Linoleum is one of the oldest floor types that have stood the test of time. It’s been around for more than a century gracing homes and commercial properties. Its popularity slightly declined in the 60s when vinyl first appeared on the market. At that time, linoleum was more expensive compared to the newly invented vinyl. But that’s not so anymore. The modern linoleum is less costly, brighter, more durable and highly versatile, thanks to the new innovative techniques used to make it. This type of floor is gradually gaining ground to become a popular option among homeowners, and our reviews come to show you why this is happening.
If you’re thinking of installing one yourself, you’ve come just at the right moment. Read the guide below to base your choice from an informed view. It contains everything that’s necessary to know about linoleum flooring. At the end, you will be in a better position to decide if you still want to install the floor. If you opt for it, you will have adequate information to help you pick the most appropriate linoleum for your situation.
To start us off, here are the advantages of linoleum flooring:
The durability of linoleum is outstanding. It’s among the most long-lasting floors you can ever have in your home. Manufacturers are even comfortable backing their linoleum floors with 25-year warranties. This should give you an idea of the level of durability to expect if you happen to install it in your home. And we are talking about lifespans of between 30 and 40 years which is way higher than that of most popular flooring types. However, the durability of linoleum flooring is only guaranteed if you maintain it properly. Poor care practices could see its life reduce drastically.
Ensure you do not subject the floor to situations that lead to damage. They include dragging furniture over it, wearing stilettos while walking on it, dropping sharp objects and more. Remove spills while still fresh and seal scratches and gouges before they get deeper. Carry out regular resealing, and ensure low humidity in your home. Most importantly, it may help a lot to buy pricier flooring that will perform better.
Linoleum has the bounce characteristic of soft floors. Walking or standing on it feels more comfortable than when done on hard floors such as tile. You won’t feel pressure on the feet as to cause discomfort. Linoleum is usually the floor of choice for areas that involve a lot of standing such as the kitchen. The resiliency will provide a floor soft enough to prevent feet numbness or aches.
The patterns, colors, and designs the floor can exist in are numerous. Linoleum can be made to replicate hardwood, stone, and other designs. Compared to different floor types with limited variations, linoleum is more preferable. With the range of choices, it’s unlikely that you will lack a floor that appeals to your taste and preference.
By choosing linoleum flooring, you can have a hardwood look-alike at a lower cost, allowing you a stylish home without spending a lot of money. Because you can choose the replica to buy, you may want to purchase a design that mimics the most expensive flooring.
Easy to cut into beautiful patterns
Being a resilient floor, linoleum is easy to cut. You can make a pattern of your choice during installation since it doesn’t require much labor to do so. It’s the reason why most of this flooring will have beautifully crafted mosaic designs. If you’re artistically gifted, you can make use of your talent to create a floor pattern that will make your home more attractive. Or you could seek the help of a professional installer to suggest a pattern.
A greener option
If you care about the environment or your health, linoleum should be among your top flooring considerations. The floor is one of the greenest options available, made from all-natural products. Linseed oil, wood flour, natural resins, ground Cork dust, and several other natural materials are used to make linoleum flooring. No harmful chemicals are involved, and your floor installation will not emit the toxic formaldehyde and VOCs found in other types of floors. It makes linoleum a flooring product that’s safe enough to be used in a home. At the end of its life, linoleum will not harm the environment when thrown away. It’s entirely biodegradable, rotting away over time. It can even be used to make compost! Some processes will also make discarded linoleum to be useful. They include burning it to produce heat energy and recycling.
Does not cause indoor air pollution
Because linoleum flooring does not contain toxic chemicals, it won’t pollute your home environment with harmful fumes. It’s a safe floor if you’re susceptible to an allergic condition that would be triggered by VOCs. The only concern you may find with linoleum is the emission of linseed fumes in the first few days after installation. You need not worry, though. The odor is harmless. Besides, it goes away after one week, leaving your floor concern-free.
Anti-static and anti-microbial
Linoleum flooring is anti-static. Apart from protecting you from unpleasant zaps, the anti-static property of the floor makes it not to accumulate dust. Linoleum doesn’t attract dust particles” magnetically” which allows all dust and other dirt to be removed entirely during cleaning. Linoleum flooring is also a bacterial repellent. The oxidation process of the linseed oil used to make it results in a material that does not allow bacteria to thrive. It means enhanced hygiene and a healthier family when you have this floor in your home.
Linoleum is a low-cost option that gives you a quality floor without requiring you to dig deeper into your pocket. A square foot costs you between $4 and $7 on average, which is quite affordable. Considering the durability you stand to get from the floor, this prices is much on the lower end, and among the fairest you can get. The variety of designs available for you to choose also make linoleum an affordable floor that gives you value for money.
Linoleum is a great floor, but that doesn’t mean that it’s perfect all the way. It comes with various disadvantages, which include the following.
Despite the durability it guarantees you, linoleum is easily damaged. The softness of the sheets makes the floor susceptible to scratches, gouges, and pricks. You will drop a sharp object on the floor, and it will puncture, leaving an unpleasant appearance. You will walk on it in high heels, and it becomes dented. To avoid all these from happening, make use of preemptive measures. Lift heavy furniture pieces when shifting their positions in your home. Avoid the use of stiletto heels when indoors, and take care not to place sharp things where they can fall to the floor.
Most modern linoleum will often come already sealed. The sealer offers surface wear protection which acts to prevent minor damages. For improved protection, re-polish your linoleum floor often.
There’s one thing about this floor that’s worth mentioning, though. Although it’s easily gouged or scratched, the damage is not as noticeable as with most other floors. The color of linoleum flooring goes all through the thickness. As a result, imperfections are less conspicuous since no layer of a different color gets exposed. Applying a filler helps to conceal damage even better. To fill scratches and other types of damage, sand down or grind a spare piece of linoleum flooring into a powder. Mix with glue, and apply the resulting paste on the affected part. It will help hide the appearance of wear. This property of linoleum to give better results when repaired is one of the reasons many home owners prefer it.
Damaged by light or its absence
Exposure to direct sunlight causes the color of linoleum flooring to appear faded. However, the floor would need to be exposed to the light for long hours to result in a noticeable change. It’s also a temporary fading that disappears once the exposure is no more. Besides, such conditions are uncommon since most of the flooring will be installed indoors.
Another effect on this type of floor is known a blooming. It’s caused by situations where light is blocked entirely, creating dark conditions. The situations include areas of the floor that are underneath items such as furniture. Also, areas that are covered by mats for long. Should you decide to shift the furniture or rugs, you will find the covered areas to have turned a yellowish color.
Linoleum is water resistant. However, it isn’t impervious to water and will absorb moisture with time. This happens when the floor loses the protective sealer and can cause irreparable damage. Linoleum also tends to trap moisture underneath the subfloor, especially if the subfloor is concrete. This leads to harm for both the linoleum and the floor beneath. Linoleum flooring that has absorbed moisture over time will have its expansion and contraction become inconsistent. As a result, you may have a floor that’s warped or buckled. The linoleum sheets or planks may also loosen, affecting the floor’s stability.
If you’re working with tile linoleum, ensure the subfloor is free of moisture and dirt, so the tiles adhere firmly without leaving room for moisture to build up. You would also do well to avoid installing linoleum flooring on concrete. Concrete causes moisture to accumulate and get into the floor leading to damage.
Coated with enough sealer linoleum flooring will not soak in moisture. Ensure you re-polish your floor regularly, and moisture damage will be unheard of.
Requires a professional installer
For people who are enthusiastic with DIY projects, linoleum may not present as an exciting option. While the installation won’t be entirely anti-DIY, it’s often better if done by a professional. This is because installing most linoleum floor varieties requires the use of adhesives. Adhesives can be pretty tricky to work with, especially if you’ve not used them before. Moreover, the cutting of linoleum sheets is better left to the skilled. A do-it-yourself approach could see you damage most sheets while cutting them to fit spaces. Or, you may end up with wrong measurements that leave glaring gaps.
No home value increase
Being an inexpensive floor, linoleum won’t increase your home’s resale value. This investment benefits you only, and may not be a good choice if you plan to sell your home in the future. A home appraisal exercise will also not result in a higher value for the linoleum floor. In short, this floor is an excellent choice, but not to help increase the price of your home. That doesn’t mean that linoleum flooring is not worth installing. The benefits you stand to gain from having it are many on other fronts.
Requires frequent resealing
Linoleum is porous, and standing water can soak into it quickly. But that can only happen is the sealer has worn away. Because you cannot always avoid water on the surface of your floor, you will need to apply a new sealer often.
As a precaution, avoid situations where the floor is exposed to a lot of water such as in the bathroom or basement. Wipe excess water off the floor’s surface once you’re done cleaning it. You can also opt for damp-mopping as a way to clean the floor without using too much liquid. Having enough sealer, on the other hand, should give you peace of mind concerning water damage. This is because linoleum that’s fully protected won’t allow water to seep in.
Types of linoleum floors
Linoleum exists as either sheet, tile or click-lock floating floors:
This is the most common type of linoleum flooring. It also comes in a wider range of colors and designs, which explains its popularity with many homeowners. You can buy this type of linoleum as rolls from which to cut the sheets. Sheets can be pretty wide, measuring up to 6 feet. This makes this variety challenging to install, often requiring a professional for better results. Installation of sheet linoleum also requires the use of adhesives which makes it a complicated process.
Tile linoleum floors offer the stylish look of tiles, making them a low-cost alternative to the expensive ceramic or stone tiles. Linoleum tiles can be of different sizes, with the most common being the 12″ by 18″ variety. You can install this type of linoleum over an existing floor provided the subfloor is uniformly even and stable. It, at times, comes with a backing of adhesive to make installation easier.
This floor usually features pieces that are similar to those of vinyl or laminate floor types. If you’re planning to install your flooring without the help of a professional, this type would make a perfect choice. It comes in an easy-to-install system that involves click-locking the pieces together. Also, no glue is usually required to install the floor, making it DIY-able.
How to choose the right linoleum floor
Besides quality and pricing, other factors dictate the type of flooring you will choose to install in your home. They are:
Level of traffic
Areas with high-foot traffic will require a floor that can withstand the beating. For assured durability, you would have no option but to go for the thicker linoleum with a tough wear surface. This will cost you more, but it’s inevitable unless you want to replace the floor sooner than you expected.
Colors and patterns
You will need to choose colors that match the decor of your home. Also, the furnishings you already have or plan to have. You don’t want the linoleum flooring you choose to appear out of place when already installed. Only you know the type of ambiance you want to achieve in your home. You know the colors that please you most. Being your home, you wouldn’t want to have anything that doesn’t appeal to your eyes. Unless you’re unsure of which pattern or color looks best, always go for the design of your taste.
A floor that suits the living room may not do well in the conditions of the bathroom. Take this into consideration, and choose a floor that can withstand the conditions better.
If your home is prone to high humidity levels, it would be unwise to choose a cheap floor. It will get damaged by moisture easily and cause you unnecessary losses. You may have to pay more for better quality flooring, but it’s better than having to replace a damaged floor.
Children and pets
Choose thicker and well more sealed linoleum that can withstand scratches and staining if you have pets and children in your home. It will save you situations where you’re ever repairing the floor.
Linoleum pricing guide
The cost of linoleum floors depends on several factors. They include the intricacy of the design or pattern, the type or variety, and the style. Floors with vibrant colors, intricate patterns and those that are thicker will cost more. The price guide is as follows.
$3-$6 per square foot
The floors in this price range will have fewer patterns and are made of thinner material. Their quality is also on the lower end, so they are more prone to staining. The floors are also lighter.
$6-$9 per square foot
This is the mid-price for linoleum flooring, and the pieces in this range are a bit thicker with a more cushiony feel. The design of the floors in this category is more intricate and visually attractive.
$9-$14 per square foot
The floors here are more costly but quality. The bounce is more noticeable owing to the thicker construction. The flooring in this price range resist staining better, and the patterns are more elaborate. Expect these floors to be extremely durable and resist damage better.
Linoleum pricing is based on a floor’s quality. The higher the price, the higher the quality. If your budget allows it, don’t hesitate to go for the costly options. It will see your floor serve you for years.
Budgeting for your linoleum project
After picking the floor in the price range that suits your budget, let’s now look at what to include in your cost estimation. Here are the costs to budget for:
- Labor expenses which will depend on the size of the area to be covered by the floor. Installation per square foot can be as low as $1 to as high as $5. This is an estimate only as prices will vary depending on the installer’s rates and the geographic location. Rates will also vary according to how easy or difficult the installation is.
- The cost of the materials involved in the whole process from beginning to end. They include supplies such as adhesives and tools needed to carry out the installation.
- The cost of removing the previous floor if there was any. You may eliminate this cost from your budget estimate by opting to do the removal yourself.
- The cost of disposing of the unused materials after installation. This is a minor cost, especially if the area involved is small. You may also choose to do the work yourself.
Situations that increase installation costs
When budgeting for your linoleum flooring project, you would need to be aware of the situations that inflate the budget. They include;
- The condition of the subfloor – Linoleum tiles require the subfloor to be adequately prepared. It should be uniformly even, free of dust or debris, and completely dry. If that’s not the case, it may need a lot of work to prepare the floor which would cause expenses to increase.
- The complexity of installation – Installation complexity could cause delays in completing the project. Too much cutting that involves a lot of measuring can make the work take longer and cost you more. Expect open places to be easier to floor and narrow areas to present the most difficulty.
- Type of floor being installed – Floating floors are easy to install and take a shorter time. You can even do it yourself and save yourself from incurring installation costs. On the other hand, tile and sheet linoleum require more labor and take longer to finish installing. If yours is the tile or sheet variety, be prepared to pay more for the extended time it will take your installer to complete the work.
Linoleum installation methods
Linoleum floors are usually installed in two ways; using either the glue-down or click-lock method.
This method is used to lay sheet and tile linoleum flooring. The use of glue results in a firm, stable floor that can withstand foot traffic. This way of installing linoleum is better done by an expert rather than use the DIY way.
It’s used to lay floating type of floors that don’t use any adhesives whatsoever. The method is simple, and the do-it-yourself approach suits it. If you’re working with a budget that cannot be stretched, the click-lock way would save you a lot. Paying your installer on an hourly basis won’t cost you much either since they will not take long to finish.
Tips when installing your linoleum floor
Because you want your new flooring to be perfect in every aspect, it’s essential to follow the right installation procedures and practices. Here are tips to ensure excellent results.
- Acclimate the linoleum flooring before installation. Leave it in the area to be covered for at least a day for it to get used to the conditions
- If using glue to install, use the same kind to ensure uniformity
- Only roll out your linoleum sheets when ready
- Prepare the subfloor before installation. Sweep it to remove dirt and other debris. You can also vacuum it. Ensure it’s level, stable and moisture-free. Sand down raised areas before starting the installation. Concrete floors will specifically need thorough preparation because of the danger they present to linoleum
- Should you require an underlayment, use plywood that’s appropriate for use as a linoleum floor backing. If you opt for hardboard, ensure it’s the right type that suits the specific application Use a plastic barrier to prevent moisture from reaching the linoleum flooring. Ensure it’s between 4 and 6 millimeters in thickness for adequate protection. Alternatively, you may use paint to provide the required waterproofness
Linoleum brand reviews
You’re now ready to pick your linoleum flooring. Because of the many products available, you may want to know what brands are worth buying. So, here we go.
This floor is available in over 40 different colors to choose from. The rolls are 6 feet wide and feature a marble style. Prices range from $8-$10 for each square foot which is about the mid-price of linoleum. This collection will give you a stylish and durable floor at a cost that’s affordable. It comes with a warranty covering 15 years. You can bet on the quality of this product, seeing that it comes from Armstrong, one of the big names in the business of manufacturing linoleum floors.
This linoleum collection features 6 varieties that are designed for areas with high foot traffic. Rolls range from 6 inches in width while tiles measure 12 and 24 square inches. The cost per square foot is between $3-$5, with a warranty covering 5 years. Coming from a world-renowned manufacturer, this collection’s floors are guaranteed of quality. They resist wear better and are more durable for the price. You will get the design of your choice in addition to getting a floor that won’t cost you a lot of money. You can even get it at a lower price than this if you happen to make a purchase when the company is offering discounts.
If you’re looking for a flooring that’s made by the world’s most popular manufacturer, this brand is the one to go for. Forbo is the leader in the linoleum flooring industry, holding as much as 60% share of the market. The company had been in the business of making flooring products for years, building a reputation to emerge as a respected manufacturer. The floor comes in 44 colors and different sizes to choose from. Prices per square foot range from $4-$6 for tile flooring while rolls go for $6-$7 for every square foot. The product comes with a residential warranty that covers 25 years.
Johnsonite XF2 Harmonium
Built for commercial places that experience more beating, this floor is also appropriate for residential floors. The rolls come in widths of 6 feet with five different variations available. They include Veneto Acoustoflor, which is a marble style available in 62 colors. Then there’s Etrusco, a floor that features 5 different tones. The Tonali floor comes in 15 colors, and Lenza 11. Prices for this line of linoleum flooring average between $8-$11. It’s a bit on the higher end. But then, the floor’s quality is equally high. It comes backed by a warranty that covers 5 years.
Caring for your linoleum floor
Your linoleum flooring will not need a lot from you regarding maintenance. However, that doesn’t allow you to neglect it. The floor will still require your daily care to ensure it remains clean and free from damage. To help keep your linoleum floor looking great, always sweep it daily to remove dust and debris. You could also vacuum it. To wash it clean, use materials that will not harm the protective layer. Avoid harsh chemicals such as ammonia-based cleaners that could cause the finish to erode.
Avoid using too much water when cleaning the floor as it can have detrimental effects by causing damage to the linoleum. Damp-mop it to ensure no excess water stands on the surface for longer than is safe. During cold weathers when the floor takes time to dry, you can use a well-wrung mop or piece of cloth to wipe excess water off the surface. Repair scratches and other forms of damage before they become too noticeable. You can buy a repair kit or use a home-made one for this. Some floors will require frequent refinishing. Ensure you do it without fail.
Linoleum is a versatile floor that offers you the best of both worlds. It can give your home the look of a hardwood floor but the feel of a resilient one. It can replicate the most expensive hardwood while offering the bounce of rubber. The best thing about linoleum flooring is that you won’t spend a fortune to get all the benefits it comes with.
Should you choose to install linoleum, make sure the style and type of floor you decide on is right for your situation. If under a tight budget, go for the floating floor type, and of moderate thickness. The price range will be within your ability, and you will get quality flooring. Installing the floating type will cost you less, plus you can opt to install it yourself and save more.