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Linoleum Flooring Buying Guide Basics

About Linoleum

Are you looking for flooring that's durable, "green," or can help reduce allergies? Linoleum can offer all of this and more. Popular in both residential and commercial settings up until the 1950s, linoleum took a back seat for a few decades to newer, more "modern" synthetic products. Now that so many people are looking for more natural, eco–friendly solutions for everything from flip–flops to flooring, linoleum is making a comeback. Available in a vast array of colors and patterns, it can even be manufactured to look like marble flooring. created this buying guide to help streamline the process of choosing, buying, installing and even cleaning your new linoleum flooring.

Your Home Environment

One of the more notable benefits of linoleum flooring is its resiliency. Resilient flooring provides a surface that's firm, yet has the ability to give, much like a spring. Linoleum, like cork and vinyl, can withstand impact and "bounce back" to its original placement quickly. The surface of linoleum is somewhat flexible upon contact; this makes it ideal for people with joint injuries or special mobility needs.

Foot Traffic

Linoleum is a very durable product that can withstand high volumes of traffic if installed properly.

Recommendation: Linoleum's ability to handle foot traffic will meet most residential needs. If you are concerned about excess wear in certain areas, area rugs and floor mats will help reduce wear and tear. Also, select thicker linoleum flooring as it typically shows fewer subfloor imperfections than the thinner types.


Linoleum flooring is made using all natural materials, thus making it prone to some fading when exposed to direct sunlight. Linoleum can also take on a yellow color in areas that receive little to no light exposure, such as under a stove or refrigerator. This process is called "blooming." Since these areas will almost never be seen, they tend to be less of a concern.

Recommendation: In areas receiving heavy sun exposure, window coverings should be used to diffuse sunlight. If possible, you can rearrange your furniture and rugs from time to time to help keep the tone and color of the floor even.

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Room–by–Room Practicality

Linoleum flooring is very durable and can therefore be considered for every room in the home. As a general rule, linoleum stands up to most scratching and scuffs, and is also moisture and fire resistant.


Linoleum flooring is a popular choice for the kitchen because it's water resistant and easy to clean. The surface of linoleum is also comfortable to stand on for long periods of time (unlike harder surfaces such as stone), making it ideal for a kitchen where hours at a time can be spent standing over a stove.


Linoleum's water resistance makes it a good choice for bathrooms as long as all seams are sealed and treated for moisture resistance (this may require a professional installation). Be sure to check with the manufacturer of the linoleum being considered, as bathroom installation can void your warranty in some cases.

Dining Room

Linoleum is easy to clean up, making it an ideal choice in the dining room. No need to worry if meatballs and spaghetti end up on the floor; just grab a wet cloth and wipe it up!

Other Rooms

Whether you favor linoleum for its durability or extensive color choice, it's a flooring that will work as well in the bedroom as it does in the laundry room. Linoleum is resilient, moisture resistant and looks good with most décor.

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Lifestyle Elements

New flooring is an investment that you will have for years. It is important to take a look at any lifestyle factors you have and how they may impact your flooring choices.


Linoleum flooring can withstand the wear and tear of most pets as it is durable, water resistant and difficult to scratch.

Recommendation: Keeping your pet's nails trimmed can help minimize the chances of your linoleum becoming scratched or gouged.


There are two features of linoleum which make it a popular flooring choice for children: (1) antimicrobial and (2) resiliency. In other words, linoleum resists fungi and mold growth, and can stand up to the playful nature of children. In fact, many hospitals and schools choose to use linoleum flooring because of these characteristics.

Recommendation: To minimize spills, always provide children with spill–proof cups. Also, avoid using cleaners that contain toxic chemicals, and/or cleaners that can make the floor surface slippery.

Noise Insulation

Linoleum doesn't absorb sounds as well as cork, carpet and vinyl. In areas where linoleum is installed, use area rugs to help suppress sound transmissions from voices, music and television.

Recommendation: Install a sound abatement underlayment underneath your linoleum floors to minimize sound transmission. Some "floating" linoleum planks come with a sound suppression material such as cork (or foam) already attached to the back for easier installation. "Floating" is a method where linoleum pieces click and lock together and placed directly on top of the subfloor. These floating installations not only help reduce indoor noise levels, they don't require any adhesive! To learn more about underlayments, visit our Linoleum Accessories section.

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Special Mobility Needs

Linoleum's durability, smooth surface and scuff–resistant properties make it a good choice for those with special mobility needs. Many favor linoleum over other hard surface floors, such as stone or tile, as the surface of linoleum provides a higher level of comfort when walked on. This may be a good choice for people who suffer from joint pain or have a walking disability.

Recommendation: For extra texture or traction, consider using floor mats, runners and area rugs.

Basic Care

Linoleum flooring requires less maintenance than most other floor types. To help keep your new linoleum flooring as good as the day it was installed, we've included a few basic care and maintenance tips:


  • DO sweep linoleum floors regularly to remove dirt and debris.
  • DO mop when needed with plain water only or plain water mixed with a mild cleanser.
  • DO wipe up spills as soon as possible with a damp cloth.


  • DON'T use cleaners that are harsh or contain ammonia or alkaline. High or low pH factors can discolor and pit your linoleum floors.
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