Choosing the flooring for your home is an important decision, as it will not only be one of the first things people see when they enter the house, but it will also take up a sizable amount of your budget. Linoleum is great, cost-effective alternative to wood or carpet. Before you make a decision, it’s crucial to know its main benefits and things to keep in mind.
Linoleum flooring is cheap and incredibly durable flooring sollution. It requires professional installation and regular maintenance.
This article will provide an overview of linoleum flooring. It will cover durability, price, installation, maintenance needs, and eco-friendliness. Hopefully it will help you come to a decision about if Linoleum is is best for you or not.
About Linoleum Flooring
Even if you don’t know it, you’re probably familiar with linoleum. This flooring type is both one of the most classic and oldest flooring options, dating all the way back to the 1800s. It was popular for a reason; however, its hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial properties are ideal for hospitals and schools. It also has anti-static properties, explains Flooring Inc., so it helped to protect employees and equipment in many commercial businesses.
Since it’s been around for so long, linoleum began to fall out of fashion as new options like vinyl and laminate became available. However, it’s slowly making a comeback, according to HGTV, as homeowners realize how many design options are available by using linoleum in their homes. This customizability, combined with its durability and low cost, makes linoleum due for a renaissance. Keep reading to learn more about this classic flooring.
How is Linoleum made?
While linoleum’s manufacturing process has been updated since it first became available to the public, it is still made out of the same biodegradable materials. These natural products include pine resin, linseed oil, broken down wood, ground cork dust, sawdust, and other mineral fibers. Pigments are then added to give the linoleum the desired color. Most linoleum flooring also has a canvas or burlap backing that will be glued to the subfloor during installation.
While many people may only think of linoleum as flooring for commercial or industrial properties, it’s been used in homes for just as long. It’s an incredibly versatile flooring option that can easily be used to create both the black and white checkered floors we associate with the 1950s and a believable hardwood and tile alternative.
What Does Linoleum Flooring Look Like?
While linoleum does come in wood designs, it’s most commonly used to recreate tiles’ look or create elaborate patterns. Different colored linoleum may be laid out in squares or straight lines to create borders to divide a room or set off other design elements. It can also come in detailed designs that create a mosaic look on the floor; this is becoming increasingly common in modern kitchens as homeowners look for affordable ways to change a space.
In terms of colors, the way that linoleum is made plays a huge role. Since the flooring is made of organic materials, linoleum colors are always slightly warmer and more natural-looking than vinyl or other flooring materials. As Fine Homebuilding explains, there may even be a slightly yellow cast to new linoleum called a bloom, but this will fade with time and light exposure. This warm tone makes linoleum perfect for a room with an understated design.
Linoleum is also unique because its color goes all the way through unlike other flooring types. This means that whether linoleum is a solid color or a pattern, the color goes all the way through to the backing. As the linoleum’s top layer fades through years of wear and tear, the design won’t be worn off. Furthermore, Flooring, Inc. argues that this means scratches will show less, and the flooring color will remain consistent over time.
How Durable Is Linoleum Flooring?
The fact that linoleum has been trusted in schools full of running children for decades should be proof enough that it’s an incredibly durable material. When compared to similar flooring materials like laminate and vinyl, linoleum is most likely to last the longest. While most linoleums have 25-year warranties, they can last up to 40 years if cared for properly.
So what exactly makes linoleum so long-lasting? Many argue that since the material can be re-finished, it’s easy to touch it up over the years instead of replacing the entire floor. While this is true, the very design of the flooring adds to its durability. Additional factors include:
- Bounce Back: Linoleum is typically made from some sort of cork mixture, making the floor more flexible and resilient. As people walk across the flooring, it “bounces” back, protecting it from cracking or snapping. This is why linoleum feels softer underfoot than other flooring options. Harder flooring options may be too difficult to install in some areas of the home, but linoleum’s relative softness makes it a great option.
- Consistency of Material: As mentioned, linoleum is the same all the way through, both in material and color. While replacing a damaged piece of laminate or any other flooring would be challenging since there are so many different materials to work with, repairs to linoleum are simple. Since repairs are easy to do, you’ll be able to go longer before having to pay for a costly full floor replacement.
- Canvas Backing: While it’s only a thin layer, the canvas or burlap backing on the linoleum provides an additional layer of support. Since linoleum is not installed with a floating design, you can rest assured that the pieces of flooring are securely attached to the ground.
Linoleum flooring is water-resistant, not waterproof. While it can handle quite a bit of liquid, there is a certain point at which the floor will begin to become damaged beyond the point of repair. While there are many benefits to linoleum’s all-natural composition, it also means that the flooring is more vulnerable to water damage than other man-made materials.
Linoleum is especially prone to water damage if the floor isn’t sealed correctly at installation or re-sealed frequently enough. Without this routine maintenance, the linoleum will begin losing its water resistance and start curling up at the edges, explains Armstrong Flooring. Even consistent steam can cause this damage, so this flooring option is not normally recommended for bathrooms or laundry rooms.
Luckily, when properly sealed, linoleum is a great option for areas that experience a lot of moisture. It is antimicrobial and resists mildew and mold, making it ideal for wet spaces where bacteria often breed; this is why it’s so often used in hospitals and other medical settings. Although the sealing may take a little extra work, it’s definitely worth the benefits.
How Expensive Is Linoleum Flooring?
Linoleum flooring is one of the cheapest available flooring options. While prices will depend upon the quality, colors, and design estimate linoleum’s average price should be between $2.00 and $4.00 per square foot. However, keep in mind that it can be more challenging to install, so you’ll likely spend some of those savings on hiring professionals to lay the flooring down.
What Is the Installation Process for Linoleum Flooring?
For the most part, it is best to leave linoleum flooring installation to the experts. Linoleum often comes in large sheets that need to be stuck to the floor using a special adhesive. While the average person can certainly attempt this, professionals are experienced with laying large sheets down precisely to avoid bumps or bubbles. They’ll also easily cut the linoleum to fit around your appliances, which can be a little challenging.
If you have your heart set on a DIY project, linoleum tiles are becoming more and more popular. This allows homeowners to snap pieces of linoleum together just like you would floating floor laminate planks. Linoleum installation works best on a completely flat, clean surface, so if you decide to try putting it in yourself, make sure to do the necessary prep work to ensure your floor is ready.
What Maintenance Does Linoleum Flooring Need?
Linoleum is fairly low maintenance, with the exception of re-sealing every other year. To keep it clean regularly, stay away from harsh cleaning supplies. You can even use just water and a damp mop. Like with other wooden floors, never use anything abrasive to clean the flooring and never leave any liquids to sit for long periods of time. Most linoleums have an outer coating, but you’ll also need to wax it periodically if yours does not.
While it may seem unnecessary, re-sealing is a necessary maintenance task for linoleum floors; this allows it to hold up for longer, look fresh, and stay waterproof. The process isn’t that difficult. Check with the manufacturer to see if it’s necessary to strip the floor before adding a sealant. If not, simply pour the recommended sealant over the floor, spread with a damp mop, and allow it to dry.
How Eco-Friendly Is Linoleum Flooring?
It’s time that people updated the way they think about linoleum flooring. Even though it’s one of the older wood alternatives on the market, linoleum may be the most eco-friendly option. Linoleum is considered a green flooring option for many reasons, including:
- It’s Made of Natural and Renewable Materials: As was covered earlier, linoleum is made of natural materials like linseed oil, cork, sawdust, and more. The flooring material is 100% natural and plant-based; this means that all of the materials used to make linoleum can easily be replaced naturally, off-setting the carbon footprint of production.
- It’s Biodegradable: Once disposed of, linoleum won’t just sit in a dump for hundreds of years. It will eventually break down, and the natural materials used to make it will reintegrate with the planet, explains The Spruce. This process won’t release harmful chemicals into the air and requires little to no energy consumption.
- It Doesn’t Need Replacing: One of the easiest ways to be eco-friendly that often gets overlooked is simply using what you have instead of buying something new. Since linoleum is notoriously durable, it will not need to be replaced very often. This means less product needs to be manufactured and ultimately thrown away.