Natural and PVC linoleum: what to choose

This material is stiffer and denser than household materials and is usually used for covering floors in hotels and offices. If PVC linoleum is used for home conditions, then recesses from the furniture legs will not appear on it.

According to the survey, 50% of Russians cover kitchen floors with linoleum, 15% – corridors, 5% – living rooms. Only 6% of the surveyed population buys linoleum for all premises in the house.

Natural and PVC linoleum: what to choose

Almost everyone knows in general terms that linoleum is an inexpensive, waterproof, practical and easy-to-maintain floor covering that you can even lay yourself. That its service life is quite long – up to 15 years. But, nevertheless, you need to know about some of its other useful qualities that will help to give any apartment a comfortable and beautiful look. This will be discussed further..

The term “linoleum”, which is used in everyday life, is not entirely correct. Experts designate them only natural material, which consists of a mixture of crushed oak bark, coniferous and linseed oils, a mixture of wood flour applied to a jute base.

There are various types of linoleum, but most of them are not used as flooring for houses or apartments..

Natural and PVC linoleum: what to choose

For example, glyphthalic linoleum is a fabric that is coated on one side with a layer of alkyd resins, and on the other with an anti-rotting composition. This material, in comparison with PVC coatings, has high strength, better sound and heat insulation properties, but it is more fragile.

Nitrolinoleum (colloxylin linoleum) is made from a processed nitrating cellulose mixture. Such linoleum is very elastic and has good moisture resistance, but its use is limited, due to the increased flammability.

Relin (rubber linoleum) is made from a mixture of synthetic rubbers, which is applied to a rubber base, and a heat-insulating intermediate layer of porous rubber. This linoleum is durable, resilient and water resistant. They cover the floors of industrial premises, garages, wagons.

Among all types of linoleum, PVC coatings account for 80% of total sales. Polyvinyl chloride coatings are widely represented in the Russian market. Their manufacturers are: international concerns Forbo, Tarkett and Armstrong DLW; European companies Juteks (Slovenia), Gerflor (France), Upofloor (Finland), Graboplast (Hungary), Polyflor (Great Britain), Domo (Belgium); Russian firms Stroypolymer and Mosstroyplastmass, etc..

PVC linoleum, depending on its area of ​​application and degree of wear resistance, is divided into the following types:

  • commercial (used for premises with significant floor load);
  • semi-commercial (used to cover floors in small hotels, offices);
  • household (used to cover floors in houses and apartments).

Natural and PVC linoleum: what to choose

As a rule, the old household linoleum is replaced with a new one during a major overhaul, which is usually carried out in a residential building about once every 10-12 years. Naturally, every owner dreams of making the floor so that it is easy to use and pleasing to the eye throughout this period. The money invested in flooring can be regarded as a long-term investment. And, in theory, it is necessary to start the choice of material for the floor by finding out its durability.

However, the marketing research indicators show otherwise. Probably, due to the fact that our compatriots are attracted by everything beautiful, when making a purchase, they are guided mainly by the appearance of this or that material, and only then they think about its durability. The result of such carelessness is ingrained dirt, wavy floor surfaces, scratches, loose seams and, of course, a spoiled mood.

PVC covers that are intended for the home have a very diverse design. They can be traditional or improved with various additional properties. Sometimes the floors in living quarters are covered with semi-commercial PVC linoleum.

All these species usually have the following multilayer structure:

  • working layer made of PVC, which for a long time protects the coating from tears, scratches, and also does not allow the pattern to be erased;
  • a decorative layer that gives linoleum an aesthetic appearance and an interesting design;
  • carrier layer serving as the basis for the drawing;
  • the main, reinforcing layer of fiberglass, which determines the scope and quality of the coating;
  • backing (jute, polyester, foamed PVC, cork, felt, etc.), which provides additional heat and sound insulation.
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The PVC multilayer coating usually has a thickness of 1.5 mm to 4.5 mm. The durability of linoleum mainly depends on the thickness of the working layer, which can be from 0.15 mm to 0.3 mm. Depending on the abrasion, density and thickness of the working layer, the material belongs to one or another class of wear resistance (21 cl. – from 0.15 mm to 0.2 mm, 23 cl. – from 0.25 mm to 0.3 mm and etc.). The higher the class of the coating, the longer its service life and the more load it can withstand. Thus, class 21 PVC linoleum is recommended only for bedrooms, and can last up to 5 years on average. It is not designed for heavy loads such as the constant movement of chairs, the movement of heavy objects, or the impact of women’s shoes on stiletto heels. For children’s and living rooms, you can use class 22 material, its service life is about 10 years. However, the children’s room can be considered an extreme zone of the apartment, as well as the corridor and the kitchen. Therefore, as a floor covering, it is better to use linoleum of class 23, or 31 (semi-commercial). Both coatings will last at least 10-15 years.

Natural and PVC linoleum: what to choose

Few buyers pay attention to such a characteristic of household PVC linoleums as their weight. Comparing the two samples you like, you need to know that the greater the mass of the coating, the higher its density, and hence the durability and strength. But, nevertheless, you should not buy linoleum with a very large mass, since this significantly increases not only its cost, but also increases the total load on the floor in the house..

Another important parameter that is worth paying attention to is the permanent deformation of the coating, that is, whether traces will remain on it after the moved piece of furniture or not. To obtain such information, linoleum at a temperature of 23 ° C for 150 minutes is subjected to a load with a special flat stamp, and then the residual indentation depth is determined. These indicators are regulated. For semi-commercial coatings, permanent deformation should not be more than 0.3 mm, and for household coatings, no more than 1.2 mm.

A very specific indicator is the flexibility of the material. Linoleum is sometimes subjected to unprofessional bending, such as when delivered from a store or during installation. Some buyers, when purchasing PVC linoleum 3-4 meters wide, instead of twisting the material into a roll, ask to fold it in four. This cannot be done, since there is a risk of ruining the surface with various creases or damaging the fiberglass base.

The water absorption of PVC coatings is 1–1.5%. They hardly absorb moisture. However, if any liquid accidentally falls under the coating, the substrate can absorb it. Since the top layers are dense, moisture does not evaporate, which can cause an unpleasant odor. Therefore, it is not recommended to cover floors in rooms with a high level of humidity (for example, in bathrooms or kitchens) with a material on a felt backing..

The fire safety of PVC linoleum is a very important characteristic in the case of its commercial use, that is, in places where mass injury of people is possible (in supermarkets, offices, etc.). The fire resistance of such materials is increased with the help of special additives. All household coatings also have a very high degree of flammability (G4). The temperature at which they begin to melt or burn must be indicated on the fire certificate of each material..

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Various noises and sounds that surround a person affect his well-being and performance. PVC linoleum has the ability to muffle sounds that occur when objects are dropped or walking, as well as shock noises by 2–19 dB. In addition, it is able to reduce airborne noise levels. This beneficial effect is very noticeable compared to parquet and laminate..

The sound-absorbing and heat-insulating properties of the coating directly depend on its thickness. They are most noticeable with a linoleum thickness of more than 3.4 mm. Experienced experts believe that a material having a mechanically foamed polyvinyl chloride substrate retains these positive qualities longer than others. It is such linoleum that is best suited for bedrooms and children’s.

Natural and PVC linoleum: what to choose

The foam backing is made chemically or mechanically. In the first variant of production, the structure of the cells of the linoleum base turns out to be closed, and under the influence of pressure on it from heavy objects, air bubbles begin to flatten and burst. In the second, the air cells communicate with each other, and during the load, the air moves from one cavity to another, and when the load stops, it returns to its original place. But the cost of “mechanical” foam is higher.

When covering heated floors with PVC linoleum, it must be borne in mind that the floor temperature should not be more than 28 ° С.

Substrates in modern PVC coatings are made from various materials. The most common of them are polyamide or polyester, which looks like felt..

Substrates on a polyester or polyamide base do not lose their qualities at temperature extremes. Therefore, they can be laid on balconies or summer cottages that are not heated in winter. But it is better not to use a foam-based material for such purposes. Such linoleums have a porous structure that easily accumulates moisture. As a result of repeated freezing and thawing, the walls between the air cavities are destroyed. Of course, the substrate will not immediately crumble, but its life will be much shorter..

Foam-based coatings have their own merits. For example, they have very low thermal conductivity. Therefore, they perfectly isolate the room from the cold concrete screed..

PVC coverings for those areas where the floor is very often wet (for example, kitchen, corridor) should not be slippery. The safest materials are those that provide good adhesion of the surface to the sole of the shoe, thanks to the embossed layer. Such a layer is created chemically, by adding special microparticles to the top layer, or by mechanical embossing. Anti-slip coating is made by most companies.

Natural and PVC linoleum: what to choose

PVC coatings that imitate the embossed texture of stone or wood have a very impressive appearance. Of course, zealous housewives at the sight of such a floor covering will immediately have a question as to how easy it is to clean this original covering. Indeed, usually, dirt tends to penetrate into the smallest pores of the working surface and eat into it. To avoid such troubles, many manufacturers cover PVC linoleum with additional polyurethane protection, which completely seals all existing cracks and prevents dust and dirt from entering the pores of the coating, making it easy and pleasant to clean such a surface..

Everyone knows that a humid environment is a great place for pathogenic bacteria to exist, as well as for their rapid reproduction. A clean and dry surface of PVC linoleum prevents this negative process. However, some major manufacturers find that floors in bedrooms, nurseries and kitchens require additional protection. The Tarkett concern uses the Sanitized antibacterial layer in its Welcome and Moda collections. Juteks also produces PVC linoleum with antimicrobial action (Mega collection). The Belgian company Domo has developed an antibacterial agent Microban, whose polymer molecules can destroy bacterial cells.

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However, during operation, these beneficial properties are gradually lost..

The best antibacterial material is natural linoleum. It contains flaxseed oil, which serves as an antiseptic throughout the entire period of operation. In addition, the evaporation of the oil provides inhalation, thereby strengthening the immunity of everyone in the room..

PVC coating appeared on the market not so long ago (about 50 years ago), but almost everyone already knows about it. And natural linoleum, which has been produced for 140 years, cannot reach the same level of popularity. This coating is environmentally friendly, it is made exclusively from natural ingredients. Linseed oil and coniferous resins (rosin) serve as binders, which prevent pathogenic bacteria from growing on linoleum. It is completely safe for human health, moreover, it is even recommended for people with allergic diseases and respiratory system disorders.

Natural and PVC linoleum: what to choose

The material has increased wear resistance. Even the thinnest (2 mm) natural linoleum will last for several decades at home. Due to the gradual evaporation of linseed oil and a decrease in elasticity, this product becomes even harder over time. Natural linoleum, like its brothers, is not afraid of moisture.

No static electricity is generated on the surface of natural linoleum, which is very important for modern kitchens, which are saturated with various electrical equipment. Of course, it will not be able to disable electrical appliances, but it will be able to cause extraneous noise in the phone or radio, interference on the TV screen and even electric shocks as a result of contact with metal objects.

Dark melted stains from hot cigarette ash do not appear on natural linoleum, which cannot be said about PVC coating. It will not be difficult to remove tobacco tar from natural linoleum. This can be easily done with alcohol or a special cleaner..

This coating has a low level of flexibility and plasticity, therefore, during transportation and installation, it cannot be sharply bent. The first 6 weeks after laying natural linoleum should not be subjected to heavy loads, since during this period it can be very easily scratched.

Several decades ago, in most apartments in new buildings, floors were covered with linoleum. Nowadays, most houses are rented out without floor covering at all, or they have cheap laminate flooring. Experts recommend using elastic materials such as carpet or linoleum for covering floors in new apartments, since new buildings tend to settle..

Natural and PVC linoleum: what to choose

Flooring natural and PVC linoleum requires special skills. Those who think otherwise are deeply mistaken. This is confirmed by the typical problems that might not have happened if the flooring was done by a professional. For example, if you lay the coating on a damp base, apply too thick, or vice versa, a very thin layer of glue, then blisters appear. Insufficient acclimatization of the material leads to the formation of waves.

The surface to be covered with linoleum must be smooth and even. Today, many different leveling compounds are sold in hardware stores, so this is quite simple to do. It is very important to choose the right adhesive.

Special skills and knowledge are required when laying a new coating on an old one. In this case, you cannot do without the help of a professional, especially since their work is not so expensive. Only experts can make your floor flawless and durable.

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