Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum Flooring

If you find yourself in the market for something classic, something with style, then you might consider linoleum, which is different for vinyl. Linoleum has been popular for more than 150 years and today, is still a favorite choice for many people. Made from raw, natural materials, to include cork or wood powder, and ground limestone, linoleum is great in that it comes in beautiful colors.

Creating Linoleum

To create linoleum, all the ingredients are mixed, rolled out, and then designed with jute backing. Depending on the manufacturer, the thickness would vary. Interesting, for genuine linoleum, once rolled out, it must cure for up to 21 days. From there, cores are added to the material, which then makes it ready to be installed. This option is durable, and rich in color, perfect for many rooms of the home.

Polishing

Now, when you purchase genuine linoleum, it will not have any type of protective layer. For that reason, it must be polished, which will help prevent problems associated with staining. If you find your linoleum does become stained, it can be stripped and then the damaged area polished again. When linoleum is first installed, you would notice an odor, which actually come form the linseed oil. However, the odor is not harmful and it will wear off quickly.

Drying Process

You may or may not notice linoleum has a yellowish color after first being installed. Known as the drying process, this effect is perfectly natural and like the odor, will dissipate over time. For this reason, most manufactures recommend you take several samples home, allowing them to become accustomed to the room’s light so the decision you make is right for your style and decorum. Finally, while you can go with a one-piece sheet of linoleum, we suggest you stick with tile, which is more modern.

Colors and Designs

As you shop around for linoleum, you will be amazed at the unusual colors and patterns. Many styles have a wonderful flecked design, which is gorgeous. Because of the wide range of colors and patterns, you can choose something understated, or go with a unique, dramatic effect. Obviously, the benefit here is that the design would work with any room, meaning you could transform the kitchen, living room, or even a bedroom from drab to fantastic.

Care and Cleaning

To protect linoleum, it is important that you keep it polished. Remember, this material is a no-wax floor. In addition, if you want, you can use below grade linoleum, which works well. However, we highly discourage this over concrete due to potential for excessive moisture. Finally, if you plan to install linoleum in the bathroom, it is important you pay close attention to what you buy. The reason is that some manufacturers will recommend linoleum, offering an excellent warranty, while others do not recommend it or provide a poor warranty.

Popularity

Linoleum is once again becoming a popular flooring material for a number of reasons. First, linoleum is gorgeous, available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures. Additionally, this type of flooring is strong and durable. Best of all, linoleum can easily last up to 40 years although to achieve this longevity, proper installation and maintenance are essential.

Wear

One of the best ways to keep your linoleum floor in tip-top condition is to keep it polished. With this, you can avoid stain damage. However, if for any reason your linoleum flooring should become stained, the good news is that damage can be fixed relatively easy. For this, you would simply strip the damaged area of the floor, and then apply polish again, which will help mask the area.

Without doubt, linoleum flooring offers one of the best wear layers of any material known due to the entire thickness being homogenous. In other words, unlike other types of flooring material, linoleum has color and pattern that goes completely through, not just on the surface. Because of this, if the floor were to become chipped, gouged, or just worn down due to daily wear and tear, you would still see color and/or pattern.

Warranties

In most cases, you will find linoleum manufacturers offering between five and 25 years for warranty. You can help your linoleum floor last long by sweeping, mopping with a neutral pH floor cleaner, using only what the manufacturers recommends, and keeping the floor polished. Remember, this particular material is porous. Therefore, it has to be polished occasionally, helping to retain the floor’s beauty while also giving the linoleum a protective layer.

Typically, you can tell when it is time for your linoleum floor to be polished in that after giving it a good mopping, it will still have a dull appearance. Interestingly, you may find that only portions of the floor need a little TLC. For instance, areas of high traffic such as entry into the kitchen, a hallway, or entryway may need to be polished more often than your low traffic areas. Again, you can usually tell just by looking at the appearance and sheen.

Professional Installation

In most cases, linoleum should be installed by a professional. Unless you know how to install this flooring material and have the right tools, it is a job meant for the pros. The reason is that unlike vinyl and other types of flooring material, linoleum is much stiffer. For that reason, it requires skill in cutting and installation. Regardless, the key to a beautiful floor covered in linoleum is to start with a clean, smooth subfloor. Otherwise, you would end up with rippling and other unsightly problems.

Linoleum Flooring

Today’s Linoleum flooring isn’t your grandmother’s linoleum anymore! Linoleum today comes in a wide variety of great colors (not that icky green you may be thinking about!).

Made from natural products, today’s linoleum has been given new life. It has an appealing combination of durability and beauty. Modern linoleum comes in a variety of patterns and colors. The color in linoleum is diffused throughout the tiles, so it does not show wear and tear as readily as other flooring materials.

All-Natural Substance

Linoleum is made with all natural materials, including linseed oil, plant by-products and wood fibers. It is completely biodegradable, making it a favorite among environment-conscious homeowners. Linoleum is also completely hypoallergenic and is water, mold and bacteria-resistant. For this reason, it is most often used in kitchens, bathrooms and basements.

Suitability

Linoleum flooring is very hard, durable and long-lasting. It is most suitable for high-traffic areas and rooms where durability is paramount. Because of the hardness of linoleum, it is most often used in the kitchen. Basements and bathrooms are other popular places to have linoleum installed; its resistance to moisture and its durability makes it ideal for these purposes.

Do-It-Yourself

Linoleum flooring is a DIYer’s dream. It comes in either tiles or rolls. The tiles are the easiest to install, while the roll version requires a bit more precision. Some companies make the tiles so that they install by a click-and-lock mechanism. You can get pointers from a hardware store such as Home Depot; they’ll be happy to give you installation instructions. Linoleum tiles are also easy to repair when damaged. Simply use a bit of linoleum adhesive and some of the left over material from the installation.

Below are some key points to be aware of when installing linoleum flooring:

1. Use only adhesive made for linoleum.

2. Always buy more than you will need for the final floor, so you have leftover materials for any repairs.

3. Subfloor must be smooth, level and DRY.

4. If the subfloor is concrete, repair any cracks.

5. Use precision when cutting the linoleum flooring to fit around corners

6. Allow the floor to dry thoroughly before walking on it to prevent the tiles from shifting.

Maintenance

Grit is the enemy of linoleum so you must clean regularly. The good news is that it is so hard and resilient that linoleum is very easy to keep clean. Sweep and mop the floor regularly. You should mop the floor using household detergent. Many manufacturers also make cleaners specially designed for linoleum flooring such as:

  • Linoleum cleaner – used to clean thoroughly
  • Linoleum polisher – used to keep the linoleum shiny and new
  • Linoleum stripper – used to get deep into the crevices of the linoleum to remove tough grime

There are also products that you can purchase for no-wax floors, to keep your linoleum looking just like it did when you first installed it!

Advantages/Disadvantages of Linoleum Flooring

Disadvantages

  • Roll linoleum can be difficult to install
  • More expensive than vinyl flooring
  • Must be installed with precision
  • Can look dull if not cleaned regularly

Linoleum is made from all natural materials.

Linoleum Flooring

As long as the sun shines, and the rain falls, Linoleum can be produced.

Life-cycle assessment scores, show exceptional performance for Linoleum and it is nature that provides the great start by providing renewable raw materials.

To produce Linoleum oxidized linseed oil (or a combination of oxidized linseed oil and tall oil) and rosin are mixed with the other raw materials to form linoleum granules, which are pressed onto a jute backing, making Linoleum sheets. These are then hung in drying rooms to allow them to cure and to acquire the required flexibility and resilience. To achieve maximum waste reduction all linoleum remnants are recycled back into the production process. All manufacturing takes place in accordance with ISO 14001 standards.

The natural raw materials used to create Linoleum are available in abundance:

Linseed oil

Linseed oil, the most important raw material used to make linoleum, is obtained by pressing the seeds of the flax plant. In the past linseed oil was used as cooking oil, as well as for lighting. Tall oil, a recycled post-industrial by-product of the Kraft paper industry, is a resin based fatty acid. In combination with linseed oil, it optimizes the oxidation process in the production of linoleum.

Rosin

Rosin, the binding agent in Linoleum and Artoleum, is tapped from pine trees, without affecting growth. Together with linseed oil, rosin gives Linoleum and Artoleum its strength and flexibility.

Wood flour

Wood flour is used to bind the pigments and to ensure colorfastness. Linoleum and Artoleum thus keep their beautiful, vibrant colors throughout their lifespan. Another reason for using wood flour is that it helps to optimize a smooth surface. We have chosen not to use tropical hardwood flour but wood flour made from timber grown in controlled European forests, where every tree felled is replaced.

Cork flour

Cork flour is made by grinding the bark of the cork oak, which is grown around the Mediterranean. The bark is peeled every seven to ten years without affecting the tree’s growth. Cork flour is used as a raw material in two of our products: Bulletin Board and Corklinoleum.

Limestone

Limestone is found all over the world in enormous quantities. Very finely ground, it is a valuable ingredient of Linoleum and Artoleum.

Pigments

The most beautiful colors are created by using ecologically responsible pigments that do not contain heavy metals such as lead and cadmium.

Jute

From the wide variety of materials available for making the floor covering’s backing we prefer natural jute. The yarn for the webbing is spun from jute grown in India and Bangladesh. This also makes vital economic contributions to these developing countries.

These raw materials are harvested or extracted with relatively little energy consumption. The main energy resource for the process is the sun. The plants and trees that supply linoleum’s raw materials also contribute to the production of oxygen and the subsequent reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses present in the atmosphere.

Recycability

Linoleum Floors can be easily recycled.

End of life

Sooner or later — usually after around 25 to 40 years — Linoleum floors need to be replaced. Various options present themselves in terms of waste disposal.

Incineration

Burnt in an energy-recycling incineration plant, linoleum products produce a residual calorific value that is comparable to that of coal (18.6 Mj/kg). The amount of C02 released during incineration is roughly equivalent to that taken up by the natural raw materials used (flax plants, trees and jute plants).

Therefore, linoleum is a closed loop system: the energy obtained from incinerating linoleum is roughly equivalent to or even more than that which is used in production.

Landfill

As a common alternative to incineration, linoleum can be safely added to landfill refuse sites, where natural decomposition takes place. Linoleum is fully biodegradable and does not release harmful substances or gases such as chlorine and dioxins.

As linoleum’s raw materials are provided by nature, and decomposition returns linoleum to nature, this is essentially the ultimate form of recycling. An additional advantage is that the recycling of other floor coverings, is usually associated with high levels of energy consumption, with very negative implications in an accurate LCA.

Linoleum Flooring Installation

Being socially responsible also means being proactive. All GreenFloors adhesives are 100% solvent free and meet all low VOC requirements, optimizing the environmental performance of the entire system.

USE & MAINTENANCE

Linoleum Floor care

Linoleum floors can be kept in good condition for a very long time without need for major maintenance. The most effective method for removing dust and loose dirt is by dry maintenance. These floor care methods have a positive influence on the environmental performance of linoleum. Cleaning with excessive water is never necessary and therefore very little waste water is generated for disposal. When the life span of floor coverings is taken into account (25-40 years), this positive effect is very substantial.

As long as ‘dry’ cleaning systems are used and under normal conditions, Linoleum floors in healthcare applications do not need significant quantities of disinfectants to be applied. The limited use of chemicals contributes very positively to the economic life cycle of the product as well.

Toxicity

Linoleum floors contain virtually no trace of toxic material and is naturally benificial to air quality.


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