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How to Restore a Terrazzo Floor

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Brenda in Florida is on the line and needs help with restoring a terrazzo floor. How can we help you?

    BRENDA: Bought an older home and removed all the carpet and padding. And underneath, to our surprise, was this beautiful – or at one time was beautiful, perhaps – terrazzo flooring.

    TOM: OK.

    BRENDA: The only problem is it’s got these – like glue – little balls of kind of mushy stuff and it’s all over the flooring. And it’s dull and there are also cracks around – mostly around the sliding-glass doors leading to the exterior of the home, where it’s kind of crumbly in that area. But the rest of the floor – and it’s a large area, probably about, oh, 2,400 square feet of flooring throughout the home.

    So my question is: how do I bring it back to its grandeur?

    TOM: Hmm. Yeah, well, I will tell you this: it’s a lot of work. Getting glue off terrazzo is not a pleasant project. What you need to do is to use an adhesive remover and you need to try to find one that works. There are a lot of citrus-based products today that are pretty effective but – so you may want to go to a good-quality hardware store and select two or three different ones and – buy small amounts and then try it to see what works the best.

    But you’re going to use this remover and you’re going to use a floor scraper. And you’re going to very carefully soften the glue and then try to scrape it off. And when you find the right combination, that’s going to be what you’re going to buy more of and complete the project.

    After that, once the glue is removed, I would have a professional come in and restore the terrazzo, because it’s going to have to be abraded to buff it down to get to the point where …

    LESLIE: To repolish it.

    TOM: To repolish it, yeah. You’re going to – definitely going to do that.

    BRENDA: That’s what I was wondering, if the polish is still there in the stone itself or is there a project that I put over it and do it yourself?

    LESLIE: It probably will not be there because of the glue being on top of it for so long and what you have to do to get the glue off of it, which may possibly abrade the surface some. So I really do think that’s best left to a pro.

    Then what they do is – terrazzo is generally cement and marble. And there’s going to be a polish that they’ll put on there that will possibly need to be redone every however many years. But it’s a maintenance issue. But I would definitely leave that to the pros, because they’re going to have a more durable product than you can get your hands on.

    TOM: And you’re going to need some really heavy-duty tools to polish that terrazzo if it’s been ignored all those years.

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: So I think your job – your part of this is to get the glue off. Once you’ve got it as clean as you can, then you call in the pro, let them bring in the tools to polish that, what is – which essentially grinds it down to its original form. And then they’ll bring it back up again.

    BRENDA: Oh, my. OK. Well, great. Wonderful. Thank you so much. It sounds like a lot of work but I’m ready to tackle it, because I think it’ll be beautiful.

    TOM: I think it will. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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