Here we share our bathroom Terrazzo shower guide including what it is, its waterproofness, how it’s used for shower bases, pans, and walls, and the best Terrazzo cleaning tips.
Terrazzo is undoubtedly and hands-down one of the most popular flooring materials in interior home design. This can be attributed to its opulent and visually appealing looks as well as the durability of the actual material.
Homeowners, however, have a few reservations when it comes to using terrazzo tiles in the areas in the home that are prone to moisture because terrazzo has a cement binder as its base and is actually quite porous. This can soak up water at times.
Thankfully, there are different types of terrazzo for the different areas in the home. Some are cement-based whereas some are epoxy-based and that type doesn’t really absorb water compared to its cement-based counterparts.
What Is A Terrazzo Shower
Terrazzo material is created from a composite of marble, granite, quartz, or glass chips combined with a cement and/or a polymeric binder. Terrazzo can be cut to a similar design composition as tile, and is typically used as a material for either bathroom, shower or kitchen flooring.
Terrazzo comes in a wide range of designs and variety. Terrazzo usually works best if you’re going for a midcentury or modern design in the home. It can be very era-appropriate and something that design aficionados the world over have quite appreciated.
Is Terrazzo Waterproof
There is one type of terrazzo that’s waterproof: the epoxy-based one. This is great as a flooring material, especially for the areas in the home that require some amount of water resistance.
This is great when it comes to avoiding water damage that can cause you to change your floors unexpectedly. Some common issues related to water damage in the flooring material would be warping, discoloration, the appearance of mold, swelling, or softening of some sort.
It’s worth noting though that not all types of terrazzo flooring are waterproof. The cement-based types can actually be quite porous and can take in or absorb water if you aren’t careful.
However, there can be an easy solution to this. You can simply coat the surface with some concrete waterproofing primer. Once that concrete primer has cured, the next phase is for you to install an elastomeric membrane that’s specifically built for waterproofing.
Most of these primer packages come with prep work and curing recommendations and you only need to follow the instructions accordingly. If you aren’t that confident in your concreting skills though, you can always go ahead and hire a professional to get the work done for you.
One properly sealed, Terrazzo can be surprisingly weatherproof and durable. It has been said that it can outlive literally any material with minimal to no maintenance at all. This is because its surface is built to not have any cracks or breaks at all.
Terrazzo Shower Base
Terrazzo makes for very popular shower bases because of how durable and waterproof they are, with the right type or with the right sealing treatments. Here are some of the reasons why they come so highly recommended:
It is highly durable. This specifically refers to epoxy showers made from Terrazzo that’s non-porous. This type of terrazzo can actually withstand years and years of wear and tear because of how stain and water-resistant it is.
On top of this, terrazzo is also known to be antibacterial so that’s a notch up compared to other materials such as vinyl flooring, for example, which can be quite prone to microbes over time.
It comes in a wide variety of styles. How the natural stone chips and marble pieces are arranged may vary greatly and this is mainly where the design aspect is actually coming from. There are so many things for you to choose from and it all depends on what your preferences are as a homeowner.
For example, if you fancy something fairly minimalist, you might want to opt for monochromatic terrazzo tiles in order for you to achieve a simpler and cleaner look. If you want a more expressive style for your bathroom though, you might want to go for terrazzo types of floor tiles that have multicolored patterns.
They can be laid over concrete or wooden subfloors. This applies to two particular types of terrazzo: polyacrylate and epoxy terrazzo. They also offer far greater sanitary traits compared to any type of natural stone flooring out there.
UV protection. This is offered by polyacrylate terrazzo tiles. This makes it perfect as a shower base as bathroom flooring is oftentimes exposed to a fairly substantial amount of natural light day in and day out. Certain types of natural stone in a similar setting could eventually lead to discoloration.
There are a few disadvantages with terrazzo, though. For starters, the kind of maintenance it requires is high. If you want to be able to retain the natural high gloss finish that it’s quite known for, you will need to maintain it with regular sweeping and mopping.
It is also recommended that you restore it every couple of years or so. This is a very costly, time-consuming, and labor-intensive process that requires grinding and polishing in order to restore the terrazzo back to its old glory, right when it just came out of the factory.
It has a satiny finish that can be quite slippery. This can be a real safety hazard as a shower base, especially for children and the elderly. This is why it’s recommended that you put up anti-slip mats on the shower base for extra traction and safety. (This refers to the shower pan installed above the shower base).
Terrazzo Shower Pan
If you’re wondering how different a shower pan is from the shower base, the key is to understanding what they actually do. A shower pan is the actual surface area that you step on the moment that you step into the shower whereas a shower base is the main structure under the shower itself.
Terrazzo types of shower pans are considered relatively high end but what’s great about them is that you can match them with the walls and incorporate them in the other parts of your bathroom as well, for design cohesiveness.
Again, as an extra precaution, since you’ll be standing directly on top of its surface while taking a shower, you need to make sure that you have an anti-slip mat for extra texture so that your shower pan doesn’t turn into a slipping hazard.
Go the traditional route. The best way to get your terrazzo shower pan installed is to install it over concrete. Both your terrazzo tiles and grout may not be completely waterproof so it may be a good idea to coat the tiles with it once they’ve been laid out.
Your terrazzo shower pans can come pre-made or you can customize them by getting the tiles laid out yourself. See our guide to shower pan sizes here.
Terrazzo Shower Walls
If you’ve decided on getting terrazzo for your bathroom, getting them for your shower walls will turn out to be a natural and logical progression. Here are some of the reasons why they can be great for your shower walls.
You can combine different styles of terrazzo. – This is because they can be subtly decorated. And because it appears to be richly textured without being overwhelming, you can definitely mix and match, or even intentionally mix it up, according to your liking.
You can match your shower walls with your shower pan or floors to maximize the impact. This will easily convert your shower area into the focal point for your main bathroom and with the visual impact that terrazzo tiles can bring, you will surely not be left wanting for more.
It can bring life into your small shower area. All you need to do is to go for bathroom fixtures or fittings that are monochromatic and let the terrazzo do the rest of the work.
The pattern is all-encompassing so the sharp edges are actually softened and made to look more seamless; which maximizes the space if you happen to deal with a cramped shower area.
Go with larger flecks of terrazzo to make a statement. – If you’re seeking out more texture and depth to your terrazzo shower walls, try to go for something with bigger colored flecks on it. This brings a more contemporary or modern feel to the space without trying too hard.
Is Terrazzo Slippery When Wet
Like some concrete shower floors, Terrazzo can be quite slippery and has been known to be a slip hazard. This is why if you’re planning to use terrazzo as a flooring material, it would be wise to ask your contractor about putting in non-slip additives on the surface as well for safety. It can get very slippery especially when wet.
And even when it’s dry, walking on socks on stockings on its smooth but solid surface could result to dangerous slips and falls. This is actually the reason why for homes that have elderly people or for those who have kids, you are better off with other flooring options.
How To Clean Terrazzo Shower Base
You don’t need special tools or materials to clean up your terrazzo shower base. For the basics, you are going to need a regular cleaning detergent such as Liquid Ajax, Joy, or Spic and Span. Spic and Span requires that you dilute half a cup of it in a gallon of water but for the rest, you can pretty much use it as is.
You will also need a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the base with. Make sure that it’s non-metallic so as not to cause etches or scratches on the surface. If you want your cleaner to be more specific and to have the extra capabilities of not having a cloudy film of residue left on the terrazzo surfaces once it’s dry, you may want to invest in a proper terrazzo cleaner.
It’s recommended that you deep clean your terrazzo shower base at least twice a year. Sweep or mop it up daily or as the need arises.
Start off by sweeping all the debris in your shower base. Utilize the use of a dustpan as you go along so that you can easily sweep up the dirt and debris and then dispose of it conveniently.
Fill a bucket with a gallon of water and mix in half a cup of terrazzo cleaner. Make sure that you wear gloves while mixing the liquids together.
Then you can proceed with dipping your scrub into the bucket and start scrubbing the floor in a round or circular motion. Work in one area at a time and do so slowly. It helps if you periodically flush the scrub brush in clear water to make sure that you start fresh with an area. Clean it up with a clean or dry cloth after.
How To Clean Stained Terrazzo Shower Base
It really isn’t all that hard to clean up stains from your terrazzo shower base. As soon as you see one, it would be best for you to get rid of it right away. Don’t let it sit on the surface too long. You can easily clean it up with the use of hydrogen peroxide or ammonia.
If there are stains: You can douse a piece of cloth with hydrogen peroxide and dab the stain with it. Make sure that you smear it with hydrogen peroxide accordingly and let it soak in.
You can keep re-dipping your cloth and re-applying it to the stain until it disappears. This is the same application used if you choose to work with ammonia.
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