What Is Linoleum Flooring?
Apr 13, 2022
When you think of linoleum flooring, you might first think of hospital floors, your elementary school cafeteria, or your grandparent’s retro kitchen, not your home. But if you’re looking for a water-resistant, environmentally friendly, and incredibly long-lasting flooring option, linoleum is a great choice.
So, what exactly is linoleum? It’s aptly named as its main ingredient is linseed oil, which is mixed with other natural ingredients like cork dust, wood flour, pine resin, ground limestone, and pigments, and is pressed onto a woven backing made from jute, a natural plant fiber. Because it is solely made of natural materials, it’s 100% biodegradable.
Linoleum gets a bad rap because, in the past, it needed to be resealed regularly with liquid wax. But now, linoleum comes with a durable factory finish, requiring much less maintenance.
There’s a reason linoleum is used in a lot of public spaces: it’s incredibly durable. It can last up to 40 years with proper care. Unlike more delicate flooring such as wood floors and laminate floors, it is scratch-resistant, disguising wear and tear to hide its age. Since it is antistatic, water resistant and antimicrobial properties make it super easy to clean, it is a great option for kitchens, bathrooms, and damp basements.
Linoleum is a softer material, so it is at risk of getting dented by furniture legs or heavy appliances. You can mitigate this by keeping the floor clear of heavy items for three days after installation. Linoleum floors are also porous, meaning water can seep through them if spills aren’t cleaned up promptly. The good news is if linoleum is sealed periodically with the right finish, it will stay water-resistant and stain-proof. Linoleum flooring usually requires professional installation, though, which can add to the cost.
Linoleum is sold in two different forms: flooring rolls and tiles. The flooring rolls consist of linoleum sheets, which can be laid over any prepared, level subfloor. Sheets are recommended in areas like bathrooms and kitchens because they have fewer seams, meaning they will not absorb as much water as tiles would.
Linoleum tiles come as modular tiles or click-together tiles. If you’re looking into how to install linoleum, click-together tiles are the most DIY-friendly option. Linoleum sheets need to be glued down and flattened with a 100-pound roller, so, unless you’re a regular Bob the Builder, you should get those installed by a professional.
Linoleum vs. Vinyl
Like vinyl flooring, linoleum comes in a range of colors and patterns that can give you a variety of different looks. Vinyl does mimic the appearance of wood, tile, and stone floors better than linoleum. However, vinyl floors only have their color and pattern in the top layer, so they can fade over time. In linoleum floors, the color goes all the way through the material, so it will be just as vibrant in 20 years as it is today.
Where to Use Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum flooring naturally repels dirt and pet hair and is really easy to clean, so it’s perfect for any high-foot-traffic areas, like your entryway, mudroom, or living room. If dirt seems to follow your kids wherever they go, linoleum is also a great choice for your child’s playroom. And, since linoleum is water-resistant, it also works well in damp basements –just keep in mind that you should clean up spills and floods quickly.
To find out more about linoleum and other flooring options, visit your local Flooring America today. Our experts are equipped with the latest knowledge in flooring products and top brands, and they’re here to answer all of your questions.
Visualize Your Flooring Dreams
Want a preview of how new floors will look in your home? Try our room visualizer, My Floor Style. Upload a photo of your room, select your style preferences, and get a virtual look at each different flooring style. With My Floor Style, there are no surprises. Only beautiful new floors.