Recycled and Radiant

Recycled and Radiant

More than 1,500 years ago, Italian artisans learned to mix marble scraps—waste material from other projects—with cement to create beautiful flooring designs for lobbies, plazas, and other public spaces. The reuse of materials is as important today as it was centuries ago. Modern-day terrazzo uses recycled materials that can be locally sourced, making it a great choice for projects that need to use LEED-certified design practices.

Not only does a terrazzo design get you LEED-credits, the recycled materials can bring color and radiance to your space.

In 2004, Chicago Public School System set forth an initiative requiring all new schools to be LEED Certified. For Albany Park Middle School, in Chicago, IL, terrazzo was the clear answer. Recycled post-consumer glass composition, low-emission epoxy, and regional manufacturing all helped to make terrazzo one of the biggest contributors to the school’s LEED certification.

This environmental design was modern and stylish. The visually interesting geometric patterns with striking colors make the space lively and captivating.

Elegant Environmental Design

terrazzo flooring design kinowerks ravenswood chicago illinois

Using terrazzo flooring can add the finishing touch to a creative and modern design. Vibrant patterns and artful compositions can add to the visual appeal of a space. Not only can terrazzo be used to bring colorful and complex designs to life, it can be used to meet green building standards.

Because terrazzo uses recycled materials, and often can be sourced locally, it works well for projects that need LEED-certified green building design and construction practices.

Kinowerks Ravenswood is a remarkable combination of a highly creative space that embodies both a unique design and durable, sustainable construction. By using terrazzo, the architects on the job could not only create a design as unique as the rest of the building, but meet the demanding LEED certification criteria.

With locally sourced materials that came from within a 500 mile radius, recycled glass, and remarkable durability, terrazzo helped seal the deal on the LEED Gold certification.

Architect Bill Ketcham, a LEED Accredited Professional, says it best: “Ravenswood Kinowerks is a highly sustainable design that embodies an extraordinary attention to detail within a work environment that is at once technologically advanced, intensely focused, efficient, beautiful and deliberately relaxed.”

5 Ways Terrazzo Supports LEED Certifications

5 Ways Terrazzo Supports LEED Certifications

Terrazzo’s traditional craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal make it the first choice for many designers. The vibrant colors and design possibilities make it the preferred flooring to impress visitors and fit in with a wide variety of styles. But terrazzo can also help you get credits needed for LEED certification.

NCTA contractors have done work on many LEED-certified buildings in the region. Whether it’s to meet civic or client mandates or to fit the floor in a creative design space, terrazzo’s environmental design has it covered.

Here’s how terrazzo helps get the points you need to meet LEED certification.

Durable construction. Long-lasting construction eliminates environmental impact of replacement. The flooring can be preserved even if the building is updated.
LEED v4 Credits: Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction and Construction and Demolition Waste Management

Resource efficient. Construction uses locally sourced materials.
LEED v4 Credits: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Environmental Product Declarations

Eco-friendly composition. Using recycled glass and other materials…
LEED v4 Credits: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Environmental Product Declarations

Clean air. Terrazzo construction uses zero VOC materials. The finished product has little to zero off-gassing.
LEED v4 Credits: Low-Emitting Materials

Green maintenance.  Annual and routine maintenance can be done using environmentally friendly products using energy efficient methods.
LEED v4 Credits: Green Cleaning – Products and Materials
LEED v4 Prerequisite Support: Facility Maintenance and Renovations Policy and Green Cleaning Policy

Credit information is based on LEED v4 credits, updated July2017. For more information, visit

Terrazzo: Unique Design in Blended Space

Terrazzo: Unique Design in Blended Space

Cafaro Chooses Terrazzo for Unique Design in Blended Space

Cafaro Company Headquarters, Niles, OH

When the Cafaro Company was designing the new corporate headquarters, they turned to terrazzo to deliver a stunning, yet functional, design. The project changed the face, and the very core, of the existing building. The architect and designers at Phillips|Sekanick Architects, Inc. transformed an underutilized section of the three-story Eastwood Mall Complex into Eastwood Office Centre, an open and inviting 50,000 square foot office space for more than 200 employees. The team worked with Youngstown Tile & Terrazzo to cover the general flooring and staircases.

In this blended space, the flooring is the connector between the office building, mall, and banquet space/conference center. Bruce Sekanick, Principal Architect, recognized that the flooring selected needed to “be durable, look nice over time, be long-lasting, and provide a flexibility of design.” They needed a material that would give the space the sense of permanence and durability that Carfaro is known for. Terrazzo was the clear choice.

The team created a design that fit with the existing retail space and hotel, and flowed seamlessly throughout. They chose natural colors and a fluid design to blend the spaces and provide a timeless pattern that could match the longevity of the terrazzo itself.

“Terrazzo’s diverse color palette and flexible design allowed us to control the color and movement in the floor,” explains Heidi DeMark, IIDA, the interior designer for the project. “The inspiration was to use warm and cool colors to convey the ripple effect and movement showing the Carafo’s reaching effect on the community with this lifestyle center.”

Terrazzo: Unique Design in Blended Space

This design clearly shows the alive, dynamic, evolution that is Cafaro.

Terrazzo helped the architect and designers accomplish their vision, complementing the soft natural lighting, creating a warm and inviting main space, and providing a floor that was just as inspiring from the ground level as it was from the connecting bridge above.

Terrazzo’s versatility makes for a design that supports use for any need, as an inspiring and stunning entry or a social area for banquets. It has the flexibility for any event or purpose. Even the annual Christmas tree fits in nicely, showcased in the center of the entryway each December.

The ability for terrazzo to so vibrantly convey the messaging with the movement of design exceeded expectations. People come in from all over the country, and they walk into this visually stunning space that leaves an impression. Terrazzo completes this grand entry to provide a unique experience.

Terrazzo: Unique Design in Blended Space

PROJECT NAME: Cafaro Company Headquarters
OWNER/CLIENT: Cafaro Company (Niles, OH)
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: Youngstown Tile & Terrazzo (Canfield, OH)
ARCHITECT: Bruce Sekanick (AIA, OAA), Phillips|Sekanick Architects, Inc. (Warren, Ohio)
INTERIOR DESIGNER: Heidi DeMark (IIDA), Phillips|Sekanick Architects, Inc. (Warren, Ohio)
BIM MODEL MANAGER: Stephane Gula (Assoc. AIA), Phillips|Sekanick Architects, Inc. (Warren, Ohio)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Co. (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American (Staley, NC)
PRECAST TREADS: Wausau Tile (Rothschild, WI)
PHOTOGRAPHY: The Builders Association

Longevity Meets Beauty

Longevity Meets Beauty

Longevity Meets Beauty

If a project’s ideal floor is long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing, the traditional craftsmanship and artistry of the design offered by terrazzo fills the bill. Terrazzo can be used to render gorgeous designs that can outlast the buildings themselves.

The intricate and elegant construction in the convent of the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, for instance, shows how a beautiful floor can stand the test of time.

Longevity Meets Beauty

Six Decades Later, Terrazzo Still Inspires

The sisters of St. Francis Convent in Mishawaka, Indiana, have been singing, congregating, and praying on the same terrazzo floors since the convent’s construction in 1950. Even with minimal maintenance, the terrazzo floors in the lobby, corridors, convent chapel, and main chapel are as awe-inspiring today as they were more than 60 years ago when they were first installed.

Designed in the tradition of the old cathedrals found in Assisi, Italy, the architecture and terrazzo flooring of St. Francis unite in a harmony of strength and beauty. The installation was a cement matrix in lieu of epoxy, and the vibrant colors—not often achieved with cement—are a testament to the many possibilities terrazzo has to offer. Within the main chapel, terrazzo continues to lead sisters along the pews and to the altar over a soft color palette accentuated with precise right angles.

Longevity Meets Beauty

Defining Terrazzo: What makes terrazzo?

Defining Terrazzo: What makes terrazzo?

Defining Terrazzo:

What makes terrazzo?

Terrazzo flooring has a long and rich history that dates back over 1,500 years. The word terrazzo originated from the Italian word for “terrace,” and it was created by Venetian marble workers discovering new uses for discarded marble chips.

With today’s building technologies, terrazzo designs can now offer a nearly limitless array of colors, with enough flexibility to accommodate designs from very simple and classic to extremely intricate and complex. All while retaining terrazzo’s durability, sustainability, and low maintenance costs.

But what makes terrazzo?


The terrazzo matrix is the binding material, either epoxy resin or cement, that bonds to the underlying structure. The matrix contributes to the overall color.



Terrazzo can contain a large variety of chips or aggregates including marble, granite, and glass. It can also include decorative glass, shell, or metal items. The aggregate provides texture, color, and depth.


Divider Strips

Divider strips are made of various metals. They are used for both function and decoration.
Functional: Required spacers to keep terrazzo from cracking based on cement slab movement.
Decorative: Provide separation between terrazzo sections to create design.


Top Finish

The top finish is a sealer or method of finishing terrazzo that provides varying degrees of durability, shine, and color. Terrazzo can be finished with a variety of surface finishing systems that process the surface mechanically and/or chemically.


Contact the NCTA to schedule a Lunch & Learn for continued education credits.

Epoxy Terrazzo or Cement Terrazzo: What’s the difference?

Epoxy Terrazzo or Cement Terrazzo: What's the difference?

Epoxy Terrazzo or Cement Terrazzo:

What's the difference?

Recently, we’ve noticed one repeating question from designers: What’s the difference between Epoxy Terrazzo and Cement Terrazzo? Knowing that these are two great choices, we’re going to answer that burning question and provide reasons why you might choose one over the other.

Terrazzo is one of the oldest and most versatile sustainable flooring options. It is defined as a composite material poured in place or precast, consisting of marble chips and/or other aggregates combined within a binder material, which is ground and polished to a beautiful finish. Terrazzo today covers a limitless array of colors, and is known for being durable, sustainable, and flexible enough to accommodate designs from very simple and classic to extremely intricate and complex. From the royal palaces and serene bath houses of ancient times to today’s international airports, hospitals, and schools, terrazzo is a flooring canvas with infinite possibilities.

Epoxy Terrazzo Muny

Epoxy Terrazzo uses an epoxy matrix to bind the aggregates and is one of the best thin-set systems. Because this system uses a resin composite, it has a rise of only 3/8″ above the concrete slab, which means it’s also lighter than other terrazzo systems. Other great benefits include the vast array of color and pattern possibilities, durability, and chemical resistance.


Cement Terrazzo uses a cement matrix and describes multiple terrazzo systems including sand cushion, bonded, monolithic, polyacrylate, and rustic. These floors use a cement-based mix with the aggregate (chips) to form the terrazzo top. They are often thicker and heavier than an epoxy system. Also, although they offer a wide color palette, choices are slightly less than epoxy terrazzo, but create beautiful earthy tones and some can be used outdoors.

Why would I choose one over the other? If you…
– want bright, brilliant, limitless colors, use epoxy terrazzo
– want a thin-set floor, use epoxy terrazzo
– want a chemical-resistant floor, use epoxy terrazzo
– want to match or duplicate a classic space, use cement terrazzo
– are concerned with moisture vapor transmission, use cement terrazzo
– want terrazzo outdoors, use rustic terrazzo (cement)
– want a beautiful, resilient, easy-to-maintain floor, use terrazzo.

Contact the NCTA to schedule a Lunch & Learn for continued education credits.


Reflecting our DNA with Design

Reflecting our DNA with Design

Reflecting our DNA with Design

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

There is no design more pure and beautiful than that of the human body. When Michigan State University looked to build their new bio-engineering facility terrazzo flooring was a natural choice – like the human body it provides perfect form and function. The project won a 2017 Honor Award from the National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association (NTMA), as well as a 2017 AIA Michigan Interiors Award.

The new 130,000-square-foot installation spans over four floors, including a stairwell that resembles an immense, colorful DNA strand. The floor design incorporates a total of 10,000 square feet of epoxy terrazzo with a starburst node pattern in five sizes scattered in a two-color pallet. The staircase, the focal point of the open atrium, consists of 168 sections of pre-cast terrazzo tread-and-riser combinations.

The artistic nature of the facility, particularly showcased in the DNA-like staircase, is designed to attract the next generation of biomedical scientists and help cultivate them into leading researchers. The building is purposefully open to inspire students to collaborate and conduct research that could change the world.

Reflecting our DNA with Design
Reflecting our DNA with Design

PROJECT NAME: Michigan State University Bio-Engineering Facility
OWNER/CLIENT: Michigan State University (Lansing, MI)
TERRAZZO CONTRACTOR: Michielutti Bros, Inc. (Eastpointe, MI)
ARCHITECT: Integrated Design Solutions (Troy, MI)
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Clark Construction Company (Lansing, MI)
TERRAZZO MATERIAL SUPPLIER: Terrazzo & Marble Supply Co. (Wheeling, IL)
DIVIDER STRIP SUPPLIER: Manhattan American (Staley, NC)
PRECAST TREADS: Wausau Tile (Rothschild, WI)

Three Tips for Project Success: Terrazzo design and installation


Three Tips for Project Success

Terrazzo design and installation

Terrazzo flooring presents a unique blend of aesthetic choices, functional considerations, and practical applications. Designers and architects who find the near perfect blend in creating a beautiful and functional floor keep these three things in mind during a project.

Coordinate the concrete.
Pulling together a meeting between the general contractor and the terrazzo and concrete contractors will help avoid unpleasant surprises with the concrete substrate and the placement of strips in your design. To cut down on unnecessary disruption to the floor process, the design, engineering, and concrete teams need to work together to properly coordinate the pattern with substrate joints.

StVincent_terr pics0002

Understand floor sealers and finishes. Contractors often have a preferred sealer they use, and owners generally have a finish in mind. Learn how the contractor finishes a floor and get everyone on the same page.


Design for the timeless. Modern epoxy terrazzo presents limitless possibilities for color and aggregate choices, but remember it’s built to last. Classic, timeless, elegant designs work best for the long term and ensure a beautiful and easy-to-maintain result.


Terrazzo Tales: Floors that tell stories

Frazier Arms Museum 040_EDITED

Terrazzo Tales

Floors that tell stories

Terrazzo tells stories. With the rich color selection and freedom of design, terrazzo lets you create visual narratives that last through time.

This can be seen in the design for Frazier History Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. The museum, located in the city’s Museum Row, has a terrazzo flooring that features a map of the Midwest, weaving together the story of colonial America.

The design for the Richard and Barbara Silverman Hall for Molecular Therapeutics and Diagnostics takes the storytelling capabilities of terrazzo to new heights. The building was named after the legendary Northwestern University professor and developer of the Lyrica drug. To pay homage to Silverman’s creation, the terrazzo flooring features the periodic table, single-strand helices, and the molecular makeup of Lyrica.

Terrazzo can do more than simply make an eye-catching floor. It can enlighten visitors to the history of a building, honor a structure’s legacy, and carry its narrative long into the future.