Best of NCTA 2018

Time-tested terrazzo techniques show breadth, beauty, and versatility.

Best of NCTA 2018

Breadth, Beauty, Versatility

Each year, the North Central Terrazzo Association gathers to discuss advances in technology, to refine industry techniques, and to build camaraderie across our association. We seek to make time-tested terrazzo techniques even better.

We also look back at the projects completed by our association members that show the breadth, beauty, and versatility of terrazzo flooring. Many of these projects are award-winning designs and installations, and they include hospitals, colleges, research centers, sports arenas, transportation hubs, and churches.

Join us as we celebrate some of the finest projects the contractors of the North Central Terrazzo Association have created.

March Madness, Terrazzo Strength

March Madness, Terrazzo Strength

March Madness, Terrazzo Strength

Terrazzo Brings Energy to the Court

Whether you’re shouting, “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!” or “Go Blue!” the terrazzo designs in sports arenas are sure to boost your energy. Players and fans alike will get a ready for the big game in an atmosphere that exudes team spirit. Arenas set with logos, team colors, and college fight songs make the March Madness crowds flowing through the corridors, stairwells, and main floor ready to cheer on their team. They’ve been waiting all season to see their teams go all the way.

Not only can terrazzo fill the space with school spirit, it can withstand the heavy traffic of the dense cheering crowds. The fans rushing over the floors won’t see a crack, chip, or hole.

This video shows the bold college logos, the lively team colors, the intricate designs that convey the core team spirit. These energetic and durable designs can empower the teams to push harder and electrify the spectators to roar even louder.

Make Your Space Buzz: Entertaining Terrazzo Designs

Make Your Space Buzz: Entertaining Terrazzo Designs

Make Your Space Buzz

Entertaining Terrazzo Designs

With vibrant color options, eye-catching designs, and striking patterns, terrazzo can make your venue come alive.

Versatile terrazzo can create designs that set the atmosphere in all types of entertainment venues including casinos, theaters, and hotels. From the bold colors used in the Grand Victoria Casino to bring the energy to the floor, to the lively design at the Muny in St. Louis that adds excitement to the space, terrazzo can set the stage for a memorable experience.

This video gives you a glimpse into what a terrazzo design can add to an entertainment space. See examples of the clean lines that add a feel of sophistication, the timeless designs that set the tone for your cinema experience, and the delicate patterns that bring the beauty of nature into public spaces. Next time you are out at the theater or a concert, look down at the floor, it might surprise you.

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

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.


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.

Wayfinding: Designs that Guide

terrazzo flooring design adventist amita cancer institute


Designs that Guide

Wayfinding systems guide people—they provide a visual experience to make complex spaces easier to navigate.

Terrazzo is especially suited for helping patients orient to large healthcare facilities, students navigate from one classroom to another, and travelers find their way in airports.

Adventist Cancer Institute is a case in point. Its poured in place terrazzo floor features a “compass of meaning” and “ribbons of hope” mentioned in the Institute’s mission statement.

“The colors of the ribbons correspond with the colors of the points on the compass, which represent peace, hope, faith, and love,” said Abby Weilmuenster, senior interior designer at Earl Swensson Associates. “And while they’re decorative, they’re also wayfinding (guides) for visitors and patients.”

The design at the Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens drew inspiration from the winding Rock River. Designer and artist Linda Beaumont describes how the design brings each visitor on a journey. “The composition of the entire floor suggests water, with additional sinuous lines of river currents adding color and rhythm. The bits and pieces of glass bring a presence of the movement of the river, swirling and pulling all the different shapes through the Conservatory lobby, and into the magical world of exotic plants seen in the distance.”

Terrazzo “takes your design factor to another level,” says Kenny Stanfield, partner at Sherman Carter Barnhart, architects for Brooks Elementary. With the design freedom and vast color palette of terrazzo, designers and architects can create wayfinding to direct wherever they want visitors to go.