Terrazzo Stains…The bane of the TerrazzoGuy existence. It may seem like the simplest problem of all. I mean, we’re about to aggressively grind the surface of your floor with diamonds… Surely this will whisk away the nastiest of stains right?
Terrazzo Stains can be considered in a few ways: Etching, Discoloration and Carpet Padding Stains.
Etching is really more of an issue of the marble and granite in the floor, although its not entirely uncommon for the cement matrix to etch. In this case a chemical reaction, typically acidic, has actually eaten away the surface of the floor. In doing so it has made the floor more porous and allowed stains to soak deep into the stone. Sometimes moisture near walls and doorways has caused this type of deterioration. In most cases stains that have resulted from Etching can be dealt with aggressive grinding of the surface.
Discoloration is exactly what it sounds like. Something has caused the floor to change color. The original cause of the discoloration is directly related to how we treat it. Because of our experience, in most cases we can tell just by looking at a stain what has caused it and how to treat it. However, that doesn’t mean that we can make it disappear, even if we’ve chosen the perfect poultice, why? Consider this: You realize you’ve spilled tomato sauce on your brand new white shirt. You rush to the laundry room, douse it in detergent, scrub it vigorously, rinse it then rinse it again inside out. You throw it in the washing machine, add detergent, wash it, dry it, only to find that you can still see the stain, perhaps faintly, but it’s there. Now consider instead of a brief encounter with tomato sauce you’ve got a 3/4″ slab of dense cement and marble, hiding under dirty carpet for 30+ years being repeatedly exposed to wine, orange juice, pet stains and the harsh chemicals in carpet cleaners etc… And your only option is to attack this surface from only one side with chemicals that would have to be strong enough to break down the stain, but gentle enough not to irreversibly damage the natural stone in your floor. In this scenario you’ve got – at times – an insurmountable task on your hands. Some stains can simply not be treated. Anyone that tells you otherwise is simply unprofessional, they just don’t know terrazzo. We will let you know upfront whether or not we can manage the damage.
Carpet Padding Stains. Sigh… Though it’s difficult to comprehend why anyone would want to hide these beautiful floors, it’s a reality we deal with. In addition to this, it’s plain to see that the carpet installers through the years did not care whether or not they were irreparably damaging the terrazzo underneath. In any case, we do what we can. Tackstrip holes are no issue for us to repair and carpet glue can in most cases be ground out. Carpet padding, however is it’s own terrible animal. It is a unique type of stain for a few reasons. First, it is caused by the breakdown of the oils in the padding, carrying the dyes in the padding down into the floor. Second, it has a distinctive waffle pattern. Given that terrazzo is an inherently random pattern of stones, anything that draws your eyes towards a line or pattern will stick out like a sore thumb. Sometimes, through extensive, repeated stain treatment applications we can remove this stain (this requires a great deal of time). More often than not though, there will be some remaining discoloration, and as mentioned above it can still be plainly evident that the discoloration is there. The good news is that once the floor is polished, furniture is in, lights are on and shadows are cast, your visitors will only notice your incredibly unique, beautifully polished antique floor. For this reason I would not necessarily advice you not to attempt restoration, but to be very aware of any possible limitations and how we may be able to creatively overcome them.