Though it is often confused with vinyl, linoleum is a completely different material. It has been around for about 150 years and is made of natural materials. Linoleum flooring is made up of linseed oil (the main ingredient), wood or cork powder, and ground stone. It is a recyclable material, and is available in partially recycled content.
Benefits of Linoleum Flooring
The most noticeable benefit of a linoleum floor is its price. It is much less expensive than other natural materials such as ceramic, wood, or stone. The price of linoleum flooring is much more comparable to vinyl in both the initial purchase and installation costs.
A linoleum floor is often available with a warranty for as long as 25 years. The floor itself can last over 40. It can be found in a wide array of colors, patterns, and styles. You can even purchase vintage linoleum if you want to have a more retro look. Since it is so easy to cut, some homeowners have even combined different colors and patterns of linoleum to create a truly custom floor.
Linoleum floors are very resistant to water and make an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. They are extremely easy to clean and are nearly maintenance free. Linoleum flooring can also handle high traffic without significant wear and tear; this makes them a great option for households that have (or are expecting) children or pets.
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Drawbacks of Linoleum Floors
While there are certainly many benefits of having a linoleum floor, the biggest drawback is probably the installation. It requires a lot of skill to put in a floor of this type. Linoleum flooring requires not just a steady hand to cut, but it needs to be applied with a spread adhesive. Those without experience using this kind of adhesive will find that the situation gets sticky very quickly. Unlike vinyl or laminate, the DIY route is usually not an option, which means hiring a professional, and receiving a professional bill.
Though linoleum floors are decidedly low maintenance, it is possible to stain them. They also need to be polished once or twice a year to maintain an optimal finish. If a stain occurs, it is possible to strip the floor and re-polish it. Linoleum that is polished regularly will have a much longer life expectancy than a poorly maintained floor.
Despite its water resistant qualities, a linoleum floor that is exposed to standing water for extended periods of time can be permanently damaged. It should be noted, however, that standing water is a problem for many other flooring materials, both natural and synthetic.
A big reason why linoleum is not installed in some houses has to do with its cost effectiveness. Though it is not a flimsy material, many consider it “cheap”. While this says nothing about the performance of linoleum in a given situation, it does make it a less desirable material when it comes time to assess property value.