Did you know that Marmoleum, (one of the hot ‘new’ flooring materials these days) was first created in the mid 1800s? Back then it was called linoleum, but over the years sheet vinyl flooring replaced linoleum because it was lighter and easier to work with. However, these days Marmoleum/linoleum is enjoying a newfound life for two important reasons. First off Marmoleum is a green, environmentally friendly, natural product, but in addition to that, people are rediscovering how practical and functional it is as flooring.
What’s so good about Marmoleum?
* It's a totally natural product made from linseed oil, pine resins, wood flour, chalk and clay all mixed together and pressed onto a jute backing. Since Marmoleum is made from totally natural products, it’s completely biologically degradable. After serving years as a beautiful floor covering, when it goes into a landfill, it will quickly degrade (unlike vinyl flooring that lives on for centuries).
* Since it's made from natural products, Marmoleum doesn’t give off any VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or other harmful chemicals and it's usually installed using solvent free adhesives. As a result, Marmoleum won’t induce breathing or health problems. This makes it great for people with allergies.
* The continual oxidation of the linseed oil acts as a natural bactericide and actually prevents microorganisms from growing on the surface.
* Marmoleum is colorful, beautiful and easy to clean. It’s available in a wide range of colors with the added advantage that the color is inside the flooring, so it can’t scratch off the surface.
* Cleaning is easy. All it requires is sweeping or a damp mopping to keep it looking beautiful.
* Marmoleum is hard wearing and long lasting. In fact, over time the linseed oil hardens making the floor even tougher. It stands up well to heavy traffic and the fact that it’s impervious to liquids and doesn’t stain, makes it a good choice for kitchens or bathrooms
* Marmoleum is static free, so your chances of getting a shock after walking across the floor are reduced and as an added bonus, without static, dust can’t stick to the floor.
Marmoleum does have a few disadvantages:
* Sheets of Marmoleum are heavy and awkward to move, so installing sheets of Marmoleum requires skill and practice. Unlike vinyl flooring, which can often be cut with scissors, Marmoleum needs to be cut with a flooring knife. It's unforgiving if a mistake is made.
* In an effort to make Marmoleum more DIY friendly, a number of manufacturers are now producing Marmoleum ‘click’ flooring. This is essentially HDF panels covered with Marmoleum designed to ‘click’ together (similar to laminate flooring). Usually available in 12” by 36” panels or 12” by 12” squares, the concept combines the hard wearing characteristics of Marmoleum sheeting with the ease of installation (and DIY friendliness) of click flooring.
* Marmoleum flooring isn’t just enjoying resurgence in home applications. Primarily because of its durability, ease of care, stain resistance and long lasting good looks, Marmoleum is being used in many institutional and industrial applications as well.
For many of us who are often looking for that ‘great new’ product for our homes, Marmoleum provides a great lesson. Just think about this product that’s over 100 years old. It’s totally natural and environmentally friendly, doesn't cause health problems, good looking, hard wearing and easy cleaning. How can any 'new' product be better than that?