Linoleum Flooring Guide

Compare Linoleum Flooring Brands & Prices. Learn About Benefits,
Pros and Cons, Installation, Cleaning and Repair Costs

Welcome to your internet guide to buying and installing Linoleum Flooring. As well as the main guide on this page don’t forget to check out our Linoleum floor repair page and our guide to the differences between Linoleum and Vinyl flooring. Without further ado let’s jump in…

Linoleum is an ecofriendly flooring material often confused with vinyl because it looks similar. That’s where the comparison ends, however. While vinyl is plastic and not considered an environmentally safe product, the materials used in linoleum are all natural. The name is a combination of the Latin terms for linseed and oil.

Linoleum Flooring

What is Linoleum

To manufacture linoleum, which has been done since 1864, linseed oil is mixed with resins such as pine resin to form what Armstrong Flooring calls “linoleum cement.” It is added to a mixture of crushed limestone and powdered cork or wood. Non-toxic mineral pigments are added, and colors across the spectrum can be achieved.

The blend is liquefied through heating and then rolled out between two cylinders into sheets that are attached to a backing made of jute, burlap or canvas. The flooring is oven-cured for up to three weeks before a factory finish and seal are applied. It is then ready for sale and installation. Within the flooring industry, the material is often called “lino” for short.

Linoleum’s New Popularity

Linoleum was a hugely popular flooring choice in the first half of the 20th C. Its comeback in the last decade can be attributed to its use of sustainable and renewable materials plus the inclusion of more than 40 percent recycled materials in some modern linoleum products.

What you’ll Learn Here:

This linoleum flooring guide will assist you in deciding if this is the right material for your home or business setting.

You’ll discover:

Linoleum options

Pros and cons of linoleum

Best Uses for linoleum

Linoleum flooring brands and what they cost

Cost to Install Linoleum

Cleaning and caring for linoleum floors

Cost for repair and removal of linoleum

Visitor Frequently Asked Questions

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Linoleum Flooring Options & Where to Buy

Most products are available as linoleum flooring rolls, typically 6’6” wide (2m). This means that your linoleum floor will have more seams than if you used vinyl, and this is just one reason why professional installation is recommended over DIY work.

Linoleum floor tiles and panels are also produced. Square and rectangular linoleum flooring tiles are more suitable to DIY installation. It also gives you the option of using multiple colors to create a unique linoleum tile flooring design.

Finding linoleum retailers isn’t easy. If you do an online search such as “linoleum flooring Lowes” or “linoleum flooring Home Depot”, the top search results will be about vinyl. In fact, a brief survey of associates at home improvement stores demonstrated that most don’t know the difference between the two materials.

We found that Forbo Marmoleum can be ordered from The Home Depot and Armstrong linoleum can be ordered from Menards, but that’s about it.  The best places to buy linoleum are local flooring stores. Most carry samples only; the linoleum floor you want will then be ordered.

Pros and Cons of Linoleum 

The primary reason that homeowners choose a linoleum floor over vinyl flooring is its environmental friendliness. It is made from natural products and typically contains a high percentage of recycled material. It doesn’t emit VOCs like vinyl and carpet do. This means the indoor air quality of your home will be better with linoleum.

Secondly, it is worth noting that linoleum floors can last as long as 40 years with proper care. It wears better than vinyl which lasts up to 20 years, though most vinyl needs replacing in 8-15 years. Other benefits include the color-infused wear layer that is thicker than that found on either laminate or vinyl and the softness of linoleum that makes it more comfortable underfoot. Finally, like vinyl, linoleum flooring is highly water resistant.

The first downside is linoleum prices. While vinyl is available for less than $1.50 per square foot, linoleum sheet flooring and tiles begin at about $3.50 per square foot. However, when you consider that the flooring might last two to three times as long as vinyl, the cost difference is negligible over the life of the flooring.

Like vinyl floors, it can be scratched or damaged by furniture being dragged across it or heavy, sharp objects dropped on it. While it doesn’t emit VOCs, some tile and sheet linoleum flooring give off a linseed oil odor for the first few weeks. It is harmless, but some find the smell a bit annoying. Finally, most linoleum will develop a slightly amber hue with time. It’s a natural part of the aging process of natural materials and does not affect the performance of the flooring.

Need more info? Check out our in-depth guide to the differences and similarities of linoleum vs vinyl

Best Uses for Linoleum

We’ve already looked at the benefits of Linoleum flooring…it is, long lasting, water resistant and made from natural materials. These benefits make it perfect for the following applications:

Kitchen Flooring: With high traffic and the constant potential for spills and mess, linoleum in the kitchen is a great option.

Bathroom Flooring: Linoleum’s water resistant features and warm natural qualities make it a great addition for a bathroom.

Nursery/Playroom Flooring: Easy to clean, natural materials make linoleum flooring safe and hygienic for rooms where children and infants spend a lot of time on the floor.

Linoleum Flooring Cost

While this material’s popularity is trending upwards, there are still just a few manufacturers producing it. Our recent survey of available options turned up these high end linoleum floor brands and their current prices:

Armstrong Marmorette: Available in more than 40 colors, this flooring for domestic use offers a traditional marble look. The linoleum flooring rolls are 6’6” wide, which is pretty much standard, prices for this sheet flooring range between $8-$10/sq. ft. Armstrong backs Marmorette sheet linoleum with a 15-year residential warranty.

Armstrong LinoArt: There are 6 different linoleum sheet and tile collections under the LinoArt range of commercial flooring. Choose from linoleum rolls of 6.5 ft. x 98.4 ft or tiles inch 12 x 12 and 24 x 24 inch squares and a 12 x 24 inch rectangle. Prices range from $3.50-$5.00/sq. ft. and Armstrong offer a 5-year commercial warranty.

You can occasionally find cheap linoleum flooring from Armstrong in clearance sales when prices will be below $3 for tiles and $6 for linoleum rolls.

Forbo Marmoleum: Forbo commands about 60 percent of the world market for linoleum. It makes both residential and commercial floors in a range of styles including marbled, solid and patterned prints. The residential warranty is 25 years. Your three flooring options include linoleum sheet flooring made from 97 percent natural materials with total recycled content of 43 percent. Linoleum click tiles come in 12”x12” and 12”x36” sizes. They feature a linoleum wear layer laminated on HDF and cork. Linoleum modules are offered in 44 colors and a range of sizes including popular 25”x25”, 25”x50” and 50”x50”. Tiles and modules give you the freedom to use a variety of colors to create the design you desire.

Forbo Marmoleum prices include linoleum flooring tiles for $4-$5.50/sq. ft. and linoleum roll flooring for $6.00-$7.50/sq. ft.

Johnsonite XF2 Harmonium: This is commercial flooring, though that doesn’t preclude its use in a residential setting. These rolls of linoleum are produced from 95 percent natural materials and are 6’6” wide. Johnsonite makes five collections of the XF2 Harmonium: Etrusco is available in five solid tones. Veneto is a marble design in 62 bright colors. Lenza features 11 striated colors to produce a linoleum wood flooring design. Tonali has a marbled look in 15 colors ranging from black to pumpkin orange. Veneto Acoustiflor in six colors is backed by a 1.3mm foam layer that reduces noise as well as increases insulation and makes the floor softer. Johnsonite is covered by a 5-year commercial warranty that covers residential use too.

Johnsonite linoleum prices are $8-$11 per square foot depending on which material you’re pricing.

Despite there being just three manufacturers of linoleum, it is produced in enough colors and styles that most home and business owners can find a great-looking floor for their project.

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Linoleum Installation Prices

All three manufacturers discourage DIY installation of their products, preferring instead professionals with good experience. It takes practice to know how to install linoleum flooring rolls properly. The main reason is that linoleum floors have more seams, and seams are very difficult to master. We’ve seen many DIY installation jobs that are literally coming apart at the seams. Repair is challenging and costly too, so the best choice is to hire a pro from the start, especially considering that installation is a small percentage of the total cost of the floor.

For most jobs, the cost of linoleum flooring installation will be $0.65 to $0.90 per square foot. The specific cost of your job will depend on the complexity of it. The more cutting and trimming around obstacles that is required, the higher the cost will be. Stairs are often priced separately at $15-$25 per stair.

How to Clean Linoleum Floors

Since linoleum is produced from natural materials, it is cared for in a similar way to wood flooring. This means that excess water should be dried quickly and harsh chemicals like ammonia should be avoided when cleaning linoleum floors.

If you’re wondering how to clean linoleum floors, this step-by-step guide has the answers.

  1. Sweep or vacuum the floor. If you use a vacuum, make sure the brush is turned off. A lightweight stick vacuum without a brush bar is best.
  2. Using a linoleum floor cleaner recommended by the manufacturer, such as Armstrong S-485 or Marmoleum linoleum cleaner, is the best way to clean linoleum floors. Follow the instructions carefully for mixing and use.
  3. The manufacturers suggest using a lightly damp mop and immediately mopping up excess water.
  4. Change the solution frequently or have a bucket of clean water for rinsing.
  5. Allow the floor to dry. In damp weather, you can put a dry towel on a dry mop to speed up the drying process.

Note: No wet cleaning of the flooring should be done for the first five days after installation. It is important to allow the seam adhesive to fully cure without getting wet.

For some, cleaning linoleum floors includes polishing. Before applying polish, clean the floor as recommended above. Then:

  1. Use a clean, damp mop to apply a linoleum flooring polish such as Armstrong S-480 or Forbo Residential Floor Finish.
  2. Apply two or three coats with clean, slightly damp mop head or a lint-free cloth. The polish should dry between coats, a process taking up to 45 minutes.
  3. Work backward, so you’re walking onto unpolished flooring.
  4. Keep the polish off of baseboard and furniture, or wipe it off immediately. The room you’re polishing should be emptied of furniture for best results.

Useful Linoleum Care, Maintenance and Cleaning Links:

If you want manufacturer recommended cleaning information covering the three main brands discussed on this site then use the following links to download their helpful pdfs:

Care and Maintenance of Armstrong Linoleum

Forbo Marmoleum Cleaning

Maintenance of Harmonium xf2 Linoleum sheet flooring

Cost of Repairing and Removing Linoleum Flooring

Repair costs are always higher than linoleum installation costs because the work is more delicate and time-consuming. Linoleum floor repair is best left to the professionals as it requires a high level of expertise to re-bond seams, repair tears or patch linoleum. Expect to pay $3 to $6 per linear foot for seam repair and up to $5 per square foot for patching or tear repair. These prices might be in addition to a service call fee many flooring repair specialists charge for small jobs. To find out more about linoleum repairs, how to fix them yourself and when to call in the professionals, visit our dedicated linoleum floor repairs guide.

There is no consensus on how to remove linoleum flooring. It depends on how it was installed. When perimeter glue or tape is used, most of the flooring will come up easily. The material might separate at the glue/tape points, and what remains stuck to the floor can be removed with a scraper or belt sander. Some material is stapled at the edges where the base molding covers. In this case, removing linoleum flooring simply requires taking off the molding, pulling up the flooring and pulling out the staples.

When the entire backing is glued, removal is more difficult. You’ll have to pull up what will come and scrape off or sand off the rest.

The way the floor was installed will determine how long it takes to remove, and that in turn will determine the cost of linoleum floor removal. Removing linoleum flooring will cost less than $0.65 per square foot when fixed only at the perimeter. The job of removing linoleum floor is much tougher when it is fully glued. Expect estimates for removing the flooring and the adhesive from the subfloor to be between $1.00 and $1.75 per square foot.

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Visitor FAQ’s

Thank you for your questions, keep them coming by getting in touch. We will publish the most common questions and answers here.

Can you install linoleum on stairs?

Yes, both linoleum rolls and tiles can be installed on a stair case. You will need to also install a stair nose on each step to finish the work and protect the linoleum.

Can you install linoleum over existing flooring?

In theory, if your existing flooring provides a flat a stable sub floor then you could lay linoleum over it. However in practice this is rarely a great idea, if for no other reason than you are raising the threshold of your floor which can cause problems elsewhere.

Does linoleum contain toxic ingredients?

When homeowners ask if linoleum is toxic, they might be referring to vinyl flooring that contains and off-gases VOCs for some time. Linoleum flooring is made with natural ingredients and is non-toxic and quite safe by comparison.

Is linoleum flooring waterproof?

There is no waterproof linoleum, though linoleum is water resistant when properly sealed. Even when sealed, if liquid remains on it for a long time, it might seep into the linoleum and cause a stain.