For years, linoleum has been both lauded for its economic price tag and dismissed for its often dated look—for example, nothing says “1970’s” more than an avocado green kitchen floor!
But these days, linoleum is making a well-deserved comeback as a flooring choice that is not necessarily green in color, but definitely “green” as far as the environment is concerned.
Traditionally made of linseed oil, and cork dust or wood flour over canvas, linoleum has been an Earth-friendly choice since it first appeared back in the late 1800’s. Modern construction methods have made linoleum even better for the environment today.
In addition to its “green” qualities, linoleum is perhaps most well-known for its budget-friendly price tag. It tends to be far less pricey than other natural flooring options like hardwood or ceramic tile. Linoleum tends to be priced about the same as vinyl flooring, both in terms of what it costs to purchase and install. Speaking of installation, it normally comes in large sheets, which can be cut to make neat patterns or shapes for the flooring. But it’s not terribly easy to work with, so hiring a professional to install it is a must. Because it is so easy on the budget, it is a major favorite of investors or “house flippers” who purchase a fixer upper and need to re-do the floors with something that will look really nice but not cost a huge amount of money.
Linoleum flooring also comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and can be mixed and matched to create a custom look. Naturally water resistant, linoleum is an outstanding choice for high-moisture areas like kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. However, it is worth noting that wet footprints that appear after a shower or spilled water or juice should not be left standing on the linoleum; liquids that sit on linoleum for too long will cause the flooring to become damaged. Of course, this can also be said for many other types of flooring materials.
As for drawbacks, linoleum is not that resistant to dust, dirt and grit; many people counteract this by using throw rugs or mats in entry ways and other places where the linoleum would be exposed to a lot of dirt. It should be swept or vacuumed regularly, and washed with a mixture of water and a linoleum-friendly detergent. To keep it looking shiny and new, linoleum does require occasional waxing.
In addition, although linoleum floors are definitely low maintenance, they can stain fairly easily. Also, if it does tear or gets damaged in some way, it can be difficult to repair.
While linoleum has been thought of as a “cheap” type of flooring, it really is not a fair assessment. Yes, it is cheap in the literal sense of the word, but it is also an eco-friendly and durable flooring that can be very attractive.
Read about the benefits of vinyl floors.