Here we give guidance on how to care for marble, terrazzo and brick floors in period houses - cleaning them, the use of polish, as well as more substantial repairs.
To clean marble, please see the guidance for Fireplaces.
You should not polish a stone or terrazzo floor with a smooth texture - it will be dangerously slippery. Instead, wash it with a mild abrasive solution and then rinse.
Old terrazzo floors do tend to suffer from cracks; these do not necessarily indicate a subsidence problem but more often simple settlement. This is because the marble chips are set in a very hard mortar and this cannot flex as the building settles. If there are no corresponding cracks in adjacent walls, then settlement is the likely cause.
To repair terrazzo requires a specialist; loose pieces will be removed, cracks filled and then the surface ground down and polished.
As with stone floors, you must avoid sealing the bricks, particularly if they are laid on earth or lime mortar; they must allow excess moisture to evaporate.
For brick flooring, you can use a polish made from 3:8 beeswax and turpentine (no oil). Gentle heating in a double boiler will help to dissolve the wax so it can penetrate rather than sit on the surface. Do not saturate the bricks - you don't want to seal them totally, and too much polish will collect dirt and may become slippery. Subsequent coats can be applied annually.