In the first half of the 20th century, linoleum was widely used both in residential and in public objects. It was used in hospitals, schools, restaurants, halls, kitchens, etc., actually in all places which needed an endurable, waterproof floor which is easily maintained and difficult to stain. At one point, linoleum lost its popularity and it was replaced by other floorings. However, today, linoleum is coming back due to ecological tendencies of the contemporary world.
The most popular material from the first half of the 20th century was later classified as unfashionable and it was forgotten. Today, when it comes to ecology, recycling and positive influence on nature, linoleum is very important. It is slowly and safely coming back with its good characteristics. It is natural, ecological, warm, comfortable, antiallergic and antibacterial. It is excellent for the spaces in which are people with respiratory and allergy problems. It is also convenient for the rooms which need intensive cleaning, such as kindergartens, schools, healthcare centres. It is resistant, durable and lasting.
Linoleum is 140 years old. The word ‘linoleum’ comes from the Latin word ‘linium’ which means linseed and the Latin word ‘oleum’ which means oil. The main ingredient is linseed-oil but there are also pine resin, grinded remains of cork and wood, different pigments, limestone, etc. These ingredients make a mixture out of which the foundation is coated, which is usually a net made of jute, but it can also be a PVC net or wood depending on the purpose of linoleum.
The interesting fact is that the formula for making linoleum did not change from the day of its onset. The only thing that has changed is the production technology which is automatized, industrialized and applied to the time in which we live.
Linoleum is very often confused with vinyl. Linoleum and vinyl (or PVC) flooring really look alike and they have similar physical performances, but when it comes to characteristics, there are significant differences. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, however, linoleum has its natural elements and characteristics.
Linoleum is completely natural, 100% biodegradable material whose production, or usage, does not release toxins dangerous to humans or nature. On contrary, the linoleum ingredients are even useful, especially for people with respiratory problems. Due to its composition, linoleum is also antistatic, antiallergic and antibacterial.
Linoleum is also comfortable. It has got its softness and elasticity and it is a flooring which eases and amortize the pressure on the joints. This is very important especially in the rooms where longer standing is expected, such as offices, kitchens, etc.
Linoleum is a good sound and thermo insulator. It is warm and you can walk bare feet on it. Because of its softness and insulatory characteristics, you can choose your shoes from soft slippers to high heeled shoes – it makes no difference. All these characteristics provide comfortability for all.
Linoleum is extremely durable. In its cross section one layer on a foundation made of jute can be seen. This layer is usually 2-3mm thick and much time and lots of steps are needed for its wearing. Therefore linoleum can last for 20 to 30 years, and if properly maintained even longer.
The maintaining of linoleum is simple and ecological. It needs an occasional vacuuming and cleaning with a wet cloth and water which in which we added a couple of drops of neutral detergent. During cleaning, it is good to follow manufacturer’s instructions if we want to keep the floor’s shiny appearance. Occasionally, when we notice that the floor lost its shine and freshness, it is advisable to wax it.
The thing that makes linoleum attractive is its aesthetic dimension. Linoleum comes in many colours and designs. It imitates natural materials like marble, or even wood and it can be found with different prints. If we use linoleum panels, combining colours and designs we can achieve different effects and get various styles in space.
All these characteristics make linoleum very convenient for rooms with a large number of people, where fast and efficient cleaning is necessary, where the users need peace and quiet and where antistatic, antiallergic and antibacterial characteristics come high on the priority list. It is clear that this provides a wide usage of linoleum, both in public and private spaces.
Offices, health care centres, schools, nursing homes are just some of the institutions where linoleum is more than welcomed and in which, after a long-term usage, it showed as a logical, intelligent and an aesthetic solution.
When we speak of usage in private rooms, linoleum can certainly find its place in the kitchens, bathrooms and pantries, as well as in children’s rooms. Actually, you can use it in any room.
With modern choice of designs, linoleum will look attractively everywhere and most importantly, it will be healthy for you, for your family and for the environment.