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Painting Terrazzo

Terrazzo is a composite material consisting of chips of marble, quartz, granite or glass (aggregate) in a cementitious mix and is generally used on floors and walls of bathrooms (including shower recesses) and laundries. It is a very dense, highly polished and extremely durable material that was used extensively during the 1960's. It has since fallen out of favour and many renovators are looking at options to update their homes. This includes painting the terrazzo.

Painting TERRAZZO is extremely difficult and is not recommended.

Terrazzo differs from polished concrete in the ratio of aggregate to cementitious material. Terrazzo has a much higher aggregate component.

The issues with painting this material are as follows:

  • Whilst achieving adhesion to concrete can be readily achieved with the correct preparation, achieving adhesion to the higher proportion of dense, hard aggregate materials in terrazzo can be problematic. Due to the nature of the material, diamond grinding is the preferred preparation method as the aggregate materials generally will not be affected by acid etching. Diamond grinding however cannot guarantee adhesion of the paint coating to the Terrazzo.
  • The areas in which Terrazzo is generally used such as bathrooms and laundries presents several additional problems:
    • The generally smaller spaces and limited access in bathrooms and laundries often results in inadequate preparation as the equipment cannot be manoeuvred efficiently in the tight spaces
    • Bathrooms and laundries are subjected to high moisture/steam levels, pooling water and the surface of the Terrazzo will be contaminated with cleaning product residue, soap scum, body oils, hair sprays, deodorants and other personal care products. The presence of any residue of these products will negatively impact the adhesion of any coating system.

If it is necessary to paint Terrazzo, a heavy duty 2-pack system would have the best chance of success. It is essential to seek advice and engage the services of a professional industrial paint applicator.

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