The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Terrazzo design: avoiding stress-related deterioration and cracking

TitleTerrazzo design: avoiding stress-related deterioration and cracking
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsCivjan SA, Mitchell MJ, Mann R
JournalJournal of Performance of Constructed Facilities
Start Page514
Date Published12/2011
KeywordsDesign, Deterioration, Floors, Maintenance, Terrazzo

Terrazzo is a high-grade flooring widely specified by architects for its aesthetic and durable characteristics. However, misunderstanding of material behavior and specifications can result in early deterioration, leading to additional cost and questions of liability. Deficient terrazzo performance is usually avoidable and clearly unacceptable in a material specified for its durability. In this paper, examples are used to define common cases of inadequate performance and mitigation strategies. The underlying causes of terrazzo deterioration are addressed in regard to stress concentrations, differential movements, impact loads, and terrazzo material properties. Ultimately, expected performance relies on effective interaction among the multidisciplinary team working on the project, including the architect, engineer, contractor, and terrazzo subcontractor. It is therefore important to provide a comprehensive program of defined expectations, proper specifications, intelligent design and detailing, quality assurance of the installed product, and communication among the project team. With these in place, durable terrazzo flooring can be consistently provided.