Linoleum, which used to be such a popular flooring material, fell out of fashion in the early 50’s. Even though it is durable, stain resistant and eco-friendly, it was replaced by slightly less expensive materials such as vinyl and rubber tiling products.
Until the 1950’s linoleum was the standard flooring material in kitchens for over 80 years. However, it came out of fashion after that and the main reason for that is the fact that people started to get tired of its old look. At the same time rubber, vinyl and other innovative flooring materials kept flooding the market with exciting new designs, attracting the eyes of customers.
Another reason for the loss of interest would be the number of low-grade materials that were being manufactured and marketed as linoleum. As they started to crack, warp and fall apart, linoleum received the blame.
An interesting fact is that linoleum is actually having a comeback. In the past few years, people are beginning to choose linoleum as their flooring material due to the fact that it is a natural material and super convenient to use, especially in kitchens.
We would like to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of linoleum so keep reading to find out what those are.
Benefits of having linoleum floors:
Eco-friendly – Linoleum is mostly made from wood flour, linseed oil, cork powder and sometimes limestone dust is added for extra strength. That makes it environmentally friendly and biodegradable. All materials easily break down in landfills and cause no pollution, unlike vinyl. Linoleum can be burned without causing toxic fumes.
Scratches are less visible – Since it is a solid material top to bottom. scratches are not as visible as they would be on vinyl.
Resilient surface – The presence of cork dust gives linoleum some bounciness. That would be great if you have small children or toddlers, as well as if you spend a lot of time on your feet.
Durable – Linoleum is known to be durable and you may see some floorings as old as 40 years. However, manufacturers give it a lifespan of about 25 years which is still quite impressive.
Easy to maintain – Linoleum is rather easy to clean and maintain. Sweeping and occasional mopping would be enough to prevent it from getting filthy. When cleaning stains, use a ph-balanced, non-abrasive cleaner. Make sure you do not immerse it in water, although a wet mop once a month is allowed according to cleaning professionals.
Cost-efficient – If you compare linoleum to hardwood or tiles, it comes as quite inexpensive. That is especially if you consider its long life and low maintenance needs. It is still a bit more expensive than vinyl but even with professional installation, the price is still impressively low.
Ideal for retro interior designs – Because of its long and varied history, linoleum fits in perfectly with classic or retro interior designs. It is more suitable than any other flooring type even if they are manufactured to imitate retro designs. Many people think that the recent sudden interest of linoleum is thanks to the natural cyclical nature of design trends. Linoleum fits in perfectly with a mid-century modern interior design, for example.
Drawbacks of having linoleum flooring at home:
Moisture damage – The natural origin of linoleum might be a great advantage to some people, however, it is also the reason why it is susceptible to water damage. It is rather porous and can easily absorb spills and liquids. This is also why you should not use excess water when cleaning your linoleum floors. You can prevent serious damage by sealing your linoleum.
Regular sealing – Linoleum flooring should be sealed with an acrylic sealer as soon as the installation is complete and the adhesive is completely dry. Make sure the sealant is applied before the flooring is walked on. You must reseal the linoleum annually in order to maintain its quality and appearance. The regular sealing of the linoleum will make it stain-resistant and prevent most water penetration. When sealing, make sure it is completely dry and not sticky before use. For floors that have not been sealed, add a second coat.
Application is not so easy – Linoleum is a thick sheet material and compared to vinyl, it is harder to install, especially for DIY projects. If not installed properly, it may crack or break.
Can be cut and dented – Because linoleum is somewhat soft and resilient, it can be easily dented. Marks might be left by furniture legs or even shoe heels. Sharp objects can cut this material.
Darkens with age – When exposed to sunlight a lot, linoleum can change its colour, darken or become yellow. In order to prevent that, you can use a protective layer applied by the manufacturer.
In conclusion, even though linoleum is considered an outdated, boring material, it is coming back strong. It is durable and forgiving and a great flooring material in general. Regular sealing and cleaning will keep your linoleum floors decent for a long time.