Five Fascinating Facts About the History of Terrazzo Floors

Terrazzo polishing

In addition to being a beautiful, low-maintenance surface to install in your household, terrazzo has a long and fascinating history as well. If you have a terrazzo surface in your home or are considering getting one, there is a wealth of interesting information about this surface to discover. Take some time to learn about how terrazzo floors and terrazzo countertops came into being!

Here are five little-known facts about the history of terrazzo floors:

1. The word “terrazzo” comes from the Italian word for “terraces.” In the 15th century, Venetian marble workers discovered a use for the scraps left over from custom-cut marble slabs — they began to use the scraps to surface the terraces around their homes. They would set the marble scraps in clay, then smooth the surface with hand stones. However, the Venetians weren’t the first to use terrazzo — archaeologists have discovered terrazzo floors in Turkish ruins that are estimated to be about 8,000 to 10,000 years old.

2. The original terrazzo floor sealer was goat’s milk. Some years after initially inventing terrazzo, Italian workers found that the milk from their goats brought out the marble’s true colors, even after the marble dried. Modern materials like epoxy replicate this polished look, and keep liquids from permeating the surface of the terrazzo.

3. European terrazzo craftsmen brought the concept of terrazzo floors with them to the United States in the late 1700s. At the time, Americans primarily used terrazzo floors in monumental structures. Because America had bountiful marble resources, terrazzo became a very popular flooring surface over its history and installation techniques became highly developed.

4. The first president of the U.S., George Washington, chose to incorporate terrazzo floors into the designs for his home at Mt. Vernon.

5. Over the last 40 years, many new techniques and developments for terrazzo floors have been discovered. One of these is “rustic” terrazzo, which allows terrazzo floors to be used on outside surfaces like sidewalks, plazas, pools and, of course, terraces. Refernce materials.

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