Invented in the mid-1800s, linoleum enjoyed a remarkably long run of nearly a century as the preferred flooring material for high-traffic areas. It provided consumers and even the American military with quality and durability, commonly lasting 30-40 years. Competitors, such as vinyl, that became widely available in the 1950s detracted from linoleum’s popularity and eventually contributed to distaste for sheet flooring among post World War II consumers. For this generation, linoleum also became a less attractive flooring option due to its lack of color choices and stylishness sought after in home construction and renovations.
Unlike some alternative flooring options, linoleum was and continues to be a natural, eco-friendly flooring choice for Flagstaff homeowners. All the components of linoleum are renewable or recycled. The main component of linoleum flooring is linseed oil, produced from the seeds of the flax (linen) plant. Linoleum’s patented formula used boiled oil combined with recycled cork dust, wood flour, natural pigments, and natural resins from pine trees, along with limestone dust. Once combined, these components are attached to a fabric backing of jute or canvas during manufacturing.
Linoleum is biodegradable, bacteria-resistant, and hypoallergenic. The manufacturing process distributes its color through all layers of the product, including the backing. Its benefits also include scuff resistance, insulating qualities, and sound absorption. Although linoleum is not impervious to water, it is water resistant. True linoleum is non-toxic and does not off gas any volatile organic compounds. Linoleum is also simple to repair if it experiences minor gouges using glue and shavings from the leftover product.
Today, due to resurgence of interest and consumer concerns about toxicity of other flooring options, true linoleum is readily available for consumers once again. While there are only a few companies producing linoleum, almost all of them produce the familiar sheets and rolls that consumers who grew up during the 40s and later will instantly recognize. New options in linoleum also include tiles that provide versatility and allow consumers and installers to create elegant or playful designs that rival those of competing choices, such as ceramic tile, without the hassle of applying grout and maintaining it. Today’s linoleum also offers consumers more than 100 long-lasting color choices.
Is Linoleum Right For You?
Flagstaff kitchens, bathrooms, and heavy traffic areas, such as hallways and play areas, are all ideal locations for linoleum flooring. Innovative home designers are also using linoleum for kitchen backsplashes and countertops. To find out more about linoleum flooring and other options available to you, call the experts at Floor Coverings International Flagstaff today and schedule a free in-home estimate and design consultation!
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Photo: © ALEXANDER LEONOV