Linoleum flooring has come a long way in its 100 year-plus history. Once thought of as the flooring of choice only for the kitchens of "cookie cutter" tract houses, linoleum has recently made a comeback. It is a relatively inexpensive, durable, attractive option and can now be seen lining the floors of many high-end homes, offices, and commercial buildings.
Linoleum Flooring as Environmentally-Friendly
There are environmental attributes to linoleum as well. Naturally bacteria-free, it emits much lower levels of toxins than does vinyl. This makes it an attractive option for those concerned with air pollutants in their place of residence or business. In addition, it is made from naturally occurring materials such as linseed oil and wood flour or cork dust. Its hypoallergenic properties make it ideal for hospitals and homes that want to limit exposure to environmental toxins.
Benefits of Linoleum Flooring
Durability is among the primary benefits of using linoleum. Because it can last as long as 40 years with typical wear and tear, consumers avoid the high costs of frequent maintenance or replacement. It is biodegradable (again, unlike vinyl) and doesn't show scuff marks or scratches. In terms of price, it is comparable to wood flooring and carpet, and there are now a variety of colors and patterns of linoleum on the market from which to choose. Highly skilled designers can fashion linoleum to look like wood, tile, or even granite.
Drawbacks of Linoleum Flooring
There are a few drawbacks to using linoleum, and its susceptibility to moisture is one of them. Most manufacturers of the flooring product recommend sweeping or vacuuming a linoleum floor and avoiding the use of too much water when cleaning its surface. Obviously, linoleum does not absorb sound as well as carpet does, so if minimal noise is the primary goal, this isn't the best flooring choice.
Is Linoleum Flooring Right for You?
As with any kind of remodel or renovation, it is advisable to decide ahead-of-time what your priorities are for the outcome. If the price, durability, low maintenance, and organic nature of linoleum appeal to you, this may be the best option to have underfoot.