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Tiling Over Terrazzo

Can I tile over terrazzo?

There are many kinds of terrazzo floors; some are made with cement while others use epoxy and other resins. Often the floor is coated with acrylic or wax floor finishes after the initial polishing. Many surface coatings will act as bond breakers and must be fully removed. Further, the highly polished surface of the terrazzo can present bonding problems and may need to be mechanically abraded for good adhesion (note: mechanically abrading a floor can create hazardous dusts depending on the surface being abraded - proper protective measures should be taken before undertaking such an operation).

The tile system chosen for tiling over the terrazzo must take into account the building structure and design as generally indicated in the TCNA Handbook (e.g. the methods for tiling a suspended slab are different from those for tiling concrete on grade).

The thinset chosen, if a thinset method is used, must be compatible with the type of terrazzo AND recommended by the thinset manufacturer for that purpose. Typically, epoxy thinsets are used on epoxy terrazzo and cementitious thinsets are used on cement-based terrazzo.

In general, it is best to discuss the exact application with the grout and mortar company you normally use. Inspection of the job site may be necessary as well. An anti-fracture membrane may be needed where there are cracks in the terrazzo or any potential separation between the terrazzo and the metal divider strips.