Another option in resilient flooring is environmentally friendly Linoleum. Made from linseed oil, it has made a huge comeback due to it’s extreme durability and unusual coloring that can only be found in nature.
What Is Linoleum?
Genuine linoleum, not to be confused with vinyl, is a classic, invented nearly 150 years ago and still completely relevant today. Environmentally preferred linoleum is made from natural, raw materials. Linseed oil, which comes from the flax plant, is the primary ingredient. (In Latin, linum is the word for linseed and oleum means oil.) Other ingredients include wood or cork powder, resins and ground limestone. Mineral pigments provide the rich colors. The ingredients are mixed together, then rolled out between two cylinders (a process called “calendaring”) onto a jute backing. The linoleum is then cured in ovens for 14 to 21 days. Some manufacturers bond a high performance coating to the surface to improve the floor’s ability to resist stains and scratches, and to make cleaning easier. The resulting floor is then rolled on cores, ready for installation. Sheetlinoleum is available in many thicknesses. 2.5 mm is suitable for residential use. It is sold in a two-meter (or 6′ 7″) width size.
Keep In Mind:
Linoleum manufactured without a high performance layer that protects the design must be polished to prevent staining.
Linoleum releases a harmless odor (from the linseed oil) when it is first installed, much like that of a freshly painted room. This odor will dissipate.
New linoleum sometimes has a yellow cast on the surface, called a “drying room film” that is a natural effect created by the floor’s composition. This film will dissipate when the floor is exposed to natural or artificial light. Make sure you exposelinoleum samples to light for a several hours before making your final design and color choice.
Most linoleum is sold as a sheet product. Linoleum tile is available, but it is more prone to warping and curled edges.
Known for its vivid, saturated colors, linoleum is available in traditional marbled patterns, solid colors, contemporary flecked designs or graphic patterns. In an older home, linoleum can complement the original interior design. In a modern setting,linoleum can be custom-cut to create beautiful and creative patterns on the floor. Linoleum is naturally beautiful, made from environmentally responsible materials that are biodegradable and anti-bacterial. The original resilient floor is a very modern decorator floor indeed!
Where Can I Use Linoleum?
Linoleum has versatile properties that make it a natural choice for many rooms in your home. It is extremely durable, making it a good choice for high traffic areas including kitchens and hallways. It’s naturally anti-bacterial and hygienic, making it a great choice for playrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. It can be used below, on and above grade levels, for versatility in installation. Linoleum, like all smooth-surfaced flooring, is recommended for people suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments because it will not trap dirt, moisture or other debris the way carpet fibers can.
Keep in Mind:
Linoleum that does not have a manufacturer’s protective layer bonded to the surface must be polished to prevent the floor from staining. Linoleum can be used below grade level, but not over concrete with excessive moisture. Manufacturers’ recommendations regarding linoleum in bathrooms differ. Violating those recommendations may result in voiding the warranty.
Durability & Life Expectancy
Linoleum can last more than 40 years if installed and maintained correctly. Proper maintenance includes polishing your floor. Linoleum with a permanently bonded, high performance coating will resist stains, scratches and clean as easily as a vinyl sheet floor. If the linoleum does not have this manufacturer’s protection, it will need a regular maintenance program that includes polishing, stripping and reapplying of polish to protect the floor’s surface.
One of linoleum‘s most distinctive qualities is that the entire thickness of the wear layer (everything except the jute backing) is homogeneous. This means the color and pattern extend throughout the entire floor surface. So, if linoleum wears down with use, or is chipped or gouged, the gorgeous colors and pattern will still remain. That said, linoleum is very resistant to gouging and scratching, and stands up to heavy traffic. That’s why linoleum is as popular in non-residential buildings as it is in today’s home.
Keep In Mind:
Linoleum’s natural ingredients are susceptible to damage if not protected by either a manufacturer’s bonded topcoat, or polish applied after installation.
Like hardwood, linoleum will suffer permanent damage if it is exposed to standing water, continuous moisture, or a moist subfloor.
Five to 25 year warranties.
Care & Maintenance
Linoleum should be swept regularly to remove dirt, and mopped as needed with a neutral pH floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer. Some types of household cleaners will damage linoleum, so it’s imperative to use a cleaner recommended specifically for linoleum flooring.
Polished linoleum floors need more maintenance than floors that have a manufacturer’s bonded protective coating. Maintenance includes occasional stripping and re-polishing multiple times per year in high traffic rooms—once every other year in low traffic rooms. You’ll know when it’s time to polish your floor when it begins to look dull, even after mopping.
Apply the polish recommended by the manufacturer. You’ll know it’s time to polish your floor when it begins to look dull, even after mopping. Floors in high-traffic rooms might need polishing twice a year; low-traffic rooms might need polish once a year or every other year. Old polish layers need to be stripped before new polish is applied because the old polish loses its protective qualities.
Keep In Mind:
Although a manufacturer’s bonded coating and/or your own polishing protects the floor’s surface, never use a harsh alkalis or high pH products such as ammonia to clean linoleum.
Natural linoleum needs to be protected by polish. The polish needs to be stripped and Pros and Cons:
Linoleum is made from natural ingredients. The floor patterns and vivid, saturated colors create dramatic design statements worthy of Mother Nature.
Life spans that can last 40 years or more. Pattern and color extend through the thickness of product, so even if the flooring begins to wear down, the design and color remain.
Resists Damage and is Easy to Clean
When protected with a manufacturer’s bonded coating,linoleum resists dirt, scratches, scuffs, and cleans easily with sweeping and occasional mopping. An excellent choice for active households.
A Great Value
Linoleum‘s long life span makes it a cost-effective flooring option.
One of the “Greenest” Floors
Environmentally preferred linoleum is made of abundantly available, renewable natural materials.