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How Do I Choose the Best Linoleum Flooring?

Linoleum tiles are making a comeback in popularity.
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  • Written By: Lou Paun
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 July 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Linoleum flooring was once considered old-fashioned, but today it is rapidly regaining popularity. Linoleum is an environmentally friendly flooring made from natural materials that can be recycled or even composted. It's hard-wearing and has a very long service life. It's resilient, making it a particularly good choice for kitchens and children's play areas, and it has natural antibacterial properties. The best choices in linoleum flooring match its characteristics to the homeowner's needs.

Linoleum is made from a blend of oxidized linseed oil, resins, binders, and color pigments attached to a backing and dried in a kiln. It can be produced in several thicknesses. The most durable flooring is cut from the thickest linoleum, but it is also the most expensive. Even the thickest linoleum is somewhat flexible, so it can be installed in places where ceramic flooring would be likely to crack.

Linoleum is available in many colors and patterns. When purchasing patterned linoleum flooring, be sure to get extra so the pattern can be matched at the seams. The color is the same through the thickness of the linoleum, so scratches and chips are not very noticeable. The color may fade slightly in prolonged direct sunlight or yellow slightly.

A flooring underlayment can protect linoleum flooring from moisture damage and reduce noise as well. A cork underlayment offers the best sound reduction, while plastic provides the best moisture barrier. Many foam underlayments combine noise reduction and moisture barriers.

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Sheet linoleum flooring is widely available and is a very popular choice. It offers the greatest variety of colors and patterns in production. A smooth, even subflooring is necessary for a satisfactory linoleum sheet floor. Because the sheets are between 6 and 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 meters) wide, many rooms will require seaming, a job best done by professionals.

Linoleum tiles can be installed by most homeowners. This kind of linoleum flooring can be laid over a preexisting floor, provided it is still solid and offers a smooth surface. Allow linoleum tiles to acclimate to the environment of the room for 24 hours before beginning installation.

Floating linoleum flooring is the easiest for do-it-yourselfers to install. The pieces, which are usually 12x12 inch (30.5x30.5 cm) squares or 12x36 inch (30.5x91.4 cm) rectangles, fit together with the click-and-lock system that was developed for laminate flooring. They require no adhesive. They often have a cork backing to reduce noise.

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Discuss this Article

Animandel
Post 3

While looking at flooring in the store I came across some of the square linoleum pieces like the ones mentioned in the article. At the time, I was thinking of buying ceramic tile flooring. I was surprised at how nice the linoleum tile flooring looked in the displays.

However, I wasn't convinced that linoleum was the way to go until I read this article. I had no idea that linoleum is environmentally friendly. What I like is that it is less expensive and easier to maintain than traditional tile floors. I'm sold on linoleum.

Feryll
Post 1

My girlfriend looked at linoleum kitchen flooring when we were in the home improvement store and she fell in love with a color and pattern she saw. She decided she had to have this floating linoleum flooring to replace the old and worn linoleum rug she had on her kitchen floor.

I'm not an expert on home improvement or installing floors, but the salesman made the project sound simple, and I didn't want to admit that I couldn't do a simple job, as he explained it. Anyway, all was going well enough until I got a couple rows of the floor attached and locked into place. When I began adding more rows, the previous rows would pop out of place and I would have to go back and secure them before I could proceed.

I put the entire floor together and then took it back apart several times because I could not get all of the small spaces closed where the sections were supposed to lock together. Finally, I decided well enough was going to have to do because I was not getting any better the more I worked with it.

After reading this article, I now understand what the problem with the flooring is. My girlfriend lives in an old house and kitchen is not level. And I don't mean it is a little off kilter. The floor has dips and slants that are noticeable. I wish I had read this article before I did the installation.

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