Everything You Want & Need to Know About Linoleum Flooring

If you’re looking for a strong, long-lasting, and budget-friendly flooring option, don’t look past linoleum flooring. This retro classic is making a comeback.

By Tina Jepson


Just from reading the title, I bet you’re probably already thinking, “Isn’t linoleum flooring a fad from the past?”


To be honest, yes. From its creation in the mid-1800s until the middle of the 20th century, linoleum has been gracing the floors of homes ranging from affordable studio apartments to expansive (and expensive) mansions. Well before hardwoods and tile became the preferred flooring medium in the 1950s and 1960s, linoleum was the go-to choice for the vast majority of homeowners. It was affordable, durable, and came in a number of options for different design tastes.


While linoleum flooring never truly “went away,” it’s actually becoming popular again. If you’re looking for a strong, long-lasting, and budget-friendly flooring option, don’t look past linoleum. Here’s why:


Linoleum Then & Now

Linoleum, which is a Latin derivative of “flax oil,” was first discovered in 1855 by Frederick Walton who discovered that hardened linseed oil had an almost rubbery texture that was waterproof and durable. After some trial and error, Walton created what is now known as linoleum.


For decades, linoleum was most often used as a floor cover in high-traffic areas of the home such as hallways and bathrooms. Kitchens were another room where many homeowners used linoleum because of its waterproof, easy-to-clean nature.



Photo by dreamstime


Today, linoleum is made with all-natural products like linseed oil, wood flour, resin, and particles from limestone and other soft stones—just like it was in the mid-19th century. What has changed is the scope of the product. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the market for a subtle neutral or fluorescent yellow, there’s a linoleum flooring option out there for just about every design you can imagine.



Photo by dreamstime


So, if you’re considering certain kitchen renovation ideas or want to refresh your hallways, add linoleum to your list.


It’s One of the Most Eco-Friendly Flooring Options

Linoleum is an ideal non-wood flooring option for environmentally conscious homeowners. It’s a natural product made of organic materials including linseed oil, wood flour, and resin. These, and all the other materials that go into creating linoleum are considered highly renewable.


When it’s time to change your flooring down the road, you can rest assured knowing the linoleum you place in landfills will eventually biodegrade.



Photo by shutterstock


It’s Not Vinyl or Laminate… Really!

There’s a real difference between vinyl and linoleum flooring. It’s a common misconception that vinyl and laminate are interchangeable with linoleum. In fact, it’s not just consumers that mistake all these flooring varieties as one-in-the-same— retailers do it too!


But don’t be fooled. True linoleum doesn’t contain PVC or the other plastic polymers found in vinyl or laminate. Simply put, vinyl isn’t as all-natural, environmentally friendly, or biodegradable as linoleum.



Photo by dreamstime


It Takes Upkeep, But Not Too Much

Now that you know there’s a difference between linoleum and vinyl, it’s time to consider upkeep. Because of its composition, linoleum requires different maintenance than other types of flooring.


Use mild detergent and water to clean most spills and stains, making sure to not leave any liquids on the floor for too long. Yes, I know I said that linoleum is waterproof— and it’s. But some adhesives aren’t, and some harsh chemicals can warp the flooring and ultimately loosen that adhesive.



Photo by dreamstime


It’s not uncommon for linoleum to dull over time. To combat age, use a linoleum wax every few months. With just a little elbow grease, you’ll have what appears to be a brand new floor.


As you can see, there are definite pros and cons of linoleum floors. But for many homeowners, the pros vastly outweigh the cons. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at linoleum to complete affordable home renovations or are looking for an environmentally friendly flooring option, linoleum should definitely be a flooring option you consider.

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