How to Stain Terrazzo Floors

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Got a new terrazzo floor that you want to be finished by color staining? Or maybe, you need to restore your old terrazzo surface to its old, polished look. While terrazzo is a low-maintenance flooring option, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t susceptible to wear from foot traffic.

After some years of use, you may notice your old terrazzo floor gradually losing its shiny allure. You can either stain or paint it to restore the glossy look. However, you can’t stain all the terrazzo floor. The porous ‘cementious‘ part will take the stain, but the particles of marble cant be stained.

In this guide, we’ll run you through the proper procedures for staining or painting terrazzo floors.

Can you Paint or Stain Terrazzo Floors?

Yes, to achieve that smooth, polished look that’s common on terrazzo floors, you can paint or stain it. While both processes involve applying new layers of paint/stain on the floor surface, the difference lies in the fact that paint sits on top of the floor surface to provide a protective coat and enhance the floor’s visual appeal, while stain penetrates into the cement parts of the terrazzo floor.

How to paint Terrazzo Floors?

Here are step by step on how to paint your terrazzo floor and have more impact and change the color from the standard ones.

How to paint terrazzo floors?

Steps to Paint terrazzo floors

To properly paint your terrazzo floor, follow the procedure outlined below;

  1. First off, prep your terrazzo flooring by cleaning it to get rid of dust and debris. The floor has to be clean to ensure maximum adhesion with the paint that’s to be applied later on. You can use a tri-sodium phosphate-based cleaning product, as it is powerful enough to even get rid of oil and grease-based debris. See more on: how to clean terrazzo floors
  2. Next, give the floor enough time to dry up; then, use a paint roller to apply a powerful latex primer to the surface. The purpose of the primer is to enhance the bonding strength with which the paint sticks to the terrazzo floor. To ensure the most powerful bonding strength possible during the painting stage, make sure you let the primer stay in place for three days after application, allowing it enough time to harden up.
  3. Now, it’s time to paint! For the most aesthetically pleasing result on your terrazzo floor, you’ll want to invest in premium-quality water-based paint. Use a paint roller to apply the fresh coat of paint on your floor. If you’re going for light shades, you can apply double layers for a more vivid visual effect.
  4. Finish off the job by applying a protective finish on the freshly painted surface. This will help prevent paint chipping. A good-quality acrylic sealant- applied using a paintbrush- will most certainly get the job done. This should help restore and make the terrazzo floor shine.

Read More: Ways to make terrazzo floors shine

How to Stain Terrazzo Floors?

For homeowners with old terrazzo floors, staining is the best alternative, as it involves getting rid of the old layer of wax finish and applying a fresh coating.

How to Stain Terrazzo Floors?

Steps to Stain Terrazzo Floors

Follow the procedure below to properly stain your terrazzo floor and restore its original gloss;

  1. Sweep your terrazzo floor surface to get rid of dirt and debris. Then, create a cleaning solution by mixing about 100-ml of an all-purpose cleanser with a gallon of water in a large mop bucket. Drench your mop in the solution, lightly wring it, and mop up the floor. Repeat this until you’ve covered the entire floor surface.
  2.  After the floor dries up, mix some water with floor wax stripper in another bucket. Ensure to mix the quantities as per the manufacturer’s instructions on the wax stripper packaging. Then pour the solution
  3. Now, run an electric floor scrubber over the wax stripper on your floor to strip off the old layer of wax polish on your terrazzo floor.
  4. You now need to prep the surface of your terrazzo floor for maximum adhesion with the stain that’s to be applied later on. To do this, add about 250-ml of muriatic acid in a bucketful of water, stir the solution, then dip a mop in the bucket and mop the entire floor. This is called acid etching. The muriatic acid solution works to open up the cement parts of the terrazzo flooring t better receive/absorb the stain. You should ensure to wear a respirator mask and hand gloves while undertaking this step, as muriatic acid may cause serious injuries if it comes into contact with your skin. Finish off the prepping stage by rinsing the solution off the floor.
  5. Next, use a paint roller to apply your stain to the entire terrazzo floor, one section after another. As you complete staining each floor section, immediately buff that section to ensure maximum penetration of the stain into the cement part of the terrazzo.
  6. Once you’re done staining and buffing the entire floor, use a dry mop to wipe off the excess stain from the floor.
  7. Finish off the job by applying a terrazzo wax polish to the surface for that characteristic shine that as come to be associated with terrazzo floors.

Tip: Use only non-slip, non-buffable floor finish to avoid excessive slip conditions on terrazzo. The finish designed for hard surfaces would be the a great coating selection.

Will staining make an old terrazzo floor shine?

Not really- the only reason people say this is because the staining process is usually finished off by the application of a layer of wax polish. It’s this wax sealant that causes the high gloss finish on stained terrazzo floors.

Staining a terrazzo floor without waxing the surface will help unravel the depth of colors on your terrazzo flooring, but won’t result in the famous high-gloss finish.

Read More: How to make terrazzo floor shine?

Does Terrazzo Stain easily?

Yes, and no! Remember that terrazzo flooring is made by mixing marble chips with cement. As such, it’s only the cement parts of the terrazzo that can absorb the stain, thus making it easy to stain. The marble chips- meanwhile- won’t be affected by the staining as marble is impermeable.  

See Also: How Do You Clean Terrazzo Floors?, How to Restore Terrazzo Floors Yourself, Does Terrazzo Need To Be Sealed?

Sources and References

The Construction Civil:What is terrazzo flooring?

Photo of author


Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

6 thoughts on “How to Stain Terrazzo Floors”

  1. After staining the terrazzo should a sealer be put on before the polish? Or is polishing the same as sealing? Thanks very much for this very helpful article. Our home is all terrazzo and it in need of a refresh and this article has given me the confidence to tackle the job myself.

  2. I am so excited that there is finally a confirmed way to stain or re-tint existing terrazzo floors!! As an Interior Designer, I confronted the TTMA (Terrazzo Tile and Marble Association) with this exact issue in 1980’s with a possible solution (acid) to remove existing unwanted colours. . .and there was no solution they would back at that time.

    Thank You. . .Better late than never 🙂
    Therese Gould, TG Design

  3. Hello,

    We are hoping to change the colour of our bathroom terrazzo floor.

    It is really old and is a yellow colour – would you suggest painting or staining to make it a white colour?

    Thank you so much, really appreciate your advice

  4. I have a house with yellow terrazzo in the kitchen and the rest of the house has red/maroon color . Can I change it to black color terrazzo with a stain ?


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