Linoleum: the gold standard in natural floorcoverings
Linoleum is the oldest form of resilient floor covering,
invented in England in 1863 by Frederick Walton who coined the name
linoleum from the Latin name, linum, which means flax, and
oleum, which means oil. Until the 1950s linoleum was
a popular floor covering used widely in both residential and
commercial settings. With the advent of vinyl floor coverings that
took the market by storm, the tried and true but old fashioned
linoleum became less common.
Today as what may be called the ultimate in natural
floor-coverings, linoleum is enjoying a world wide resurgence in
Oxidized linseed oil (or a combination of oxidized linseed oil
and tall oil) and rosin are mixed with the other raw materials to
form linoleum granules, which are pressed onto a jute backing,
making linoleum sheets. These are then hung in drying rooms to
allow them to cure and to acquire the required flexibility and
resilience. To achieve maximum waste reduction all linoleum
remnants are recycled back into the production process. All
linoleum manufacturing at Tarkett takes place in accordance with
ISO 14001 standards.
For the technically minded -
Linseed oil, the most important raw material used to make
linoleum, is obtained by pressing the seeds of the flax plant. In
the past linseed oil was used as cooking oil, as well as for
lighting. Tall oil, a recycled post-industrial by-product of the
Kraft paper industry, is a resin based fatty acid. In combination
with linseed oil, it optimizes the oxidation process in the
production of linoleum.
Rosin, the binding agent in linoleum, is tapped from pine trees,
without affecting growth. Together with linseed oil, rosin gives
linoleum its strength and flexibility.
Wood flour is used to bind the pigments and to ensure colour
fastness. Linoleum will keep its beautiful, vibrant colours
throughout its lifespan. Another reason for using wood flour is
that it helps to optimize a smooth surface. Wood flour is made from
timber grown in controlled European forests, where every tree
felled is replaced.
Limestone is found all over the world in enormous quantities.
Very finely ground, it is a valuable ingredient of linoleum.
The most beautiful colours are created by using ecologically
responsible pigments that do not contain heavy metals such as lead
From the wide variety of materials available for making the
floor covering's backing we prefer natural jute. The yarn for the
webbing is spun from jute grown in India and Bangladesh. This also
makes vital economic contributions to these developing
Sooner or later - usually after around 25 to 40 years - linoleum
need to be replaced. Various options present themselves in terms of
waste disposal -
Burnt in an energy-recycling incineration plant, linoleum
products produce a residual calorific value that is comparable to
that of coal (18.6 Mj/kg). The amount of C0² released during
incineration is roughly equivalent to that taken up by the natural
raw materials used (flax plants, trees and jute plants). Therefore,
linoleum is a closed loop system: the energy obtained from
incinerating linoleum is roughly equivalent to or even more than
that which is used in production.
As a common alternative to incineration, linoleum can be safely
added to landfill refuse sites, where natural decomposition takes
place. Linoleum is fully biodegradable and does not release harmful
substances or gases such as chlorine and dioxins. As
linoleum's raw materials are provided by nature, and decomposition
returns linoleum to nature, this is essentially the ultimate form
No. Linoleum is made from natural materials so there is no
off gassing. Linoleum contains virtually no trace of toxic material
and is naturally beneficial to air quality.
Linoleum floors can be kept in good condition for a very long
time without need for major maintenance. Tarkett's XF finish mean
no sealers or polishers are required. The most effective
method for removing dust and loose dirt is by dry maintenance.
Linoleum is naturally anti-microbial so does not need liberal doses
No floor covering is perfect for every installation.
Linoleum must be protected from moisture in the subfloor, and thus,
it should not be installed over uncured concrete or on below-grade
floors. In addition, linoleum should not be exposed to strong
acids, alkalis, bleach or solvents as this will break down
structure of linoleum. Therefore linoleum should not be
installed in wet areas, hospital wards, external areas and any
other area that is subject to acid, alkalis, bleach or solvents
View the Tarkett linoleum product pages, including
colour swatches, product information and downloads.
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