Epoxy or Cement: What's the difference?

Epoxy or Cement: What's the difference?

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 or Cement: What's the difference?

Epoxy Terrazzo

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.

Epoxy or Cement: What's the difference?

Cement Terrazzo

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.

Epoxy or Cement: What's the difference?