How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

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Linoleum is a rather specific type of flooring. In order not to be among those who have to complain about the fragility or impracticality of linoleum, let’s look at what are the features of its use, why there are so many types on the market, and how to choose the material you need.

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

What is modern linoleum

The technology for making linoleum has been known for a very long time: a coarse woven fabric made of hemp or linseed fibers was impregnated with polymerized linseed oil and dissolved pine resin, resulting in elastic and durable sheets.

Natural materials have not lost their popularity: crumbs of ordinary or cork wood are still used as a filler, and the bonding fill – linoleum cement – is made from rubber, specially prepared vegetable oils and wood resins.

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications An example of the structure of linoleum: 1 – non-woven base; 2 – foamed layer; 3 – fiberglass; 4 – front layer with a pattern; 5 – the main layer of protection; 6 – additional protective layer

The basis can be a synthetic canvas, fiberglass or polyester, cement is made mainly from polyvinyl chloride. Synthetic coatings can be single or multi-layer, in technical terms, homo- and heterogeneous. Homogeneous linoleum does not differ in a variety of patterns and colors, but is characterized by increased wear resistance. Heterogeneous coatings are arranged quite complexly; in cheap samples, artistic delights almost always work at the expense of physical and mechanical qualities.

Types and their application

Household varieties are characterized by high environmental friendliness and a variety of patterns. High-quality natural linoleum is not inferior in its characteristics to newfangled synthetic, while it looks natural and very warm. Linoleum for residential premises can be either single or multi-layer, the latter for the most part refers to unnatural coatings.

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

General purpose “commercial” linoleum is usually synthetic. It is characterized by high wear resistance, which is useful for laying in areas with high traffic loads: office, industrial and commercial premises, utility rooms or corridors. The colors of such linoleum are usually monochrome and have neutral tones. Monochrome materials are of a homogeneous type, patterns and textures are typical for multi-layer coatings.

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

There are also special varieties. These include heterogeneous linoleum with a surface reinforced with polyurethane, the purpose of which is gyms, gyms, warehouses, and in some cases even parking lots and open areas. Due to its high density and strength, this linoleum tolerates both static and intense dynamic loads well..

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

The thickness and width of linoleum

The scope of application of linoleum is determined by its wear resistance. It, in turn, depends on the thickness of the protective coating, the strength of the base canvas and the elasticity of the filler. Linoleum up to 1.5 mm thick usually has only a thin (up to 0.2 mm) vinyl film on the surface, or is not protected at all. The other extreme is the absence of a woven canvas in thin linoleum. This is the sin of baseless products, some of which, in fairness, do not really need it. Thin coatings are completely renewed once every 3-4 years during cosmetic repairs. The advantage is the low cost, plus more often there will be an opportunity to “play” with the design of the room. Such linoleum is ideal for bedrooms, but in other rooms it is also applicable if the walk-through area is covered with a carpet..

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

A good thick coating has linoleum 2–2.5 mm thick. It is better to roll it out in the kitchen or in children’s rooms, where there is a high risk of damaging the floor. It is not suitable for the hallway and corridors, it is better to lay 3, 3.5 and 4 mm canvases in them with a layer of protective coating of 0.5–0.7 mm. The maximum thickness of linoleum is 4.5 mm, these are already commercial options. The rule “the thicker – the stronger” is almost always true, with the exception of some varieties of synthetic linoleum: due to more advanced production technology, they have a high density and less thickness with the same strength.

Standard widths are from 1.5 to 5 meters, “adjacent” standard sizes differ by 0.5 meters. You need to choose so that the linoleum is wider than the short wall of the room, that is, it lies on a solid canvas. If this is not possible, you will have to resort to soldering, solderless bonding or floor zoning..

Texture, texture and color

In the abundance of artistic and design solutions, only laminate can compete with linoleum.

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

The simplest coatings are monochrome. Due to their single layer nature, they represent a thick and durable film that is almost insensitive to mechanical stress. Rubs in over time, especially in passable zones, but it is quite easy to eliminate it with renewing grinding. It is used mainly in offices and public institutions, although when several monochrome coatings are soldered into a pattern, the floor takes on a completely prestigious look for a living space. A subspecies of monochrome coatings – granular linoleum, imitating granite.

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

Linoleum is known to almost everyone, imitating wood fibers with its pattern. Quite often, for a change, a floral or geometric ornament is applied to them. Almost half of the “woody” varieties are flooring imitating palace or artistic parquet. In any case, the drawing can also be accompanied by embossing, this linoleum looks even more natural.

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

Actually, it makes no difference to manufacturers which drawing to print, so their regional representatives are happy to take on exclusive orders. Options are possible up to photopolygraphy or applying a corporate logo. It costs money, but it also provides additional opportunities for large companies and individual design projects..

The main arguments against linoleum on the floor

In conclusion, we will consider the main excuses to abandon linoleum and how they are justified.

One of the myths is that linoleum on the floor will be very cold. There is some truth in this, but in terms of the coefficient of thermal conductivity, natural linoleum is comparable to wood. Synthetic linoleum prevents heat outflow somewhat worse, but this is eliminated by a foam or jute backing.

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

The second argument against linoleum is also associated with tactile sensations: because of the soft glossy film, the floor literally sticks to your feet. This is true, although with embossed coatings this effect is less noticeable..

Short-lived linoleum is another subject of constant discussion. Cheap – of course, it all depends on the class of wear resistance and proper styling, for some products, manufacturers call the service life more than 10 years.

How to choose linoleum: types, types, specifications

Finally, linoleum is often referred to as a material hazardous to health. Judge for yourself: natural linoleum contains only natural components, while synthetic one consists of very stable and chemically inert polymers. In the latter case, a high level of radiological safety can be cited as a plus: there are practically no impurities in production raw materials, which cannot be said with certainty about natural.

A completely fair drawback of linoleum – it needs to be changed completely in case of damage. For the most part, this happens when strong dyes, ink, brilliant green are spilled on the floor. Stains and dirt in linoleum are eaten really hard, so it needs frequent wet cleaning.

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