Edward Karurii founder Duraquality Terrazzo says that now in its new versions, terrazzo is coming loaded with personality, strength and dares with other types of surfaces, such as kitchen countertops or bathroom walls, swimming pools, water tanks among others.

“Unlike before when terrazzo was majorly used for floors, nowadays it conquers all kinds of accessories from tables and stools and into everyday items, such as plates, glasses, vases, small decorative elements among others.

It seems that there is no limit to the surfaces that we can decorate with any type of pattern inspired by the terrazzo,” he explains.

Karurii, who founded the business that deals with everything terrazzo in 2017 says that there are so many premium products which can be made using terrazzo and people should stop looking at it as a flooring only solution.

According to him, apart from offering terrazzo flooring services, his business has also registered a good number of customers, who are using terrazzo for memorial works, engraving works, to come up with institutional logos, and also to come up with portraits, something that is fairly new.

He reveals that as a flooring material, terrazzo is seeing a resurgence in popularity because it is incredibly versatile.

Apart from that, unlike in the past when most terrazzo used were the white, gray or earth tones currently this product offers a wide variety of colours that are eye-catching.

“The new wave of terrazzo looks a bit different, with modern influences slightly altering the look.

Today’s terrazzo has a wider variety of colour and sizes that make the specks of materials chunkier and bold.

Environment friendly

Apart from its versatility, the fact that terrazzo is an extremely sustainable and environmentally-friendly flooring choice since it is made from a mixture of recycled glass and natural aggregates, such as marble, granite and quartz has also contributed to its comeback.

“There is increased uptake of green buildings and developers are now looking for the most environment friendly construction materials, which are also durable.

This has also seen more developers opt for terrazzo instead of other available solutions,”  he says.   

However, he reveals that some suppliers have been selling cheap and laxly produced terrazzo, which can result in brittleness, porosity, and discoloration.

His advise is that beware of the terrazzo supplier you choose and always go for quality and not the price. 

 He says that the main advantage of terrazzo is that the tiles are flexible and adapt to every space from traditional to contemporary, as well as outdoors.

Apart from that, terrazzo adds aesthetic appeal and interest to your home’s interior, it is long-lasting since terrazzo has an average lifespan of 75 years, is easy to clean and is not slippery, it is durable, retains heat well, so it can be used in conjunction with radiant underfloor heating and it is resistant to mould, water, stains, and other microbes.

The demerit is that they are more expensive than other flooring options, although easy to clean, its overall maintenance requirements can seem daunting to many, and when not installed properly, terrazzo floor tiles are prone to cracking. 

He reveals that some of the chal lenges he faces is the equipment required for installation are quite expensive thus forcing him to hire. This increases the cost of production.

Competition from other flooring options as well as some products such as white cement are not found locally forcing them to import.

Quality work, creativity and research are some of the things that have made him stand out in this sector.

His future plan is to come up with a training centre where he will be training people since we don’t have a place where one can be taught about terrazzo work and most people are forced to learn it their way. 

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