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Marmoleum Flooring:The New Linoleum

Updated on February 3, 2013
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.

Marmoleum floor in a kitchen.  Image via Linoleumstore.com
Marmoleum floor in a kitchen. Image via Linoleumstore.com

Marmoleum flooring is the new floor of choice for people interested in green building materials.

You may remember it as linoleum but this is not the linoleum you might recall from your grandmother's house. Marmoleum comes in a wide spectrum of beautiful colors to compliment all home styles and decors. It can be bought by the roll or in sections (often called Marmoleum Click flooring). There are infinite design possibilites.

Best of all, unlike vinyl, it does not off gas VOCs. Beautiful floor, healthy environment...want to know more?

Benefits of Marmoleum

From the standpoint of an average homeowner marmoleum flooring is durable and easy to clean. It looks beautiful for years in areas with heavy traffic. Dust mop regularly, damp mop when needed and wipe the messiest spills away. The floor does not stain and there is no need to wax.

Anti-bacterial

The flooring has antibacterial properties. This means that microorganisms like salmonella and staff aren't spread. This property comes from one of the ingredients, linseed oil. Linseed oil continues to oxidize in the floor and the bacteria can't multiply as with other types of flooring. As the linseed oil oxidizes it hardens making the floor even more durable. Estimate life of one of these floors is fifty years. You had better use a color you like. A lot.

Burn Resistant

These reincarnated linoleum floors resist burning. If your entire house was on fire the floor would go up, too, but the floors don't melt at high heat under normal circumstances. This means that a cigarette, glue gun, curling iron or hot grease dopped on the floor will not create the need for a whole new floor. It means you will need to pick up or clean up what you dropped. If there is a slight mark it can be buffed out. The color goes all the way through the floor so any deeper damage that does happen can be easily sanded out.

Cut for Custom Design

The material can be cut and borders can be created by fitting different colors and shapes of marmoleum together. By using small checkerboars, for example, you can create a vintage look. With large circles and rectangles you can have a Pop 60s look.

Dirt Won't Stick

It has anti-static properties. This means that dust and dirt won't stick to the floor and less cleaning for the homeowner. This is great for people with allergies of all types. Many hospitals are beginning to use marmoleum flooring for these reasons.

It can also be used as a countertop.

Best of All…It's Green

Yes, you heard that right. This flooring is made with natural materials that do not off gas toxic VOCs. It can be applied with solvent free adhesives so even the installation is clean.

There are virtually no dangerous health issues linked to the flooring, from production to installation and even in disposal. The flooring is 100% biodegradable.

Marmoleum is sustainable. It is made from linseed oil, color pigments, pine rosin and pine flour, which is responsibly collected from planted forests in Europe. Linseed oil is a natural product of the flax plant. The mixture is heated and then run through rollers that press the hot mixture into sheets and then onto a jute backing. It is then cured for a time before use.

Completely natural ingredients that completely biodegrade; and to think it has been considered old fashioned all these years.

Are There Any Negative Aspects?

There are a few downsides to marmoleum.

Professional Installation

It is extremely heavy and it is not going to be something the average do-it-yourselfer can manage. It is best installed by an experienced contractor and that does raise the cost of the floor. However, when you are looking at a floor that is going to last two to three times as long as vinyl it is actually a small investment.

Needs a Good Subfloor

It needs a good sub-floor. Defects in the sub-floor will show up on the surface of the marmoleum. Again, this will mean, more than likely, that you will need a professional installation.

Not Made in the USA

It is manufactured in Europe. This means that there is a large environmental impact when it comes to transporting it. This may or may not be offset by the many eco benefits of the marmoleum; it depends on your point of view.

Short Term Odor

Linseed oil has a particular scent that some people dislike. The floor emits an odor for a short period of time after it is installed.

Marmoleum Click

Marmoleum Click is an easy to install version of the large sheets of marmoleum. It comes in several colors. It can sometimes be set over existing flooring.

The tiles come in either 12 x 36 or 12 x 12 panels. With it you can create numerous patterns on your floor. It does not require adhesive but simply clicks into place. It can be installed wherever marmoleum can be installed and is just as durable. The floor can be walked on immediately after installation. The cost averages about $5-6 dollars per square foot, uninstalled.

Lasting Beauty

Whether you are building a new home or contemplating a remodel of your old one, marmoleum flooring may be just the floor covering that you are looking for. With so many colors available, and so many possible patterns and borders you can create a unique, custom look that will last for generations.

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    • delaneyworld profile image

      delaneyworld 3 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      Great article! Thank you for the information. I am looking into this, as it sounds like it would be totally worth the investment! Thanks again!

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 4 years ago from Oklahoma

      Wow! Never heard of this flooring before, but it looks wonderful. I love the idea of the bold colors, and the non-static surface. I hate that most linoleum and tile only comes in a few neutral colors. I like a lot of color, and being able to create patterns with it would be challenging and unique.

      Thanks for the great information, I am definitely placing this on my wish list.

    • profile image

      brilliant 4 years ago

      Marmoleum is a great product. I've read the comments and here are a few more tidbits to answer some questions:

      Sheets are 6'7" wide and are either 2.0 or 2.5 mm thick.

      A professional has to install the sheet flooring in order for it to be under warranty.

      The Click system is DIY friendly. The material itself cost more than the sheet flooring, but the install is way, way cheaper.

      Sheet flooring has to be installed in bathrooms and other wet locations.

      The Click systems can be installed everywhere else. The reason the CLick system cannot be used in wet locations is the HDF that allows the planks to be clicked together. If this gets wet, it expands and will warp. So if you are at all worried about water damage....go with the the glue down system.

    • profile image

      LSmith 5 years ago

      I LOVE marmoleum! I had it put in one of my bathrooms 2 years ago, and purchased more for my kitchen, master bathroom and entryway. Water issue in bathroom is a non-issue; if you get water on the floor, wipe/mop it up, no problem. It is a little pricey, but I have been VERY happy with it, and think it's worth every penny!

    • Athlyn Green profile image

      Athlyn Green 5 years ago from West Kootenays

      It's encouraging to see the trend towards green home products. This flooring is a good idea.

    • profile image

      Interested 5 years ago

      how does water effect this product? Is it harmful? What happens?

    • profile image

      dev singapore 6 years ago

      we are planning to use this product for oil carrying ships accomodation flooring, where people with heavy shoes will walk on it , drag things on it day in day out for next 20 years, hope this holds such rough handling

    • Marye Audet profile image
      Author

      Marye Audet 6 years ago from Lancaster, Texas

      no, it is my understanding that marmoleum is more like linoleum.

    • Jennie Demario profile image

      Venture Boyz 6 years ago from Floating in the clouds

      I have pergo flooring. It looks great but I am so paranoid about water because the planks can get damaged and warped with tiny amounts of water. Is this typical of Marmoleum as well?

    • ournote2self profile image

      ournote2self 6 years ago

      Wow, I learn something new every day. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Mcmatt 6 years ago

      i've installed marmoleum in three different bathrooms and it is fantastic material. Yes, the sheets can be difficult to work with, but once they are down water "beads" atop the floor with no damage at all. One issue is that it can be slippery when wet (kids coming out of the tub)... And if you're using sheets, be sure to get every seam/nailhead/piece-of-grit smoothed out, because it will be visible through the floor (to the OCD observer...).

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      Vted up and rated several buttons. This flooring sounds almost miraculous.

    • profile image

      sharp flooring 6 years ago

      my flooring rocks hello am a floor layer with 15yr experiance you can lay on concrete but you will need to shot blast the paint off the floor then make sure there is no loose particules then prime the floor then screed then feather finish if needed not as bad as it sounds assuming theres no damp

    • Bmosaics profile image

      Bmosaics 6 years ago from USA

      Those floors look great and I love the fact that they're eco-friendly.

    • profile image

      justme 6 years ago

      have a marmoleum floor for years, it is great,

    • profile image

      vitrified 6 years ago

      Interesting for marmoleum material for floor. Is it also suitable for area always wet like kitchen and bathroom?

    • profile image

      Ann Silversides 6 years ago

      We put marmoleum in our kitchen 23 years ago and it is still good today, after years of heavy traffic. Only one spot shows wear -- where the dog used to eat and slop water around -- but I read above that maybe that can be sanded down (?). If not, I still have a piece of the original so we can replace it.

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 6 years ago from Houston TX

      Information article.Actually, my first time of hearing about this type of flooring and it really interested me a lot.

    • profile image

      pankajzigma 6 years ago

      It's a good site for interior designers..but still some more details to be feed, like ready available sizes, color and thickness of tiles....otherwise its fantastic...

    • profile image

      Patricia McMahon 6 years ago

      I work for high-end interior designers as a decorative painter and have the good fortune to see the best of everything. Marmoleum is beautiful, versital, and a "green" product. Spend the extra $$$ and forgo other wasteful spending. You will not regret it.

    • profile image

      Mark 6 years ago

      We have this flooring throughout our 18 month old, 80,000 sq ft school buildings and it has shown none of the negative effects advertised here. It does not stain, period. If 2000 kids a day can't stain it, I'm betting it can't be stained. Most of the flooring looks the same now as it did before the first step was placed on it. I will say that it is 'soft' and can be damaged by sharp objects (broken chair legs, etc) so proper equipment maintenance is critical.

    • profile image

      Ronald Hart 6 years ago

      This is a very interesting hub. I have heard only very little about Marmoleum flooring, but it seems like it is a great product. It seems like they are very durable and it is a nice bonus that they are easy to clean. Are they pretty easy to install yourself?

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

      This is really interesting, love the first picture. Watched a few videos...appreciate the share:) Always nice to hear about new and upcoming products!

    • profile image

      suggie31 7 years ago

      this is................. nice:)

    • profile image

      oldbooklover 7 years ago

      I love this product. The colors are truly brilliant. It feels friendlier in so many ways than porcelain tile. I like it better than these fake forms of hardwood flooring that are now so popular. I have seen its predecessors stand up to heavy wear for decades.

      Thanks for spreading the word, Marye.

    • brntshel profile image

      brntshel 7 years ago from Summerville SC

      Sceptic makes a bunch of very true points about this flooring. It is made out of wood products, it does have to be put down on a subfloor (an almost perfect subfloor) which is using more wood (so much for saving the trees), then the sub floor has to be floated out with leveling compound (chemicals), for this type of flooring to last 50 years is supposed to be treated with linseed oil so that the wood material does not dry out (this is if the flooring is true to it's form) and to boot it is so rediculously expensive to buy and install you could put the same floor in three times with another material and save money. Not to mention this flooring is not good in bathrooms or kitchen due to potential water issues. Remember it is a wood product and wood acts like a sponge with water.

      This flooring does have it's applications...If you want something for the look because it is beautiful. It is also good for individuals who have immune system problems because most bacteria can not live on this type of flooring.

    • profile image

      Sceptic 7 years ago

      'Best of all, unlike vinyl, it does not off gas VOCs'

      Vinyl flooring manufactured in a responsible manner has next to no VOC's and when installed with Solvent Free adhesives is extremely durable and sustainable.

      'Best of All…It's Green'

      This seems to be a comment that slips off the tongues of many designers and architects because is can be a lucrative thing to say. Linoleum requires a huge amount of energy in the manufacturing process, it has to sit in a drying room for 2 weeks, that does not sound very 'green'

      'The floor does not stain and there is no need to wax'

      This is very misleading, you are essentially dealing with a sheet wood product and it stains very easily. All manufacturers have some sort of polyurethane surface protection but once the flooring is stained, replacement is the only course of action, surface repair is not an option.

      Aesthetically Linoleum is very nice and has been popular for many years but be very careful with your application and the way you care for it.

    • frogyfish profile image

      frogyfish 7 years ago from Central United States of America

      This is fantastic new information to me. Amazing that there are no VOCs and that it is antibacterial. Maybe the cost will come down as it becomes more well known? Thank you for giving out this great information!

    • angelaglancy profile image

      angelaglancy 7 years ago from Seattle

      This is an amazingly easy to use material, and it is extremely easy to create any look that you wish. Nice hub.

    • relica profile image

      relica 7 years ago from California

      This is a great product. We put in a basement floor last year, and it worked really and looks fantastic. Great hub.

    • aleida_77 profile image

      aleida_77 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      I love the idea of cutting out the design for your floor. What a fun product to work with. Thanks for the informative hub.

    • profile image

      Marmoleum Floor Lover 7 years ago

      I've actually taken Marmoleum to the next level of design. It turns out that this material is more versatile than we once thought. I've gone as far as using it in the art I create as well as the floors in my house. What I love most are the colors.

    • David Alan Carter profile image

      David Alan Carter 7 years ago

      Good information. Just starting to gather my thoughts on a kitchen remodel. Thanks for introducing me to this product. -David

    • profile image

      Sue Long 7 years ago

      I am renovating a small house built in 1910. It will be only the 2nd house in Austin TX to qualify for both a City Historic Marker and the City Green Building Program. Green building and historic renovation do not always go together and I have had to make many adjustments and compromises for one or the other. Marmoleum was the perfect choice for a historic material AND a green material.

    • profile image

      Chris Hanson 7 years ago

      Looks amazing - I need to ask if it can be put down onto a concrete floor. I am finishing a reno of a basement and 1/2 the floor is painted concrete and the rest is Manei Planipatch for leveling.

    • profile image

      My Flooring Rocks  7 years ago

      Hi, This is a very interesting information. I never heard of Marmoleum before, and I'm very much into green materials. I had my kitchen floor done with ceramic tiles.

    • Flooring Guru profile image

      Flooring Guru 8 years ago

      I love that this is a green flooring option. Great hub!

    • homematchmakers profile image

      homematchmakers 8 years ago from Miami, Florida

      I actually considered this material about a year ago. I love everything about it. I love all the choices given, the durability and the fact that it is a green product. My only concern was the cost. At that time it was too expensive for me. However, had I been able to afford it then, I just might have been walking on it now. Thanks for sharing!

    • johnr54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 8 years ago from Texas

      This is the first I'd heard of this type of flooring, but I like the concept. We are redoing the kitchen in stages, so this info will be handy to have.