ARKITEKT I FOKUS –
TIPS OCH TRENDER – Recycling and environmental awareness in terrazzo
What kind of materials can you put in terrazzo? It’s a question we often get. There’s a lot of interest in sustainability and using recycled materials in terrazzo. We note that a growing number of people are eager to take the plunge and try something new.
Our answer to the question about materials and terrazzo is practically anything, as long as it’s sufficiently hard and adequately soft. In other words, it´s hard to know where to draw the line. For example, we’ve carried out tests with different types of plastic, and although polishing it works fine, it’s no good in the long run if the plastic is too soft and not sufficiently durable. A terrazzo floor can last for hundreds of years, but if it incorporates the material that wears faster it will neither look good nor work well in the long run.
Because all materials added to terrazzo must be capable of grinding down to form a smooth floor surface, it’s not possible to use materials such as stainless steel. On the other hand, we get good results from glass. In our standard product range, we have a colour we call HT-ZACKE, which largely consists of recycled glass. The green and brown pieces are from recovered green and brown returnable glass bottles. Mirror glass is another type that produces an elegant effect. Using mirror glass or crushed silver-coated glass produces beautiful reflections and highlights the colour of the glass.
”HT-ZACKE is a colour we’ve used in many projects. It’s pretty popular, which is amusing as it consists largely of recycled returnable bottles. It’s important for us that our work is eco-friendly, which means we get an extra kick by taking recycling one step further. We’re open to trying new things. There are plenty of materials we haven’t explored together with terrazzo, but whenever we get an inquiry we’re happy to experiment,” says Anton Lundell at Herrljunga Terrazzo.
Making terrazzo from recycled materials is just a small part of our sustainability efforts. We work with long-life natural materials. For example, our in situ cast floors will last for hundreds of years. This is often a major reason why architects and other clients choose terrazzo for their projects. On the other hand, we recommend giving in situ cast terrazzo floors a light grinding every 40 or 50 years or so to keep them in good shape. This means that if we lay a floor with a thickness of around 12 mm, it could be ground at least 11 times and keep its good looks for 600 years, if done properly.
Five reasons why terrazzo is good for the environment:
- Long life.
- The stone we use is taken from quarry products that cannot be used for worktops and similar.
- All of our products are Nordic Swan eco-labelled, including in situ cast floors, cement bonded and plastic bonded tiles.
- No chemicals are needed to keep them clean, only soap and water. Stains can often be removed with wet fine emery paper.
- A demolished terrazzo floor does not pollute the environment with any hazardous substances.
Carrara marble is among the more common stone we use. The rock Carrara is taken from is divided into different parts that separate stone for use in making solid blocks and stone that has cracks, spots or veins etc., and which is not considered quite as good. We take care of the latter, which is crushed and used in terrazzo.
Terrazzo consists of more than 75 per cent stone, and the only materials used to bond the stones together are water and cement. Herrljunga Terrazzo not only offers in situ terrazzo and cement-based elements, but also prefabricated slabs and tiles. The very thinnest tiles we make use a plastic base instead of cement. Recently, this product also received the Nordic Swan eco-label, and it feels good to show that we only use eco-friendly materials here, too. Our entire product range is now eco-labelled.