The photographs below are from a set of Terrazzo steps outside a house in Glasgow which had completely lost their colour after being subject to years of weather staining and believe me we see all sorts of weather up here in Scotland. The owner of the house wanted them restoring back to their natural state but naturally concerned about safety didn’t want them shiny or slippy in anyway.
Cleaning Terrazzo Steps
I could see tackling the different surfaces of the stone stairs would be tricky so rather than opt for a cleaning product I decided to use a set of diamond encrusted burnishing pad fitted to a handheld flex machine.
I started with the very coarse 50 grit pad lubricating along the way with a little water and moved up through the medium and fine pad until the job was finished. Now normally when working on stone this is followed up with the application of a very fine pad to restore a polished appearance but clearly in this case that would not be necessary. In between the application of each pad the steps were rinsed with water to remove the slurry generated in the burnishing process.
One complete I left them to dry out for a few days; fortunately I had timed my visit within a warm weather window so I was confident they should be dry when I returned.
Sealing Terrazzo Steps
I returned a few days later and after checking the stone had indeed dried out I sealed the Terrazzo with three coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a breathable impregnating sealer suitable for external application. Being an impregnator it protects the stone from within by occupying the pores in the stone where dirt might otherwise become ingrained, it also enhances the natural colours in the stone and as you can see from the photograph below the steps now look much pinker.
Terrazzo Tile Steps and Grout Refreshed in Glasgow near Edinburgh Airport
Just to prove we take on any job large or small I thought I would post the details of this small Terrazzo Vestibule that we recently cleaned at the entrance to a house in Glasgow. The Terrazzo was not looking its best which is hardly surprising being in front of the main entrance to the house it must have seen a lot of foot traffic over the years.
Cleaning and Burnishing a Terrazzo Floor
Terrazzo is a very hard surface and as a result it has to be treated in the same way as other hard surfaces such as Travertine, Limestone and Marble which typically involve burnishing the surface to remove the dirt and restore the appearance.
Before burnishing the floor was cleaned using a strong dilution of Tile Doctor Pro-Clean which was left to dwell on the Terrazzo for a while before being scrubbed in by hand due to it being such a small area; following that the floor was given a quick rinse with water and a quick clean with Tile Doctor Neutral Cleaner to remove any trace of strong cleaning product.
The next step was to burnish the floor using a set of four diamond encrusted burnishing pads. You start with a coarse 400 grit burnishing pad which is run over the surface with a little water to help lubricate and this removes surface dirt and coatings such as sealers. Once that was finished we moved onto the medium 800 grit pad which is the first step of the polishing process and also removes ingrained dirt. The surface of the Terrazzo is still quite rough at this stage so once complete with the medium pad the fine (1,500 grit) is used smooth down the surface and continue to build up the polish in the floor. The last pad is a very fine (3,000 grit pad) and this pad builds on the existing polished effect to create a high shine finish.
All these pads are applied with water and the resultant slurry needs to be cleaned off during the process with the final step of giving the floor a thorough rinse with clean water.
Sealing a Terrazzo Floor
Once the floor was completely dry it was sealed using two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is an impregnating sealer designed to bring out the natural colours in the stone and penetrate into the pores of the tile preventing dirt from getting in there and providing maximum on-going stain protection. The floor was then buffed using a white buffing pad to bring up the shine further and remove any smears left from sealing.
This Terrazzo tiled vestibule in Glasgow was completely dull and lacking colour when we arrived, this area probably see’s the most foot traffic in the house so it must of seen a fair amount of wear and abuse over the years.
Cleaning Terrazzo Tiles
Terrazzo is a very hard surface and needs to be burnished in the same way as you would treat Marble or Travertine, before we could do that thought we needed to remove any loose debris etc. that could scratch the surface during the burnishing process to the first job was to sweep out the area with a brush and vacuum up any loose debris etc.
It was a very tight area so use of our large Bonnet machine was ruled out and we opted instead for a small handheld rotary machine fitted with the diamond encrusted burnishing pads. The burnishing pads come in a set of four and you start with a coarse pad with a little water and work your way through the set moving from a the coarse pads through to the less abrasive pads; this process polishes the stone more and more until you get a smooth finish. After each pad was used the area was thoroughly rinsed with clean water to remove any excess polish before moving onto the next, once we had gone through all four pads the floor was left clean ,smooth, and shiny.
Sealing Terrazzo Tile
Once the burnishing process was completed we proceeded to seal the stone with two coats of Tile Doctor Colour Grow which is a colour enhancing sealer designed to protect the stone whilst lifting the natural colours.
Although quite intensive due to the space restriction it was quite a small area so it took just less than a day to complete.