John Krause, Managing Director of London’s natural stone and terrazzo expert, Diespeker and Co, considers the additional benefits of resin based terrazzo in terms of durability and design.
Terrazzo as a flooring material is extremely hardwearing and easy to maintain. It is available either as a standard material, often imported from Italy, or in a bespoke format created using traditional skills that are time consuming but result in a unique design to the customer’s individual specification.
While we have been working with standard and bespoke terrazzo for over one hundred years with great success, more recently we have looked to resin based terrazzo to offer an alternative solution.
Resin based terrazzo is created through a mix of inert granite aggregates and water based polyurethane resin. The product offers a seamless finish that, unlike traditional terrazzo, is not prone to faults through cracking or crazing. In comparison to standard terrazzo it is a relatively expensive flooring solution, but the cost is offset by the material’s durability and easy-to-clean finish. With correct maintenance, the system will last in excess of 25 years.
The material has been a popular option within major pharmaceutical companies and blue chip businesses requiring a hygienic manufacturing environment. Installation is as a single piece over a large area and with few if any joints, offering the major benefit of being relatively easy to keep clean. Resin based terrazzo is also a practical choice for high footfall areas including offices and entrance areas.
The floor of the refurbished Marylebone campus at the University of Westminster, for example, was created from resin based terrazzo as part of a project undertaken by Vinci Construction to convert an external courtyard into an internal area that included a library, café, study section and general circulation area. Flowcrete’s Mondéco Crystal Ice, an 8mm blend of mirrored and clear glass chippings, was specified as the flooring product. The floor totalled approximately 2200m² and although in this instance the surface could not be completely joint-free due to intersection between substrates, areas of up to 1000m² were installed as seamless.
The installation required a number of detailed elements provided by Diespeker, including the treads and risers for a low gradient ramp of almost 18m in length, an unusual design combining slope and steps; as the ramp height increases, stairs begin to form on the side of the ramp – this design is believed to be the first of its kind. Additional features included the skirting, wall strings and creation of half-moon shapes used in pairs to provide skirting around circular columns of around 1.5 meters circumference.
While there are currently a number of standard resin based terrazzo products available on the market, the logical step, and one that we are currently researching, is to devise methods of offering bespoke designs, much as we already do with traditional terrazzo.
Although this breakthrough is at an early stage, pinning down a successful formula will take resin based terrazzo into the realms of a luxury flooring option that is not purely functional, but also adds to the atmosphere of an interior as a design, rather than functional, choice.
For information on Diespeker’s range of resin based terrazzo as well as stone and marble, please contact 020 7358 0160 or visit www.diespeker.co.uk