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Published on November 28th, 2007 | by Stephanie Evans


Linoleum Flooring

“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.

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