Palisades Park, N.J. -- Terrazzo tastes are trending to the top, becoming firmly entrenched in the public zeitgeist. In the 2018 Pinterest Global 100 report, an analysis of the over 100 billion “ideas” on the popular website, “Terrazzo” ranked third in the Home category, with a 316% year-over-year increase in “pins.”

Renowned for the artistic freedom it offers architects and designers, terrazzo also exhibits strong and lasting performance, with intact installations that are hundreds of years old. Terrazzo’s extreme durability and ultra-low-maintenance requirements mean that even pricier installations actually cost less on an annual basis than alternatives such as wood, carpet, vinyl sheet, vinyl tile, and porcelain or quarry tile.

The savings of a terrazzo install can begin to accrue even before the epoxy has dried. At the Pittsburgh International Airport Airside Terminal, winner of the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association Job of the Year Award for 2016, the terrazzo floor was installed over the existing floor with no issues, according to installer Roman Mosaic and Tile of Manheim, Pa. using terrazzo aggregates from Arim-Inc of Palisades Park, N.J. The ability to be installed over existing floors eliminated the cost and mess caused by removing old tile, marble, and concrete.

The aggregates used to form the terrazzo are derived from a bevy of materials, ranging from quartz and marble to mother-of-pearl and glass—and recycled material is equally as suitable as newly produced. The use of terrazzo can in some instance translate into LEED points. Terrazzo also doesn’t require harsh chemicals, steam, or even extremely hot water to keep clean: its non-breathable surface means that simply sweeping and mopping with warm water is typically all that’s required.

Terrazzo can create an interior space that is inhospitable to bacteria, as well as to the spores and fungi that cause mold and mildew. In a 2006 report published by the Asthma Regional Council titled “Health Considerations When Choosing School Flooring,” terrazzo was rated as the “Much Better” choice for halls and entries, classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, restrooms and kitchens.

“It’s hardly an exaggeration to say that the grout you see in many types of flooring will never be as clean again as it was when it was installed,” says Hamza Kahn, Arim-Inc. relationship manager. “With terrazzo, achieving that level of cleanliness and sanitation is really just a few mop strokes away because it is inherently stain-resistant and doesn’t give microbes a home where they can grow.”

Terrazzo contractors work from an incredibly broad palette, enabling them to realize an architect’s vision with levels of detail, color, and perspective. Roman Mosaic’s Wilczek, recalling the sprawling murals he helped create at the Pittsburgh International Airport, notes that “we were able to copy the artist’s very detailed designs…with terrazzo, the new floor could be designed to have any color or pattern imaginable.”

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