Low maintenance is the key to pet-friendly interior design. Flooring is a great place to start, since this area will receive a lot of wear and tear. Since accidents and mud tracks are inevitable, you’ll want something that is painless to clean. Carpeting will be a magnet for stains, clumps of animal hair, and pet odours. Hard flooring is a perfect choice for pet owners or even those wanting to install a quick clean surface. Painted or stained concrete is one option that is durable and easily cleaned but unless you are comfortable with a severely minimal, industrial look this may not be suitable in your home. Ceramic tiles are also excellent at resisting stains and spills as, unlike the majority of natural stone material, they are non porous. They are however fairly brittle and can be easily cracked. Wood surfaces can be easily scratched by pet nails and laminate flooring has dated badly over the last few years. So where does that leave us? A lesser known but perfect material for the job is terrazzo. Read on to find out much more about this versatile and beautiful flooring material.
Originally created by Venetian construction workers as a low cost flooring material, the workers used surplus marble chips collected from upscale jobs to create Terrazzo. The workers would usually set them in clay to surface the patios around their homes. Consisting originally of marble chips, clay, and goat milk as a sealer, production of Terrazzo became much easier after the 1920s and the introduction of electric industrial grinders and other power equipment.
Today, most of the terrazzo installed is epoxy terrazzo. The main advantage this material has over the original cement based terrazzo is the much broader selection of colours available. But it also means floors can be laid much thinner, using less material- which saves you money and decreases the load placed on your floor. Resin can be laid much quicker and takes less preparation time and is actually much more durable than concrete as it has a higher tensile strength and impermeable to liquids once dry. In addition to marble aggregate blends, other aggregates have been used such as recycled glass, metal shapes and medallions.
When the terrazzo is thoroughly dry (or cured in the case of thin-set terrazzo), helpers grind it with a terrazzo grinder, which is somewhat like a floor polisher, only much heavier. Slight depressions left by the grinding are filled with a matching grout material and hand-troweled for a smooth, uniform surface. Terrazzo workers then clean, polish, and seal the dry surface for a lustrous finish.
If you choose a hard surface floor such as terrazzo, you may want a few large area rugs to help soften your living spaces. Rugs are more versatile than carpeting because they can be moved, cleaned, or tossed in the trash. If you want to remain true to the origins of the flooring you could also team it up with some Venetian blinds in an appreciative nod to the genius of the workers who invented it.