Linoleum Flooring – Linoleum Flooring Rolls & Linoleum Tiles
$3 – $8 per Sq/Ft (Materials Only)
Linoleum has been a round since the 1800’s and is still a good choice for bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms and kids’ playrooms. Water-resistant, hard-wearing, low maintenance and environmentally friendly, Linoleum flooring still deserves your consideration.
Linoleum flooring may not be the most popular flooring in today’s market, but it does have a certain appeal because it is affordable and super low maintenance. Contemporary linoleum is also one of the original eco-friendly flooring materials, made with up to 97% natural raw materials, many of which are renewable.
Popular opinion would have it that linoleum is not the most durable flooring option. However, over the years linoleum manufacturers have developed better quality finishes to ensure that linoleum can withstand normal to high footfall traffic and give greater overall durability.
And in fact, today’s linoleum – if installed and maintained correctly – can last for 25 years or more. Linoleum also has the distinct advantage of being softer and more comfortable underfoot than many other resilient flooring options.
Furthermore, gone are the old days where linoleum only came in a handful of colors and styles. Today linoleum is available in all kinds of colors and styles, including marbled effects, textured surfaces and on-trend terrazzo and geometric patterns.
Linoleum is now also available in both sheet and tile or plank forms, making it an interesting contender against similar engineered flooring products such as vinyl or laminate. Linoleum and vinyl are not the same thing so please consult our sheet vinyl guide if it’s vinyl you’re after.
So, read on for more in-depth information about linoleum to get the full picture of what it offers. In this linoleum flooring guide you’ll find:
Buying Guide: First we will look at the last developments in linoleum flooring, and how to decide if it is the best product for your flooring needs. We’ll look at the pros and cons of linoleum flooring, and detail key factors including the best linoleum brands, trends and styles and durability.
Price Guide: We will outline the key cost factors for linoleum flooring and see how linoleum prices compare to other flooring such as hardwood, vinyl and laminate, so that you can decide whether linoleum is the most cost-effective flooring option.
Installation Guide: Here we will outline the installation method for linoleum flooring, including our top tips for the best installation and how to avoid common DIY installation mistakes.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Finally, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to keep your linoleum flooring looking its best.
And before you leave, check out our Conclusion
WHAT IS LINOLEUM?
Here are a few interesting facts you may not know about linoleum:
- Linoleum was first patented in the 1860s and manufactured for commercial use in 1872, making it one of the oldest composite flooring options in history.
- Linoleum is one of the most eco-friendly flooring options, made from naturally occurring and renewable materials: linseed oil, tree resins, recycled wood flour, cork dust and mineral pigments.
- Linoleum was a top-end flooring product back in the day and was even used in the Grand Ballroom and the dining room of the Titanic!
With the rise of other flooring products such as vinyl, linoleum lost popularity in the 1960s, but is now back and better than ever.
PROS AND CONS OF LINOLEUM
Today’s linoleum hasn’t changed too much from its original eco-friendly formula.
But one of the key factors for renewed interest in linoleum is that it is a very green building material; homeowners, designers and builders who are concerned about reducing their home’s impact on the environment are now increasingly looking at linoleum for that reason.
Also, linoleum has always been a resilient flooring, and now there are even better top coat layers applied to increase its durability, making it more resistant to scratches and scuff marks.
Good top coat layers will now also protect against the color changes that can happen with linoleum, such as yellowing in direct sunlight. As a result, good quality and well-maintained linoleum can easily last 25 years and even up to 40 years is not unheard of!
Speaking of colors, another great feature of linoleum is that the pigments are not simply printed on the surface (as with vinyl) but are integrated into the material in the mixing stage, so the color runs right through the linoleum. There’s no way you can scratch the color off the linoleum!
For all the above reasons, linoleum is already a firm favorite for industrial and commercial use: you often see linoleum floors in schools, hospitals, municipal building and retail spaces. But increasingly it is being used in the residential arena as many homeowners appreciate that linoleum is both low maintenance and water resistant, ideal for spaces that need to be both practical and attractive such as mudrooms and kids’ playrooms.
Linoleum is also softer underfoot than many other flooring materials and there are specialist linoleums that offer extra soundproofing of up to 18db sound reduction.
Different types of linoleum
Finally, it used to be that linoleum was only available in linoleum rolls or sheet versions.
But now there is also linoleum glue down tile, and linoleum click lock tile options. The click lock option usually has a high-density fiber board backing with an added cork underlayment.
Biggest disadvantage of linoleum flooring
As you’ve seen, linoleum has a lot going for it. But it does have one major disadvantage to consider: it’s not always super easy to install, particularly where joins need to be welded together using specific tools and techniques. This is one flooring job that we’d recommend leaving to the pros. See below for further details regarding linoleum installation.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LINOLEUM FLOORING
Now that you know some basic facts about linoleum, here’s what you need to consider to find the best linoleum flooring for your home.
Linoleum flooring is water resistant but not completely waterproof: excessive moisture can cause contraction and expansion issues. There is also potential problematics if seams between linoleum sheets or tiles are not expertly welded to keep the joins watertight.
You can add an acrylic sealant to linoleum to improve its water resistance performance; however, note that you will need to reapply the sealant every 6-12 months.
Overall, since there are several other great bathroom flooring options, Home Flooring Pros would not recommend linoleum flooring for especially humid areas such as bathrooms. Installing linoleum in a bathroom could also void its warranty, so double check with the manufacturer for their installation guidelines.
Unlike with vinyl flooring (where the thicker the wear layer the better), there isn’t a wear layer on linoleum, but rather a finishing top coat that usually has been designed for added protection. You can check that your linoleum flooring has a decent finishing coat if the product guide does not specify any further polymer sealant requirements after installation.
Most reputable linoleum manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty for residential use.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, linoleum is one of the best composite flooring options in terms of the environment. The materials used to make it are natural, renewable and recyclable.
Linoleum also is both anti-microbial and anti-static. This makes it resistant to mildew and mold and easy to keep dust-free: ideal if you have allergies or are asthmatic.
Finally, top level manufacturers, such as Forbo, are now committed to CO2 neutral manufacturing of their linoleum lines – even better news for the planet!
Linoleum used to have a reputation as having designs that were more suitable to commercial spaces: utilitarian, monochrome looks, perhaps with a slight speckle.
But today linoleum is being produced as a clear competitor for many residential flooring products, and there is a much broader range of designs and styles to choose from, including terrazzo styles, faux wood planks and faux marbled tiles.
It is true that these faux wood/ marble options do not have the same high-definition visuals of vinyl flooring and are not nearly detailed enough to mimic the real deal; but they have their own charm and other useful properties mentioned above that make them worth considering.
Radiant heating? Basements?
Most linoleum flooring products can be used over radiant heating, but check with the manufacturer for precise guidelines regarding maximum temperatures and installation requirements.
As with bathrooms, rooms that are below grade can be prone to humidity and moisture issues, therefore Home Flooring Pros does not recommend linoleum for basements.
Linoleum is known for being extremely low maintenance. Scroll down for all our tips for keeping your linoleum looking great. And to ensure that you’re getting the most low-maintenance type of linoleum, check with the manufacturer that the top coat is UV-cured and that there is no need for sealant to be applied after installation.
Buying Guide Faq’s
Q: What is Linoleum made of?
A: Linoleum flooring is an all-natural floor covering made primarily from oxidised linseed oil mixed with pine resin, wood flour and other mineral fillers such as cork dust, saw dust, ground limestone and calcium carbonate.
Q: What are the advantages of linoleum over vinyl flooring?
A: There are a few worth pointing out. First, linoleum is a natural product while vinyl is synthetic. Linoleum is hypoallergenic and antibacterial. It is also recyclable. For these reasons, linoleum is a better choice in day-cares, medical settings and for those with allergies.
Q: Is Marmoleum the same thing as linoleum?
A: Marmoleum is the same thing as linoleum. Marmoleum is a linoleum flooring brand manufactured by flooring company Forbo. Think of Marmoleum as the modern face of lino!
Q: Is asbestos an issue with linoleum flooring?
A: Asbestos was added to vinyl and linoleum flooring products in the past as a fireproofing material but as the dangers of asbestos became clear this practise ceased and you don’t need to worry about asbestos in any modern flooring retailing today.
Q: Can you paint over Linoleum?
A: Removing linoleum flooring can be a drag, if you’re bored with the look of your lino flooring but aren’t in a position to replace it with new flooring then painting over it is an option. You just need to prep the surface of the floor so that the paint you use will adhere to the surface.
Q: Is Vinyl the Same as Linoleum?
A: Linoleum and vinyl are absolutely not the same thing, although aesthetically some vinyl and linoleum can look similar. While Linoleum is made from all-natural materials vinyl is purely synthetic.
LINOLEUM FLOORING BUYING GUIDE SUMMARY
- Linoleum is one of the best flooring products for the environment, made of renewable and recyclable materials.
- Linoleum is a great option if you have allergies or asthma as it is anti-microbial and anti-static.
- Top coat layers today make linoleum even more resilient and durable – it can last up to 25 years or more.
- Linoleum is not totally waterproof, so not the best option for bathrooms or basements.
LINOLEUM FLOORING PRICES & BRANDS
Linoleum flooring is not as widely available as other resilient options such as vinyl, so it has a somewhat narrower price range between $3 – $8 per square foot.
LINOLEUM FLOORING VS VINYL, LAMINATE AND OTHER FLOORING
In comparison to other types of flooring, linoleum is in the mid-range, comparing favorably against the majority of vinyl flooring ranges, hardwood flooring and some types of natural stone flooring; linoleum however is pricier than laminate.
Here’s a comparison chart for linoleum against other types of flooring. Note that these prices do not include installation (see below).
TYPE OF FLOORING
PRICE PER SQUARE FOOT
|Linoleum||$3 – $8|
|Bamboo||$3 – $9|
|Carpet (wall to wall)||$1 – $20|
|Ceramic tile||$0.50 – $15|
|Concrete||$0.60 – $2|
|Cork||$3 – $12|
|Hardwood – solid||$1 – $18|
|Hardwood – engineered||$3 – $16|
|Laminate||$0.70 – $5|
|Natural stone – slate||$3 – $15|
|Natural stone – marble (basic range)||$4 – $15|
|Natural stone – marble (top range)||$10 – $45|
|Rubber||$1 – $15|
|Vinyl – Sheet||$0.60 – $5|
|Vinyl – Luxury vinyl tile (LVT)||$1 – $7|
|Vinyl – Composite (aka rigid core, WPC / SPC)||$2 – $12|
As mentioned above, linoleum sheet is best installed by a pro, and even though glue down tiles and click lock linoleum planks can be done by a proficient DIYer, you may still wish to go with a pro to ensure that subfloor preparation, underlayment and such are done correctly and efficiently.
You can expect to pay between $2 to $5 per square foot for linoleum flooring installation (roughly the same as vinyl). However, installation rates will vary according to your project specifications and location, so for a tailored quote we recommend you click here.
BEST LINOLEUM FLOORING BRANDS
As linoleum has become less popular over the years, there are fewer manufacturers making it, so the choice is not vast. However, the brands that do make linoleum today are known for manufacturing very good products.
One of the best-known brands is Forbo Marmoleum. Forbo has been making linoleum for over 150 years, are global leaders in producing commercial grade linoleum and are at the forefront of contemporary developments such as the click lock linoleum that is more suitable for residential use.
In fact, Forbo really dominates flooring retail for residential linoleum. Forbo linoleum flooring retails for between $3 – $4 per square foot for their sheet versions and between $3 – $7 per square foot for their clock lock tiles.
Other linoleum brands to note are Nova Distinctive Floors, Gerflor Lino Art, Armstrong Marmorette, Tarkett and Johnsonite Harmonium (now part of the Tarkett Group).
However, most of these other brands are increasingly making linoleum floors that are reserved for commercial use only.
Q: Where can I buy Linoleum?
A: These days the question really is where can I buy Marmoleum. As the most popular brand for residential linoleum flooring, Forbo’s Marmoleum can be purchased from local independent flooring retailers, online from eco friendly building supply stores like www.greenbuildingsupply.com and www.greengoodsusa.com, as well as the big box DIY store Lowe’s.
LINOLEUM FLOORING INSTALLATION GUIDE
Linoleum flooring has a reputation for being tricky to install, but there have been some product developments in the industry that challenge that idea. Let’s have a closer look.
IS INSTALLING LINOLEUM FLOORING A DIY JOB?
The basic answer is that it depends, firstly on the type of linoleum and secondly on the level of DIY skills you have.
We would not recommend a DIYer attempt to install linoleum sheet, unless you are very experienced in cutting negative space to lay sheet around doorframes and any other permanent structures (for example pillars).
Also, where two linoleum sheets meet each other, you will need to do a process called welding to bind the two pieces together to create seamless coverage. Welding linoleum is a specialist job that takes some practice to get right.
However, if you are opting for linoleum glue down tile or linoleum click lock planks, then proficient DIYers should not encounter too many difficulties. Be careful to follow manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, especially in the preparation of the subfloor.
LINOLEUM FLOORING INSTALLATION METHODS AND TIPS
Subfloor preparation: All floors need good, clean, dry and even subfloors and linoleum is no exception. Any irregularities in the subfloor will translate to the linoleum, so be sure to follow all installation instructions in this regard. With linoleum sheet and glue down tiles, you’re going to apply adhesive to the subfloor, so pay particular attention to getting the subfloor super clean and dry before you begin.
Existing subfloor and underlayment: Linoleum can be installed on most hard surface subfloors and often plywood sheet is an effective underlayment. It is not recommended to install linoleum over oriented strand board or particle board. For floating floors, you may wish to add a sound reducing foam underlayment.
Vapor barrier: Vapor barriers are usually recommended with most resilient flooring. Often polyethylene sheeting and/or foam is recommended for click lock floating floors. Check with your linoleum manufacturer for exact details according to their product guidelines.
Acclimation: All linoleum flooring should be acclimated at a temperature of at least 18°C for at least 48 hours before installation; any adhesives should similarly be allowed to acclimate for at least 24 hours.
Installing click lock linoleum flooring as floating floor: As with all floating floors, you’ll need to assure that there is an expansion gap of 10mm around the wall perimeter and other non-movable items such as pillars and door frames. For rooms exceeding 100m2 you will need a specific dilation transition strip to avoid buckling.
Installing glue down linoleum flooring: We recommend that you install glue down tiles in sections. Always use the adhesive that is recommended by the manufacturer. Adhesive is applied to the subfloor in an even layer, the adhesive must cure for a set time and then tiles are then laid in place, excess adhesive is wiped away and then a roller is used to ensure adhesion. It’s crucial that you only spread enough adhesive that can then be covered in the set timeframe as specified by the adhesive guidelines: you don’t want to spread too much adhesive and for it to dry out before being able to lay down the tile!
Installing sheet linoleum: The method is theoretically similar for sheet linoleum as for linoleum glue down tiles, but clearly, you’re working with a much larger piece of linoleum over a greater surface area, so it pays to know exactly how to do it! You will also need to scribe the sheet to fit the room, and you may need to undercut seams and weld sheets together – these are all specialist skills and not recommended for novice DIYers.
How to cut linoleum flooring: Click lock linoleum flooring is generally backed onto MDF board, so you’ll need a standard jigsaw for cutting planks to size. Linoleum tiles and sheet can be cut with a decent utility knife.
LINOLEUM INSTALLATION FAQS
Q: How do you remove old linoleum flooring?
A: If you are removing glued down linoleum rolls or tiles you have a challenging job ahead of you. Please read our removing linoleum post.
Q: Can you lay tile or other flooring over linoleum
A: You can install other types of flooring over your old linoleum if you wish. Bear in mind that when you install a new floor over an old one you bare raising the height of the floor which may cause issues with baseboards and door clearances.
LINOLEUM FLOORING MAINTENANCE
Like vinyl, linoleum flooring has a great advantage of being very low maintenance.
Note that, of the different types of linoleum, linoleum sheet is the lowest maintenance as there are no joins where grit can get trapped.
But even if you opt for linoleum tiles or planks, you’ll still be able to keep your floor looking great by following these top tips:
- Do not wet clean a newly installed linoleum floor for at least 3 days, to allow it to settle and acclimate to your home environment.
- Do not use any abrasive powders, high pH chemicals, abrasive mops or scratch pads.
- Regular sweeping or vacuuming followed by mopping using a neutral floor cleaner is all that is needed.
- Mop up spills and stains quickly, again using a neutral floor cleaner if needed.
- You can periodically spray buff using a rotary machine to keep the floor glossy (check with manufacturer for exact rotary machine and buffer pad requirements).
- Linoleum is relatively soft, so use protective felt pads on chairs and tables, and consider soft castor wheels for heavy furniture that needs to be moved.
- Door mats at your front door and rugs on areas of high traffic are recommended to stop dirt being tracked onto your floor.
- A neutral floor cleaner mixed with lukewarm water will deal with most everyday food stains, such as chocolate, grease, egg, or coffee.
- Use cleaner’s white spirits for oil, rubber marks, tar/ bitumen and soot.
- Chewing-gum should be hardened with a cold spray or ice-cube and then gently scraped off
- If you get rust marks on linoleum you can clean it using oxalic or citric acid mixed with lukewarm water.
Q: Are there any cleaners you should not use on linoleum flooring?
A: Yes. Do not use vinegar or ammonia as these can strip the surface finish from your linoleum.
LINOLEUM FLOORING CONCLUSIONS
Whilst linoleum flooring isn’t probably the first thing that comes to mind for your home, it’s certainly worth a closer look.
We at Home flooring Pros are particularly impressed with its eco-credentials which really cannot be matched by any other composite flooring product. If you are looking to really prioritize environmentally-friendly products in your home, then linoleum is a clear winner.
And though the available ranges for residential use are limited, what is available is actually quite attractive. Linoleum – with its sleek homogenous texture – is especially suited to today’s focus on minimalist and clutter free design.
The added bonus is how easy it is to keep clean and maintain: ideal for busy households.
Unfortunately, linoleum still has the reputation of being more of a commercial flooring product, and has neither the popularity of contemporary resilient vinyl flooring, nor the cachet of traditional flooring options such as hardwood or natural stone. It is therefore a risky option if you’re looking to increase value in your home or for a flooring that has universal appeal.