Comment of the Day: Terrazzo for Flippers

COMMENT OF THE DAY: TERRAZZO FOR FLIPPERS TerrazzoPoured terrazzo floors like those in that house are nowadays so astronomically expensive that the only new residential construction they are seen in today are high-end, architect-designed custom homes built for extremely wealthy people. I wonder if people who replace poured terrazzo floors with hardwood, travertine, or whatever realize that they are discarding something very expensive for something much cheaper. It even makes business sense. Even flippers could increase their profit margin if instead of replacing terrazzo, they just educated their buyers about how valuable these floors are. (Things that are revealed to be rare, expensive, and hard to replace have a way of magically becoming very attractive).” [august15, commenting on This Not-Screwed-Up-Yet Meyerland Ranch Mod, in Almost Original Condition, Is Available for $460K] Illustration: Lulu

24 Comment

  • I completely agree. These floors are beautiful and were used in the most elaborate Mid Century moderns. I walked thru one massive mid century in River Oaks right before it was demolished and it had like 12000 square feet of Terrazzo floors all thru it, that house was so cool, the lawn sloped down to the Bayou in this series of flagstone terraces that cascaded from a gargantuan pool. It was replaced by equally massive Georgian, completely lacking the character of its stylish predecessor.

  • So very, very true. There’s a reason they put terrazzo in airport terminals. When a million people visit the building every year, and the flooring holds up and looks good – it’s a winner.
    Schools, too. They have beautiful terrazzo in old buildings from the 1920s through 1950s. And they demolish those to replace them with buildings that have vinyl composition tile in their main corridors. It makes me want to throw up.

  • I have seen flippers cover up terrazzo more than once. I could smother them with a throw pillow. I mean, it’s one thing if you are doing it for yourself and you just don’t like it, but when you are renovating a house to make money, and you cover up a huge asset, then maybe you shouldn’t quit your day job. Just FYI for anyone who has them, John Calarco is one of the very few that can do repairs and restoration on them.

  • Pored terrazzo has the warmth of a prison cell and the charm of slaughterhouse industrial flooring.

  • Could it be that flippers remove/cover it cause that’s what buyers want? If buyers wanted those floors, they wouldn’t spend $ to replace.
    I’ll give you an example: a place of mine in San diego was built in 1991. Many of the rooms had a faux paint job (migh be using the wrong term. Looks like it was sponged on or wiped on). Anyway I hated it. When I’ve told someone I wanted it painted over they say “no, it was super expensive to do”. I don’t care how expensive it was to do, I hated it and blasted over it with a nice grey/blue. I like the look of the new paint WAY more.
    Personally I think these terrazzo floor look terrible. Maybe in the right house they’d look okay but it’s not my thing so it’s something I wouldn’t want as a buyer.

  • Warmth and charm are socially constructed concepts. There was a time when wood paneling was considered in the same light. People shift their attitudes toward this sort of thing all the time, especially in order to feel superior or to make others seem inferior. It certainly seems plausible that educating buyers about Terrazzo should work; although clearly it is not enough to demonstrate the superiority of the building material but also a certain social acceptance of it.

  • We had that in our 1965 house. Still ugly I see.

  • I know the first thing I looked for when I bought my house was ‘airport style flooring’

    Terrazzo is completely out of style for younger buyers, depends on the demographic you want to attract I suppose. If you want grandma and grandpa to buy your home, keep it, if you want young professionals to buy it, cover it up.

  • Expensive or not, they are ugly as sin….much like the mid century mods. I would either tear them out or put something over them in a heartbeat, because I can’t stand to look at them. Reminds me of a the junior high gym’s bathroom floors…just exactly the look I would be going for in my house…(sarcasm)

    I could not care less what something costs or if its old….if its ugly and dysfunctional its got to go….make way for the new and improved!

  • In the east end I have also seen original hardwood floors covered up with ceramic tile and people state the same reasons as the ones listed above against terrazzo. Just like hardwoods, terrazzo needs to be refinished from time and time, and when it is done, it looks great. A lot of people haven’t seen them in residential settings except when they are dull and in need of refinishing. Younger people don’t want it? Not been my experience, that’s the whole point. If you are flipping a house in a neighborhood where buyers will pay a premium for terrazzo, and many will, it doesn’t make financial sense to cover them. As for “new and improved” flooring. Some of them may be new, but some veneer particle board mess is hardly an improved item when it is compared to poured in placed terrazzo flooring.

  • Mark, I mean this in the nicest way possible: GTFO back to Dallas, keep your greasy hands off the MCMs.

  • @Rodrigo – dont worry about your MCM’s – I dont buy ugly houses…I am not a homevestor..The general real estate market here in Houston usually takes care of removing these for the greater houston area on its own though…Terrazo and MCM’s are proof that there are people whose only taste is in there mouth, and also that there are plenty of folks everywhere who like things JUST because they are expensive/rare/old….Terrazo, and the ugly dysfunctional, leaky, MCM’s are neither attractive or worth keeping…but you are in luck b/c I have no intention of buying these monstrosities….and I too of course mean that in the nicest way possible.

  • Mark, you are completely entitled to your opinion that I am a conspicuous hipster, and I’m happy to learn that the displeasure I feel when looking at houses you probably love, is a little less one-sided than I had previously thought.

  • It takes a certain level of architectural sophistication to appreciate mid-century moderns that not everyone possesses.

  • There are some really awesome and amazing terrazzo floors, but then there are some really amazingly disgusting and boring terrazzo floors out there. sorting them out is the key. cover the drab, refinish and bring out the beauty of the nice ones.
    I would like very much to have a MCM house, my favorite cartoon growing up was the jetsons, so I can’t have a flying car, but maybe I can have a house like that.

  • When we remodeled our 1957 ranch we kept the terrazzo. It wasn’t ever an option to remove it, both from the expense point of view and the fact that we like it, a lot. Our terrazzo is stained in some places – maybe I should call the guy listed in this thread for help with this, but I doubt it’s fixable. Our biggest challenge was this – in our remodel we grabbed about 20 square feet from the garage to put in built-in cabinets for our dining room. This exposed a section of flooring that had no terrazzo. There was no way we could get matching terrazo poured. We have a friend who’s got a company, Nurrazo (, that makes terrazzo-like tiles with an epoxy matrix instead of concrete. They will match the color of your matrix and try to match the stones. They couldn’t get stones the same size as what is in our original flooring, but they did a pretty good job. We know the old from the new, but no one else sees the difference unless I point it out. I’m glad we kept our terrazzo. It is entirely functional, easy to maintain, completely in keeping with the character of our home and looks great.

  • @modster, are you the long lost “modster” from City-Data?

  • I loved the terrazzo tile floor in my Meyerland home. However, when it came time to sell, potential buyers saw the cracks in it as a crack in the foundation, as the terrazzo is poured directly on the concrete foundation. I knew the cracks were benign signs of settlement, however they scared off many people, so I had to cover the entire floor with ceramic tile. I had a terrazzo expert come out and give an estimate for repair, and no repair would have been unnoticable, so what was the point?

  • It really has to be a style thing. The front porch on a house I am currently remodeling has terrazzo tiles, and I find them hideous. If anyone wants them before I become one of those “bone headed flippers” who covers them up, feel free to come get them! Otherwise, they will be waiting for the next owner to discover under something more attractive.

  • Sadz, can you upload a photo of them to

  • It’s an acquired taste. We own a beautiful MCM in Meyerland, but no terrazzo. I really wanted a house with terrazzo floors, but it’s hard enough to find a tastefully restored MCM or one in its original state. We were looking for a full year before we found our current home. Also, my fiancée and I are both under 30 proving that young people can both appreciate old things and have great design sense. Some people prefer McMansions and Fifty Shades of Grey to Neutra and The Brothers Karamazov; what can one do?

  • Is it really “astronomically expensive?” Let’s say I want to terrazzo my living room, 20′ x 15′ room – how much would it cost?

  • It costs $20-$50 per square foot and looks like 29cents per square foot linoleum tile. For less than $30 per square foot you can cover your entire floor with full slabs (4 feet by 8 feet) of granite or marble and have money left over for laser cut mosaic or medallions.

  • I am 32 and love terrazzo tile, and do keep an eye out for it. It can look stunning (I saw this home when living in New Orleans, and yes I do believe the terrazzo survived considerable floodwaters, but the recent listing in Meyerland is not a convincing example.