Terrazzo Tile issues

Discussion in 'Ceramic and Stone Q&A' started by RickinFlorida, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. RickinFlorida

    RickinFlorida New Member

    First, some background. We bought for our home renovation over 3000 sq ft of terrazzo tile from Wausau Tile several years ago (the vendor is called now Techtura Designs, a Wausau Company). The tile had a manfucturing defect in which the machine that applied the 3M sealant on the tiles left swirl patters in the sealant and failed to seal the tiles to the required thickness. Neither we nor the installer (so he says) noticed the defect until the floors were installed.
    Wausau was VERY DIFFICULT to deal with, but after about 1.5-2 years they agreed to pay a "3M certified company" to burnish and reseal the tiles and pay for moving furniture while the work was done. The burnishing company did a so-so job in burnishing out the swirls, but left us with an even bigger problem with the tiles/grout. Remember, these are 18x18 tiles, not a poured floor.
    There were no instructions telling the original installer that it was imperative that the tiles be layed "quarter flat," a term used by the burnishing to describe sliding a quarter from one tile to another with absolutely impediment. So our floors had slight height variations tile to tile. When the burnishing machine moved from tile to tile, it would leave a burn mark on the higher tile. Then, once the sealer was reapplied, the burn mark was sealed in and the grout was sealed such that it cannot be cleaned.
    I would like to find a way of removing the seal from the tiles/grout so that the burn marks may be removed and the grout cleaned. I've spoken repeatedly with Wausau tile and 3M about this but have yet to find an answer. I even asked 3M if the chemists that created the sealer knew of a way to chemically remove it (thinking they should know...), but 3M said that burnishing was the only way.
    SO - does anyone have any ideas how we might remove the 3M sealant either chemically or physically. For the latter I'm thinking of a machine with smaller pads that a burnisher uses so that there would be less or more controllable overlap tile to tile. Any thoughts would be MOST appreciated.
    Oh, and NEVER EVER install terrazzo tile in your house from Wausau or its subsidiaries, but if you do, use a very good installation contractor who can lay the new floor very very flat.
    Thanks for listening!
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Idiots! What you really needed first was proper install by a marble setter. Now you need a professional marble restoration company who has dealt with the term “lippage” but they may not want to touch/own the floor. Some pics would help, also the matrix used. I’m going to say epoxy terrazzo squares.

    No one is willing to pay the thousands of dollars to properly “fix” what was done wrong.

    Not sure where you’re at but I googled some info and here’s where you’re at. Again it’s partly install for lippage issue, finish is manufacturers issue until we get further info. Photo for preserving info.

    Repair uneven tile & grout surface | St Augustine | Daytona

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 1, 2019
  3. tsb

    tsb well dressed

    I don't know what product was used to seal, but if it was 3m scotchguard stone floor protector (which they recommend for terrazzo) the old formulation is not strippable and has to be polished off. The new version is strippable. Not sure what they recommend as far as strippers on the new version of the stone floor protector.

    Either way, when it's resealed it will need to be burnished again so the lippage will need to be corrected.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    Your installer should have researched for that information for installing their product if he/she didn't know. I think if I were in your shoes I would try to find another company to fix the problem.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. RickinFlorida

    RickinFlorida New Member

    Mike, thanks for the post. FYI, our home is in Gainesville, Fl (Go Gators). And I totally agree with you that the tile installers were NOT the people we needed. I wish our general contractor had been better, but we were new to the area, hired a company on a referal from our renovation designer, and the rest is not a fun story. Live and learn. But the tile guys were really awful although they came highly recommended by the contractor. What we'll probably end up doing is (a) suing Wausau for the manufacture's defect AND the general contractor for poor workmanship and not reporting the defect to us at time of installation, OR (b) live with the floors as is until we sell the home and fix the floors then. WE have pictures of the before/after, but they don't really show the defects very well.
  6. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    It could theoretically be done on hands and knees one 18" x 18" terrazzo tile at a time. Good luck finding anyone willing and able to do that at an affordable price. Seriously, I think you're up against it. So good luck.

    Can I assume you've Googled terrazzo-----RESTORE, REFINISH, RESURFACE------and seen some of the Youtube videos?

    Even a modest restoration, done properly requires special equipment and experienced technicians. Don't be fooled by how easy some internet quacks make it look. Because of the irregular height issues due to the installers failure to properly "level" (flatten) the substrate the equipment to be used would be comparable to what would be used exclusively in areas where the regular machines can't reach. When estimating a flooring job professionals understand how perimeter walls, cabinetry, closets and other obstacles greatly increase the TIME, SKILL and COST of labor.

    There's no getting around that fact with skilled workers. They will see the problem, understand the solutions and price the work accordingly. Time, skilll and cost------like I say, it's possible to doctor the finish up by hand. But you've still got a lumpy tile install. Might actually be cheaper to consider demolition and another floor covering.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. So even the wrong grout (sanded) can possibly scratch the tile as it’s trying to polish, another reason why grout joints are tight for stone tile.
  8. I can’t leave out when you grind that lippage there are voids in the mix which would have to be “grouted” again with the right epoxy, ground and polished.

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