In day to day dealings with people who have tile over their terrazzo, often times people ask me “Can terrazzo that has been covered with tile be restored?”. The truth is, most terrazzo floors that have had tile over them can be restored into a beautiful, long lasting and shiny terrazzo floor. We have restored hundreds of terrazzo floors that have, at one time or another, had tile over them. In most cases, tile can be effectively removed without damaging the floor. The problems we see after the tile is removed from terrazzo include:
Ghosting occurs when ceramic tile smothers the terrazzo underneath, causing moisture to be unable to escape the floor. This shows up as a somewhat circular pattern under the grout lines. Often times, this can be eliminated with heavy grinding. Sometimes that moisture can take weeks or even months to escape, but will almost always disappear with time.
Another problem which often occurs is a grid pattern on the floor which occurs under the grout. It is caused by staining from the grought itself or because of dirt travelling through the grought to the terrazzo whenever the tile floor is mopped. Again, one of the best treatments for this is heavy grinding. We also treat the floor after the tile is removed and during restoration with a bleaching agent. This will almost always correct the problem, although, a small light grid pattern that may remain will usually disappear within a few weeks.
Often times, when a chipping hammer is used to remove tile from terrazzo, scars and marks are left in the floor. Sometimes they can me ground out while other times, they must be filled with an aggregate and a binder to match the existing terrazzo floor.