Finest Terrazzo Floor with Magnesite
A new thin solution for the classical Venetian Terrazzo
Magnesite is a historical material that lost its interest with the arrival of cement. Now it is drawing new attention because it is exceptionally hard and eco-friendly. With Magnesite, you can obtain a beautiful Venetian Terrazzo floor with a thickness of only 6 mm. Because it is so thin, it can be applied also on furniture to achieve a surface that is harder than marble.
The final protection of our Magnesite Terrazzo floor can be done with natural vegetable oil or varnish.
Magnesite is a different material from cement or lime. It can be applied alone, like it is, or mixed with aggregates to obtain stunning a Terrazzo floor with a thickness of only 6 mm (while common Terrazzo’s thickness ranges from 70 to 90 mm). Furthermore, Magnesite doesn’t shrink, but on the contrary, it increases its volume of about 0,2-0,3% when it cures. This is a quality that prevents cracks, also when the material is applied very thickly.
Hard, eco-friendly seamless floors
Magnesite Terrazzo is a two-component mineral product, completely ecological. It is obtained by blending alkaline-earth metal-oxides and specific additives. When mixed with a specific aqueous solution of salts, it gives origin to an easily workable smooth paste. Such paste is extremely adaptable to be mixed with aggregates of various sizes and materials, such as marble or glass.
Magnesite can thus be applied either in thin layers or in thick coats, both with high mechanical strength and high durability. These features make it most suitable to achieve long-lasting, seamless floors. When it dries it is white in color with a light yellow/pink hue. It can be tinted with oxides, tinting pastes, and earth pigments to achieve the desired final shade.
Magnesite Terrazzo is unique among other products for seamless floors since it is completely mineral, free from hydraulic binders, lime or gypsum. It reaches high mechanical strength in a short time and has natural antistatic and antibacterial properties.
Where to use it
Magnesite Terrazzo is a decorative finish suitable to achieve seamless interior floorings and finishes for furniture and architectural details. It can be used directly on new or properly primed substrates. Due to its unique aesthetic and technical performances, it is suitable for application in showrooms, offices, boutiques, flats, restaurants, and high traffic areas like shopping malls, etc.
This material can be used ONLY in interiors, as it doesn’t tolerate humidity rising from the soil.
Magnesite comes in two components: Magnesite component A is a powder and component B is a liquid. Component A is made of oxide of Magnesia and the component B of chloride of Magnesia. To prepare the material, you have to mix the two components, in the following ratio: 24 parts of comp. A and 10 parts of comp. B.
The normal packaging is two buckets of 24 kg of A, and one bucket of 20 liters of B.
Magnesite Additives for Terrazzo floors
After you have mixed the components, you can add pigments and aggregates to create beautiful Terrazzo floors. We can send you several marble aggregates to add to the material. Aggregates of small grain come in bag packages, and they include marbles aggregates ranging from 0 to 0,7 mm in size. You can use these aggregates also to give a natural color effect to the finish: both yellow stone and grey stone (Pietra grigia), give a lot of color to the material. We also have aggregates of bigger sizes, that come in jars. Some of these include Rosso Verona (Red Verona), Siena, Glass Aggregates, and Mother of Pearl. These aggregates are thought for when you want to create a Terrazzo Floor with Magnesite.
How many aggregates can you add? Theoretically till double the Magnesite content, but usually we put 1 part of Magnesite (A plus B) and 1 or 1,2 parts of aggregates.
This product comes in natural white and can be colored with our Color System.
Where to apply it
Cementitious screeds, anhydrides, concrete, ceramics, wood floors, wooden furniture.
How much does Terrazzo floor cost?
This is a short guide to calculate the price of a Terrazzo Floor done with our Magnesite. In order to make 1 mm on 1 square meter, you need about 2,2 kg of Magnesite mixture. So, if you make a Terrazzo of about 1 cm you need 22 kg of mixture for each square meter. However, you can reach the required kilograms by adding aggregates. For example, to achieve 1 cm you can use 10 kg of magnesite and 12 kg of cheaper material, like marble aggregates. To make 1 cm of Terrazzo floor you have to apply 12 mm of material and then sand out 2 mm.
How to apply Magnesite and How to make Terrazzo floors
- The substrate must be dry, solid, free from dust, grease, or dirt. Remove all loose parts, paints, waxes, grease, rust, gypsum, etc. Abrade the ceramic areas. Concrete substrates, especially when dusty or porous, will have to be abraded or peened till reaching a solid substrate. Loose substrates must be consolidated. Treat the substrate with an epoxy primer by roller, while spreading quartz sand on it. The day after you can apply Magnesite Terrazzo. Mix into a concrete mixer component A (one 24 kg bag of powder) with Component B (10 liters of liquid) and add the mixture of aggregates, such as marble stones, glass, mother of pearl chips or other (20 to 24 kg depending on the required finish). The mixture of aggregates has to have a correct granulometric curve. If necessary add the color pigments. Mix it for two minutes and leave it to rest for 3-4 minutes, then mix again for 30 seconds.
- Pour the plaster on the floor and level it using a concrete pole, making it vibrate on the mixture to get the air bubbles out. Protect from air currents (doors, windows) and direct sun.
- Leave it to dry two days, and then sand it with disks with diamonds from coarse to fine. During this operation, fill the holes that might appear with the special Magnesite Filler Plaster tinted in the base color of the floor, using a rubber spatula.
- Apply two coats “wet on wet” of our Normal Primer diluted 1 to 14 with water. Leave it to dry completely. Once dry, complete the work with the desired topcoat. We suggest our PU2C, polyurethane varnish, applied in two coats.
- When Magnesite dries, it produces so much tension that the material can pull up everything from below. This means that we have to create solid support. One way is to apply an epoxy primer made with sand. As an alternative, you can use our Gap Levelling Plaster (GLP). See the instructions in the technical datasheet. Note that the thicker the Magnesite floor is, the more tension it will produce during the curing process.
- You can pour either small or very big thickness of material at once, without any problem. If it is more than 5 or 6 mm thick, it is better to beat the surface to bring the air bubbles out. People use rollers with plastic nails.
- You have to protect the freshly poured material from draught: from the air blowing under doors and also from the direct sunlight coming from windows. Both these conditions can create micro-cracks on the surface.
- Magnesite is so strong that sanding seems to be the main issue connected with it. It is always advisable to have professionals with a diamond sanding machine, to sand our Magnesite Terrazzo floor.
- It is important to neutralize the salt that remains on the surface of Magnesite very well, or the final treatment with varnish will not stick to it. After sanding, you have to clean very well the surface and apply the Neutraliser and the Pre-sealer (see Tech. Data Sheet).
- Because the material increases its volume when it dries, it is important to put 1 cm of rubber strip along the walls around the floor.
Final Treatment for Magnesite Terrazzo Floors
Vegetable Oils Blend
For the final treatment your Magnesite Terrazzo floor, you can use our Vegetable Oils blend and a wax. This alternative to varnish is recommended for private houses, especially when clients desire a fully eco-friendly, natural finish.
If the varnish is used as a final treatment, mind that some polyurethane varnish might have problems of adhesion. One of our customers had all the varnish peeling off. This happened because he didn’t use the Neutraliser and used a cheap varnish. We noted that the varnish has to be applied in very thin layers. We prefer to apply it in several thin coats, diluting the first coat by 5% with water, in order to increase its penetration, and then apply a second after three hours. If you need extra protection you can apply also a third layer. If you apply thick layers of varnish, or if you use a wrong polyurethane varnish, it is possible that, when you roll it, it becomes white in color, and then turns transparent immediately after. When this special phenomenon happens, it means that something is going wrong with the varnish application. Usually, it is missing the salt Neutraliser.
The classic Terrazzo floor
What is a Terrazzo floor
The classic Terrazzo floor is a type of seamless flooring, made of granules of marble with a diameter of up to 40mm, bound together by lime or by cement. Terrazzo is a type of flooring that is manufactured entirely on-site, meaning that the whole floor is a remarkable continuous surface, unmarked by joints or gaps. Venetian Terrazzo is a unique work of art that has its own hues, mosaics, and colored glass. Each Terrazzo floor is unique: it is impossible to reproduce the same pattern twice. This wonderful flooring can be installed on a wide range of foundations, including traditional screeds made of sand and cement, or existing floors of all kinds. The method is the same today as it was 50 years ago; once the screed has been prepared and leveled, the granules of marble are scattered. The Terrazzo floor is then beaten, polished, coated in linseed oil, and finally waxed.
History of Venetian Terrazzo floor
The origins of Terrazzo floor
What is known today as the Venetian Terrazzo floor was used since ancient Greece. Through the Roman dominion, it then achieved notoriety also in Italy. At the beginning, the beaten floor was nothing but ground terracotta, which could have come from previous demolitions or from any processing waste, mixed with a binder, lime. It is believed that it was not even sanded, allowing normal use to highlight the grain size of the compound.
The flourishing of Terrazzo in Venice
Although the technique can be traced back to Ancient Greece, Venice is the place where the Terrazzo floor technique and craft developed and flourished. Indeed, in the mid-16th century Venice, where marble was widely used in the building industry, resourceful Venetian marble workers discovered a way to reuse marble remnants. With odd-size marble chips, they began to build terraces around their living quarters. Techniques for leveling these first Terrazzo floors progressed from rubbing with a stone by hand to the development of long-handled, weighted grinding stone, called a galero. The insertion of fragments of marble into the Terrazzo mixture was probably done for aesthetic reasons, but it had the additional effect of increasing the floor’s resistance to wear and tear.
Later developments of Terrazzo floors
Today, the types of marble additives of the Terrazzo floor vary from fine to medium grain. In the nineteenth century, the coarser grain was used with the profiling of irregular tesserae. Later, at the beginning of the twentieth century, a finer grain was used, profiling with regular tesserae and the insertion of Art Nouveau decorations. Hydraulic lime is still used today as a binder in Terrazzo floors. However, for economic reasons, controlled-shrinkage Portland cement is often used during the laying phase, which shortens the time for obtaining the final result. Over time, for reasons of cost-effectiveness, Terrazzo tiles in the 20×20 cm format have been introduced on the market. This is a compromise that, according to some, has debased the Venetian Terrazzo floor as a handmade product, but which, on the other hand, has increased its diffusion. (Read more about the history of Terrazzo)
Where can Terrazzo floor be used
Venetian terrazzo fits any type of interior design, whether classical, modern, or contemporary. Unlike mosaic, Terrazzo floor is a technique that produces smooth surfaces, creating a distinctive seamless effect. Shining like an endless carpet of light, and whatever the interior style, Terrazzo floor is a refined element that brings warmth and softness to any room.
The advantages of using Magnesite for Terrazzo Floors
The disadvantages of classic Terrazzo floors
With Magnesite, you can obtain Terrazzo floors with a thickness of only 6mm. Normally, to create Terrazzo floorings, screeds of cement and sand are used (or the more classical lime screeds). However, both cement and lime screeds must be of a minimum height of 70-80 mm, otherwise they will crack when drying. Differently, many modern Terrazzo Floors are made by binding stones additives with an epoxy resin. However, epoxy resin goes yellow with time and has an unnatural, cheap look.
Magnesite: thinner, stronger and eco-friendly Terrazzos
On the contrary, Magnesite is so strong that it will never crack even when applied very thinly. This allows to create Terrazzo floors with a thickness of 1 cm, that can then be sanded down to 6 mm. Additionally, being a completely natural, fine material, Magnesite Terrazzo floors have the same natural look of classic Terrazzo floors done with cement or lime. Ultimately, Magnesite Terrazzo floors maintain their beauty over time, without any change in color or aesthetic value throughout the years. Last but not least, Magnesite is an eco-friendly material that can be protected with different natural treatments. To sum up, with Magnesite you can obtain thinner, harder, longlasting, and eco-friendly Terrazzo floors with a natural look.