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Green Flooring. Marmoleum Natural Linoleum.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 posted by Tommi Crow

If you are considering an update for the old vinyl flooring in your home,  go natural.  Natural linoleum, made from wood and cork, limestone dust, pine rosin and linseed oil, is a fantastic, green material substitution for the petroleum-based products of old.    Natural linoleum is available in either sheets or individual tiles, it offers an endless suppliy of color and pattern choices and is a great product for residential or commercial use.

Why We Like Natural Linoleum

It’s Versatile.  Marmoleum is available either sheet or tile forms.  It is used in both residential and commercial settings.  Great for resturants and offices, too.  The product can be used on floors and countertop surfaces.  It is sold in a wide range of colors and patterns.  Some patterns mimic quarried stone, others are mottled for subtle texture and other options include high tech MRI images.  The applications and decorating options are only limited by the owner’s imagination and tastes.  A Do-It-Yourselfer can easily install the tiles themselves, just like vinyl.      It’s Low Maintenance.  Manufacturers estimate the lifespan of natural linoleum at 30-40 years, compared to 10-20 for vinyl.  Scratches are no problem.  The surface is hard, and even becomes harder over time.  Additionally, any surface scratch can be buffed out, because the color extends through the entire thickness.  For cleaning, a dry mop is recommended for routine maintenance.

It’s Green and Better for the Environment.  Natural linoleum is much better for the environment than petroleum based, vinyl products.  Vinyl’s are not sustainable and are highly polluting in their manufacturing process.  Natural linoleum is made from wood, rosin, limestone and linseed oil.  All these materials occur naturally and are sustainable.  When it’s time to remodel, natural linoleum can be shredded and turned into compost for the garden versus filling a landfill.  Additional bonus, natural linoleum will last and look good for a least least twice as long as vinyl.

Disadvantages.  The linseed oil in the products “off gas” and some people are sensitive to its fumes.  We advise that you air out the product for a few weeks before you install it, if you have a sensitive reaction to the smell.   Like most plant-based products, linoleum doesn’t perform well in area’s with constant moisture.  Test the moisture content of floor slabs before installation.  Use Caulk to seal edges around tubs and showers where flooring abuts.  The only other disadvantage is probably the initial cost of the product.  Marmoleum costs around $4.00 per square foot, compared with $1.50 to $2.00 for vinyl flooring.

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