Linoleum has graced floors of homes and buildings ever since the mid-19th century. Invented and patented in 1863 in response to the need for flooring that was both easy to maintain and inexpensive to produce, today, after half a century of competing with vinyl flooring, it is experiencing a resurgence in popularity as an eco-friendly flooring.
What is linoleum?
Linoleum is considered one of the most environmentally-friendly flooring materials. Made from natural materials--linseed oil, recycled wood flour, resins, cork dust and limestone--linoleum flooring is biodegradable and naturally antibacterial (one reason it is so popular in hospitals and schools). Sometimes confused with its synthetic rival, vinyl flooring, the two are very different. Vinyl is made from chlorinated petrochemicals. About the only thing these two flooring materials have in common is that they are both sold in sheets and tiles. However, linoleum is stiffer than vinyl flooring and must be installed with adhesive. Trickier to work with than vinyl, linoleum sheets should be installed professionally.
Economical linoleum flooring
Typically, linoleum flooring costs between $2 and $3 per square foot. Installation adds a bit to the cost, but because linoleum is less labor intensive than other flooring types--such as tile or hardwood flooring--professional installation will not add too much to your bottom line.
Popular brands, styles and colors
While there are many manufacturers from which to choose, the following are popular brands with a wide selection of colors and styles:
Linoleum flooring comes in countless colors and styles. Some styles are solid, some are flecked with color, and others are patterned. Unlike vinyl, the color and pattern is not just in the top layer of material. As the material wears, new layers of color emerge over time. These colors add character and texture as they are revealed. Minimal maintenance is required to keep your linoleum floors looking fresh and new for decades.
Look for a manufacturer who offers bold, bright colors as well as neutral hues. Having the choice between contemporary colors and earth tones will help you pinpoint your own personal style and choose the best flooring to complement your home.
Linoleum has been a popular flooring choice for decades for many reasons, not the least of which is its strength and resilience. With proper maintenance, it is not unusual for a linoleum floor to last up to 30 or 40 years.
Maintaining linoleum is simple. Sweep, dust or vacuum the floors and then follow by mopping with water and a mild floor cleaner. Harsher cleaning solutions are not only unnecessary, but they may also damage the natural materials. Linoleum is actually made with minimal maintenance in mind.
How to buy linoleum and getting started
If you are ready to shop for linoleum, a professional contractor can answer questions and give you product and installation quotes. Fill out the form on this page or visit reliableremodeler.com or repair-home.com for tips on finding the best prices on products and installation.