Published on November 28th, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans0
“Oh, that was natural linoleum you wanted.” A response you’re likely to hear if you go in search of the true linoleum that’s often confused with vinyl. Produced in Europe, linoleum is a comfortable, quiet, resilient, and low-toxicity choice sold worldwide in sheets, tiles, or planks. This flooring option is available in a broad palette of colors that readily permeate the entire material—printed patterning is also available, and painting is always an option.
Here’s the fact file on linoleum:
- It’s made of all-natural components—linseed oil, pine rosin, limestone, cork powder, and wood flour on a jute backing—linoleum is biodegradable and theoretically, compostable.
- It’s generally less costly than wood but more so than vinyl, a fact often offset by its acclaimed durability and longevity—linoleum is said to last 30–40 years compared with vinyl’s10–20 year average.
- It contains natural antibacterial properties and dampens sound.
- Cleaning: Linoleum is sensitive to some cleaners, so use a mild detergent or vinegar water and avoid highly alkaline products—those with a high-pH level. Excess moisture is also a factor, so some specialists recommend routine dry mopping and occasional wet mopping followed up with a wax sealant.
While it’s not vinyl-associated chemical off-gassing, linoleum does produce linseed oil fumes that can take quite a while to dissipate, and some people are sensitive to these fumes.