When Kenny Stanfield broke into architecture, much of his work involved renovating schools. Those schools often featured terrazzo flooring that still looked brand new despite years of heavy use. That was Stanfield’s introduction to terrazzo, and he thought that the durability of terrazzo floors “said a lot about the product.” To this day Stanfield appreciates “the aesthetic beauty of it, the longevity of it, and its essentially maintenance-free character.”
Stanfield received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kentucky, and he has been with Sherman Carter Barnhart for more than 30 years, where he is now a principle. Sherman Carter Barnhart specializes in sustainable design, and terrazzo as a floor finish enhances their ability to promote sustainability.
Among the many projects where Stanfield has used terrazzo are Brooks Elementary School in Shepherdsville, Kentucky; Hart County (Kentucky) High School; and the Meade County (Kentucky) College and Career Center. These projects all reflect Stanfield’s preference for terrazzo flooring to be used wherever there is high foot traffic use – including commons areas, restrooms, hallways, or lobbies.
Advances in technology, especially with laser cutting, have improved the aesthetic quality of terrazzo floors. “We are seeing more intricate patterns, like a DNA strand in the science wing at Hart County High School or the giant compass at Brooks Elementary,” Stanfield said. “With improved techniques in prepping surfaces, the patterns can be more intricate. It is almost endless what you can do with patterns.”
Whenever an architect uses terrazzo, the contractor becomes a key partner. Stanfield observed that the terrazzo contractors he works with “are still craftsmen.” These contractors have been in business for years, providing high-quality work. “I always know what I’m going to get when it comes to installation,” Stanfield said.
Over the last several years, Stanfield has noticed a shift in pricing. Usually, when Stanfield talks about flooring choices with owners, he starts with the least costly flooring options and works up to the more expensive, upper end terrazzo. While terrazzo pricing has remained stable, other flooring alternatives have escalated in price. Today, the price gap between flooring finishes is quite a bit smaller, making it easier for the owner to choose terrazzo. Price is not as much of an issue, and any cost difference can easily be made up through lower maintenance expenditures.