The Return of Linoleum

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Once a kitchen standard, linoleum began losing ground to other flooring types, namely sheet vinyl, in the 1940s.

April 01, 2004

 

Once a kitchen standard, linoleum began losing ground to other flooring types, namely sheet vinyl, in the 1940s. Now linoleum is back, and it’s appealing to a new generation of builders and buyers.

Colorful and vibrant, linoleum looks much different than it did decades ago. Armstrong’s Marmorette (www.armstrong.com) comes in 16 colors, including firebird red and bluebird. Forbo Flooring (www.themarmoleumstore.com) sells 120 colors in sheet form and 30 colors in 13x13-inch tiles.

Design flexibility draws people in, too. Piera Marotto, Forbo’s residential marketing manager, says buyers like the random marbleized look of Marmoleum as well as the ability to do custom applications such as a light border on a dark floor to make a room look larger, a checkerboard pattern with two, three or four hues, and even “inlaid” designs.

Made from organic materials (linseed oil, wood flour, resins and ground limestone) that are renewable and don’t produce toxic byproducts during manufacturing, linoleum is also popular with green buyers. The one drawback: For the first few months after installation, linoleum emits a linseed-oil scent that can irritate those allergic to it.

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