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how are linoleum floors made?

Linoleum flooring starts with a selection of natural ingredients. The seeds of the flax plant are pressed to create linseed oil, the principal ingredient of linoleum floors. The linseed oil is oxidized, forming the base of the linoleum mixture. This occurs either through exposure to air, which gives the oil a malleable consistency, or heat thickening until it forms a rubbery mass. This altered linseed oil is then ground up to be mixed with the other elements.

Oxidized linseed is combined with pine rosin, a binding agent that gives linoleum floors extra flexibility and strength. Wood flour is added to guarantee a smoother surface and bind pigments together so your linoleum floors will never fade. Cork flour and ground limestone are sometimes included as well. Pigments sourced from natural materials are added to create unique colors and patterns. This mixture is known as linoleum cement.

The linoleum cement is calendared, a process in which two cylinders roll the mixture out onto the jute backing. This essentially creates the floor, rolling the surface out until it's smooth. The final step is curing, in which the linoleum floors are dried in ovens for three to six weeks. These ovens are made up of racks which can reach fifty feet high, and some can accommodate rolls of linoleum up to a mile in length. The curing process gives linoleum floors their resilience and flexibility.

Linoleum flooring is ready to be installed after being rolled onto a core. While some linoleum floor types are manufactured with a protective pyroxylin lacquer finish, many are not. You will likely have to polish your linoleum floors to help prevent staining and give your floor some extra shine. Newly installed linoleum floors may have variations in shade and color which will dissipate within a few weeks as your floors acclimate.