Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Linoleum the misunderstood floor covering. It's historic, healthy, resilient, beautiful and Sustainable

Perhaps more people misunderstand linoleum than any other flooring material. It is thought to be modern but has been used in houses since the 1870's. Many people think of it as first cousin to vinyl but instead it is a combination of basic natural substances. It is easier on the legs than hardwood flooring, and healthier than carpet for allergy sufferers.

In San Antonio, if you visit the historic Steves Homestead which was built in 1876 you won't find the linoleum on the floors which was there when the house was built. The restorers just couldn't live with covering the wood sub-floor with the historically accurate linoleum. But today as much as wood floors are loved, more people are appreciating the style of linoleum.

The basic ingredients of linoleum include flax seed oil (aka Linseed), ground wood, ground cork, pine rosin and ground limestone. With the exception of limestone which we in south Texas know to be plentiful, they are all renewable and biobased.

For people who are sensitive to lab created substances, linoleum can be the solution. Linoleum doesn't harbor the dust mites that plague many allergy sufferers.

Modern manufacturers of linoleum include Armstrong and Forbo Marmoleum.

Forbo offers elaborate border and corner designs in both vintage and modern styles.

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