close up look at terrazzo floors in an airport terminal maintained with 3M floor cleaning solutions

3 easy steps for terrazzo floor cleaning & polishing in high-traffic areas

Here’s a question: What do George Washington’s Mt. Vernon home, the floor of the Hoover Dam and St. Peter’s Basilica all have in common? They are all high-traffic areas that have incorporated terrazzo flooring into their aesthetic.

  • The composite material is a durable and a low-maintenance option, making it a natural choice for other heavy use/high traffic facilities ranging from hospitals, to universities, airports, retail establishments and other commercial-use locations. But, don’t be fooled! Even though terrazzo is long-lasting floor material, this isn’t a floor that should be installed and ignored.

    The reality is that a floor with heavy foot traffic can quickly turn from high shine and aesthetically pleasing to a lack-luster surface that is scratched, stained, and dull; potentially impacting the most important moment – a first impression. Therefore, terrazzo floor polishing and cleaning must be part of the plan and a front-and-center priority for facility managers.

    Though it is common knowledge that the floor is the largest surface in the building, it may not be as equally understood that a large amount of damage takes place between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. What does this mean for a facility manager? It means that a terrazzo floor restoration can be thought of in bite-size segments that occur before, during, and after your busiest times. Here are three things to consider when it comes to your terrazzo floor polishing and restoration plan:

After the rush: restore & protect

Tackle the damage
Ready to get started with the terrazzo restoration process? If the floor has a coating, you need to remove it thoroughly and then make a decision:

Option #1: Continue to maintain the coating by replacing with a soil- and abrasion-resistant product. When choosing a coating, it’s important to choose a solution that meets your building’s maintenance profile. Ultimately, if the floor will be burnished daily, the coating needs to be softer so it can be easily restored to a high gloss quickly. Conversely, if burnishing will occur less frequently, the coating needs to be harder so that the floor retains gloss longer between burnishing.

Option #2: Polish the floor using a product like 3M™ Trizact™ Diamond TZ Abrasive to restore clarity of reflection. The pad’s advanced technology abrasives feature micro-engineered surfaces that cut fast and stay sharp, bringing out the original, natural beauty of stone quickly and efficiently without harsh chemicals or the dust created during the traditional grinding process. Once the floor is polished, coat with a floor protector like Scotchgard™ Stone Floor Protector to minimize future damage. This high-performance floor protector requires only two coats and provides excellent stain, scuff and scratch resistance.

Prepare for next year: maintain

Clean terrazzo floor surfaces daily
Keep the floor’s surface clean of debris by dusting with 3M™ Easy Trap™ Sweep & Dust Sheets, which trap up to 800% more dirt, dust and sand than conventional flat-fringed cotton dust mops or the professional version of a common household sweeping dust cloth brand. Then, remove black marks and small scratches with the Scotch-Brite™ Clean & Shine Pad, which cleans and shines in the same step using only a low-speed scrubber and reduces, and in some cases, eliminates the need to burnish.

Shovel entryways often
Nature can be difficult; wreaking havoc on interior floors. Keep a clear path at entrances, void of moisture that can find its way inside. Outside of the risk of slips and falls, the elements can unintentionally cause damage to a terrazzo floor.

Trap dirt, debris and moisture at the door
As a facility manager, consider implementing a floor mat system. Maintaining a clean appearance in the entryway and lobby can be challenging as the outside is often tracked inside. The solution? Entrance Matting. Additionally, there are specialty mat systems for wet areas, minimizing the risk from slips and falls. A mat system will cut down on mopping and vacuuming while helping to reduce damage to the terrazzo flooring.

During the rush: analyze & assess

Assess the damage
Major traffic areas must be restored to its original finish. However, not all wear-and-tear is created equal. Now is the time to start to assess the level of damage. Is it heavy with visible scratches throughout the surface or is the damage minimal? This is an important question that must be answered, as it will determine the abrasive pad required for greatest benefit in the restoration process.

The terrazzo floor has been around for hundreds of years. However, although it is durable in high traffic situations, facility managers must have a restoration plan that incorporates maintenance, damage assessment and future protection. With an eye on safety, aesthetics, the reduction of chemical use and a cost-effective solution, it’s easy to implement a system to restore a terrazzo floor for year-round brilliance.

3M, Trizact, Scotchgard, Easy Trap and Scotch-Brite are trademarks of 3M. © 3M 2020. All Rights Reserved.

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