Natural linoleum is a material that has received well-deserved recognition from specialists all over the world. Environmental friendliness, bright colors, a variety of collections are indisputable advantages when choosing a floor covering. But in Russia this material is not yet known enough. …
Natural linoleum is one of the oldest floor coverings invented by mankind. The predecessor of linoleum is the so-called oiled linen, patented in 1627. Already in the 18th century, it found application as a floor covering, and the composition of this covering was not much different from the modern one. During the manufacturing process, a hot mixture of linseed oil, beeswax, resin, resin and dye was applied to the fabric. In 1843, ground cork bark was introduced into the composition, that is, they created a direct predecessor of modern natural linoleum, called camptulikon.
The process of making linoleum was gradually improved, becoming more technological and less expensive. Gradually, some components were replaced with linseed oil, linseed oil, linoxin (oxidized linseed oil). The technology for the production of linoxin and flooring based on it was patented by the Englishman Frederick Walton in 1863. He invented and patented the very name linoleum (from Latin – linseed oil). The industrial production of linoleum first began in 1864 in Great Britain. By the beginning of the 20th century, Russia had become one of the main producers of linoleum; large factories were located in the port cities of Odessa and Riga. That linoleum was a completely utilitarian monochrome brown coating, oily to the touch, with a noticeable smell of fish oil. It was impossible to paint the coating due to the irresistible natural color of the oxidized wood-resin paste. Outwardly not attractive material had a very high wear resistance and was used in electric trains, buses, metro cars…
At the end of the 50s, on the wave of synthetic optimism, Nikita Khrushchev closed Soviet linoleum factories in one fell swoop, the country switched to the production of roll materials from PVC (which in common parlance were also called linoleum). Similar processes took place in the world – manufacturers of floor coverings were rapidly switching to new technologies….
Natural linoleum attracted attention again when the ’73 oil crisis spiked the prices of oil and everything that was made of it, including PVC. At the same time, a technology for the oxidation of lime-resin granules was developed, which made it possible to obtain a coating of any color. At the same time, the environmental movement began to develop noticeably….
Against this background, natural linoleum began its triumphant return. Now the production of natural linoleum is continued by Forbo (at least 60% of the world market), DLW and Tarkett. The global market for natural linoleum is at least 40 million square meters per year. The most famous brand is Marmoleum, produced by the Forbo concern in Holland (Forbo-Crommeny plant) and Scotland (Forbo-Nairn).
The natural linoleum production process begins with the manufacture of linoleum mass from wood flour, coniferous resin, crushed lime and linseed oil. This mass ripens within a week in Marmoleum vivace bins at temperatures above 30 degrees. Then natural dyes are added to the mass, and as a result of the oxidation of linseed oil, multi-colored granules are obtained. After mixing granules of various colors and concentrations (from monochrome in the Walton Marmoleum collection, to eight-color in the Vivace Marmoleum collection), the resulting mixture is pressed in a calender machine. The resulting material 1 m wide is cut into strips, overlapped on a jute base and passed through a calender again. An exceptionally dense structure is obtained (the mass is pressed from a thickness of 5 cm to 2 mm). The plume of this material is transferred to drying chambers, where it matures for two weeks, turning into linoleum by the end of the process. The resulting coating is processed with the ETC (easy to clean) system, which is necessary so that during operation the coating is less worn out and easier to clean.
Modern production is inconceivable without elaboration of not only technological and economic strategies, but also a tireless search for new color and stylistic solutions. As a result, the collections of natural linoleum have by now won the well-deserved recognition that has manifested itself in thousands and thousands of completed projects. Natural linoleum has become a recognized tool for self-realization of artists – for many years a special architectural and design magazine Archidea (ArchIdeA) has been published, dedicated to a single topic – working with natural linoleum.
One of the most unusual and intriguing floor coverings produced at the Forbo-Crommeni plant is embossed linoleum, with a clearly manifested texture. A gorgeous imitation of crocodile skin is presented in the Crocodile collection, sand washed by the sea wave in the Marmoleum / WAVE collection. Since the past, 2003, the Romance collection began to be produced, consisting of relief, restrained and respectable designs in the Art Nouveau style.
In 1995, at the Forbo Crommeni factory, the Artoleum collection, revolutionary in terms of color solutions, was launched into production. The color range of the collection is based on the paintings of the great Dutch artists – Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin and their contemporaries. Through a bold and paradoxical combination of colors and the use of a complex system of associations, innovative coatings with a bright palette of structures are obtained. Combinations of these revolutionary floor coverings with the overall style of the premises have been selected and successfully tested. Thus, the Artoleum Pass sub-collection, consisting of bright intense color combinations based on paintings by van Gogh, embodies the passion of color and harmoniously fits into stylish, bright avant-garde interiors. Another sub-collection of Artoleum Graffiks, designed in engraved black and white colors, goes well with high-tech interiors…
In the new year 2004, the Forbo design center, in collaboration with the renowned Italian designer Mendini, presented Marmoleum real to the public with a new vision of flooring design. The Marmoleum Meets Mendini collection, created with the participation of a multiple winner of the most prestigious design awards, represents the unity of fashion and recognized world quality.
Properties and applications
Thanks to the latest technologies and production features, collections of natural linoleum stand out on the market of building and finishing materials with a number of distinctive features:
The composition and technical properties of linoleum are determined in accordance with the requirements of the EN548 and EN670 standards. Linoleum is produced in rolls and tiles, and in rolls – 90% of the release. Roll width is 2 m, standard for contract coverings, linoleum thickness ranges from 2 mm for general use, up to 2.5 mm for heavy-duty and industrial applications, and two special products with a thickness of 3.2 and 4 mm. Linoleum of this thickness is used in public and industrial premises with the highest possible loads, including in public transport – in the metro, buses and suburban trains.
Natural linoleum has natural bactericidal properties and meets the requirements for ease of disinfection, cleaning, and maintenance. Therefore, it has found wide application in medical and health institutions, as well as in children’s and educational institutions (kindergartens, schools, universities). Bacteriostaticity (the ability to prevent the growth of bacteria) is carried out due to the linseed oil contained in linoleum. Flaxseed oil itself is the strongest therapeutic and prophylactic agent..
The most important components of flaxseed oil are unsaturated fatty acids. It is these components, otherwise referred to as vitamin F, are the most active substances that prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria, lower blood cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cancer, dramatically reduce allergic and inflammatory reactions, improve insulin metabolism, etc. The existing test results confirm the clear effect of natural linoleum on the bacterium of the rainbow staphylococcus. The use of water during operation does not in any way reduce this property of natural linoleum – since the oil does not dissolve with water.
Natural linoleum is practically non-flammable, there are no visible traces of unextinguished cigarette butts on it. This makes it very attractive for use in bars, cafes and discos..
Natural linoleum is an antistatic coating that does not generate static electricity, so it can be used in rooms with special requirements, in which special equipment is installed, as a rule, it is very expensive. In addition, there are special types of linoleum – conductive and acoustic.
Natural linoleum is resistant to fats and solvents, but loses its strength with prolonged exposure to alkali. The lightfastness of linoleum has a value of at least 6 (on an 8-point scale).
With proper care and maintenance, the lifespan of natural linoleum reaches 25-30 years. With the passage of time, it practically does not lose its aesthetic properties. So in the largest hospital in Amsterdam, natural linoleum, laid on an area of 100,000 square meters. m, has been in operation for over 20 years and is in excellent condition.
The only drawback of natural linoleum is that this material is not easy to install and requires professional installation using special glue. The purchase of natural linoleum from an official distributor with its own styling division is a guarantee of a long service life of the coating.
Natural linoleum is taking the first, still timid steps in our country. But the colossal potential, impeccable consumer qualities, incredible color combinations make it possible to confidently predict a great future for it.