Flooring Options Marmoleum vs. Vinyl ECC Remodeling

Flooring Options Marmoleum vs. Vinyl ECC Remodeling

Flooring Options: Marmoleum vs. Vinyl

Posted on April 7, 2011 | Comments Off

I often get asked about using Marmoleum instead of vinyl in kitchens and bathrooms.  The terms get interchanged by many and rarely do my customers know the basic differences.

Marmoleum is a great product that will last decades with little to no maintenance, other than a mopping. There is a sealer for it (like wax) and it can be refinished to maintain its long-term beauty. The color goes completely through top to bottom so when its scratched youll feel it but it wont stand out like vinyl which is a color layer on top of a backing.  Marmoleum isnt very flexible and can crack easily during installation.  The basic pattern is limited but the colors are wide and very vivid and it can be installed with incredible inlays and detail.  Installation can be tricky and I always defer to a professional.  Certified Marmoleum installers are called master mechanics and theyre hard to find.  Many others can install Marmoleum but likely dont understand the unique properties or have the knowledge to make an install that will last the fifty years the product is designed to do.

Marmoleum is a premium floor covering with corresponding cost.  Forbo (the maker of Marmoleum) introduced a new thinner line (only a couple of millimeters thick), but it still ranges from $32-$38 per square yard before install.  This doesnt include the special glue required for the product or waste from an install.  Assume youll have approximately 10% waste with any floor installation.  Waste is the small pieces that are strips or pieces that dont work for installing by themselves.  Since the width of the product is less than an average room (it comes 6-1 to 6-9 wide), youll almost always have a seam somewhere.  Installation can cost from $30-$60 per square yard so, this is not an inexpensive floor covering.  But when looking at its longevity, the cost per year of use can be less than some vinyls.  Its meant to last a lifetime (40+ years) and give unique, beautiful and durable design options.  If you want to see this product installed, go to almost any commercial building and look down.  If its not carpet or concrete, its likely marmoleum.

Flooring Options Marmoleum vs. Vinyl ECC Remodeling

Is it a green(environmentally and/or sustainable) product? Yes.  Is the manufacturing process green?  Mostly, but toxins are produced and much of it is shipped long distances. The flooring industry is working hard to produce this product with the smallest environmental impact possible.  My installer will eat a piece of it to prove the greeness of it (no, he doesnt have brain damage).  Its primarily made from linseed oil, vegetable oils and limestone on a jute backing.

Vinyl or sheet vinyl on the other hand is pretty durable with 10, 15, 20 year and even longer wear layers.  Vinyl is made from multiple layers consisting of foam, color/pattern and wear surface (clear). Installation is inexpensive as the under layer is simple particle board and the glue is readily available at most hardware stores. Is it green? This is a tough question. There are so many manufacturers (Shaw, Mannington, Armstrong and Congoleum to name a few) and variables, that is is hard to answer yes. Todays vinyl floors are beautiful, durable and surprisingly affordable.  Costs range from $.60 to $50 per square yard.  Yes, I did mean sixty cents.  This is very poor quality and is meant to be changed after a very short period of time like at trade shows, temporary housing, or even short term apartments.  A typical cost in a residential remodeling project is $22 per square yard plus install.  Its very forgiving material, comes commonly in either 12 or 15 wide pieces and costs around $10 a square yard to install.  That makes it a great choice  for many bathrooms, kitchens, recreation rooms and the like.  Its warmer than tile, much cheaper than wood and when the color or pattern goes out of style, you dont have massive guilt tearing it out because you didnt spend a fortune installing it.

The answer to the question what material should I install? is; design, cost and personal choices.  There are rarely absolutes in building/remodeling.


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