Originally created by Venetian construction workers as a low cost flooring material, the workers used marble chips from slab marble processing to create Terrazzo. The workers would usually set them in clay to surface the patios around their living quarters. Consisting originally of marble chips, clay, and goat milk (as the sealer), production of Terrazzo became much easier after the 1920s and the introduction of electric industrial grinders and other power equipment.
Terrazzo, is one of the original recycled products. Today terrazzo flooring continues to provide the ultimate in durability and low maintenance, typically lasting the life of the building. The combination of beauty, durability, and low maintenance has led to a renaissance in the use of terrazzo over the past decade. The demand for terrazzo is increasing in many markets, from performance driven institutions such as schools, airports, and hospitals; to the designer driven markets of retail and commercial buildings. Terrazzo is the ultimate choice when evaluating finishes on a life cycle basis. In recent years the construction industry has begun to focus on the environmental impact of many construction materials. The evaluation of products in the “green movement” encompasses many elements, which must be weighed on a scale of relative importance. These elements include the longevity of the material, the composition, maintenance, recycled content, embodied energy, and the “cradle-to-grave” environmental impact.