(ARA) - The word "linoleum" may call to mind the indestructible -- yet nondescript -- hallways of your high school. Or, you may say, "that's what we have on our kitchen floor." Either image misses the mark when it comes to modern incarnations of this durable, environmentally friendly natural product.
Today's linoleum retains the resistance to wear that made it the flooring material of choice for our parents and grandparents. Yet contemporary products can also offer ease of installation -- Marmoleum Click, for example, can be installed by any moderately skilled do-it-yourselfer -- and a variety of colors and patterns to complement virtually any modern d cor. Clearly, this is not your parents' linoleum.
"Most people confuse linoleum with vinyl," points out Scott Day of Forbo Flooring, manufacturers of Marmoleum and Marmoleum Click products. "The two products are very different in terms of durability and, especially, environmental impact."
Linoleum is an agriculturally based composite of solidified linseed oil, wood flour and pine resin over a natural fiber (jute) backing. Linoleum does not give off fumes (as some vinyl does) and dust mites cannot live or breed on it, so it's a good flooring choice for allergy or asthma sufferers. Color added to the material goes all the way through, so a scratched section of linoleum is repairable. Pigment and patterns in vinyl are on the surface of the floor, so scratched or torn vinyl can only be replaced, not repaired.
Its durability, flexibility and ease of cleaning have long made linoleum the flooring material of choice for hospitals and other high-traffic facilities. Now, says Day, decorators and homeowners are also rediscovering linoleum's appeal for use in the home.
So if you're looking for just the right spot to incorporate it into your home d cor, consider some of these popular uses:
* Children's room
Perfect for any area likely to experience plenty of spills and tracked-in dirt, linoleum also offers greater pattern-building flexibility than plain carpet. Consider starting with a darker base color and incorporating the alphabet, numbers or even punctuation marks into a broad pattern throughout the room.
There's a reason why our grandmothers all wanted linoleum floors in their kitchen. Durable and easy to clean, linoleum resists wear and tear better than vinyl, carpet or hardwood flooring.
* Mud room, entryway or near the patio door
High traffic areas demand sturdy flooring. Linoleum performs especially well in environments where there may be a lot of dampness or water -- such as near patio doors that lead to a swimming pool. Courtesy of ARA Content