The guide to terrazzo: everything you need to know

Sustainable flooring choice since the 16th-century, terrazzo is back in a big way. Find out how to use it in your home

guide to terrazzo
Atelier Dialect

The name terrazzo derives from the Latin word ‘terra’, meaning ground, and this ancient composite material gives any interior an artisanal, Mediterranean feel. Here’s our quick guide to using it in your home…

What is terrazzo?

A composite material of marble chippings set into cement, terrazzo originated in 16th-century Italy as a way to reuse stone offcuts. It is either poured in situ by hand or precast into blocks that can be cut to size. You can also buy it as ready-made tiles, easy to apply straight to floors and walls.

guide to terrazzo
Original terrazzo floors in a 1950s-built home in northern Italy
Fabrizo Cicconi / Living Inside

Why choose terrazzo?

There are virtually unlimited colour and material options – fragments could be anything from marble to quartz, glass and metal – and it is extremely hard-wearing. John Krause, managing director of stone specialist Diespeker, says that he is often called upon to restore terrazzo that’s more than 100 years old. Plus, given that it is made using offcuts, terrazzo is also a sustainable decorating option.

Where can you use terrazzo?

Once sealed to ensure water resistance, it can be applied to any interior wall or floor, including kitchens and bathrooms. Terrazzo retains warmth effectively, so it is a great choice for underfloor heating. In addition, it can be poured into any moulds, so it is now being used to create furniture and homeware.

Is it easy to maintain?

A simple steam mop or nylon scrubbing brush is all that is needed to clean it. Poured terrazzo, however, is more prone to cracking than slabs. To restore it, the floor will need to be re-ground and re-polished by a specialist.

guide to terrazzo
Fibonacci Stone tiles in a home designed by Australian interior designer David Flack
Photography: Brook Holme; Styling: Marsha Golemac

What are the latest innovations?

Resin is now being used as well as the traditional cement to produce terrazzo. It's a more expensive option, but has a smoother finish and is also highly resistant to scratches and cracking.

How much does it cost? Standard tiles start at around £75 per square metre, while bespoke poured terrazzo will set you back £250 per square metre once it has been laid and polished.

Best terrazzo brands to know

Ready to take the plunge and use terrazzo in your home? We know the best brand for every project…

Best for bespoke resin-set terrazzo.

amethyst coloured resin terrazzo tile
‘RD065’ bespoke resin terrazzo tile, £450 per sq m, Diespeker

Best for architectural terrazzo and designer collaborations.

‘Marmoreal’ marble and resin terrazzo tile by Max Lamb for Dzek
‘Marmoreal’ marble and resin terrazzo tile by designer Max Lamb, from £300 per square metre, Dzek

In Opera
Best for high traffic cement-based terrazzo for facades and flooring.

guide to terrazzo
‘Mazzorbo’ cement based terrazzo tile, £48 per square metre, In Opera
Sgaravato Srl

Terrazzo Tiles
Best for variety of styles and sizes of marble terrazzo tiles.

terrazzo guide
‘IG8 Amber Forest’ resin based terrazzo, from £122.40 per square metre, Terrazzo Tiles
Terrazzo Tiles

Otto Tiles
Best for patterned porcelain terrazzo effect tiles.

guide to terrazzo
‘Roma’ porcelain terrazzo tile in grey, £140 per square metre, Otto Tiles
Otto Tiles

Best for hexagon shaped porcelain terrazzo tiles.

guide to terrazzo
‘Pisa’ porcelain tile in teal, £58.34 per box of 12 tiles, Ca’Pietra

Mandarin Stone
Best for porcelain terrazzo effect tiles.

terrazzo guide
Mandarin Stone

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