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Do People Use Linoleum Flooring Anymore?

Did you know linoleum was the material used in the world’s first vinyl flooring system? It debuted in 1860, and this rugged, durable, and easy-to-clean material was popular in new home construction for at least the next 100 years. The introduction of modern vinyl floors, such as planks and ceramic tiles, shifted the market away from the traditional linoleum flooring system for homes. Linoleum floor coverings fell out of favor in the 1940s to 2000s, but it’s making a comeback in recent years.

Do People Use Linoleum Flooring Anymore?

Key Takeaways

  • Linoleum is one of the oldest flooring materials, with a legacy extending 150 years.
  • Linoleum lost its popularity with new home construction between the 1940s to 1990s, but it’s making a comeback in modern home construction.
  • Linoleum comes in a wide variety of colors and prints, offering plenty of selection for any surface.
  • Linoleum floors are a “green” eco-friendly product.
  • Linoleum is a durable, cost-effective flooring option for businesses or homes.

A Brief History of Linoleum Flooring

An English scientist, Frederic Walton, invented linoleum in 1855. He achieved success with his work by formulating a process to make a resin out of linseed oil. Walton was awarded a patent for linoleum in 1860, but the material wasn’t perfect at the time, requiring further development.

Walton continued experimenting with tweaking his formula, and in 1863, he applied for a new patent on his updated formula. This new version featured a mixture of cork dust, other organic materials like wood, flour, tree resins, and ground limestone with pigments.

Walton would coat strong fabrics with the resin, embossing or printing the surface to create textures. Walton founded the Linoleum Manufacturing Company, Ltd in 1864. Eight years after founding the organization, the company started business operations; Walton opened in 1872 in New York.

It wasn’t long before competitors started popping up in the market. Despite having patents on the formulation for linoleum, Walton never trademarked the name of his invention. As a result, he lost a case for a trademark infringement lawsuit when attempting to sue a competitor.

Linoleum became a widespread term in the flooring industry, and Walton could do nothing to safeguard his IP. However, it did lead to a huge boom in the adoption of linoleum flooring in the housing market.

Vinyl Flooring Vs. Linoleum Flooring

So, what’s the difference between linoleum floors and modern vinyl floors? How is one different from the other?

Well, there are a few differences in the production of linoleum and vinyl flooring systems. Vinyl is a synthetic flooring product derived from chlorinated hydrocarbons and petrochemicals. Linoleum is made from natural materials.

Manufacturers paint patterns on the vinyl surface, but the color in linoleum runs all the way through the material. Wearing linoleum flooring produces different color layers.

Easy Installation & Affordable Flooring Solutions

For a century after its invention, linoleum was the go-to flooring choice for home kitchens, restaurants, stores, and other commercial buildings. Its excellent water-resistant and stain-resistant properties make it popular with new building projects.

Cheaper vinyl flooring became available in the 1950s. Linoleum’s market share began to decline, with sales slumping to all-time lows in the 2000s. However, recently linoleum is making a comeback in the flooring market.

Linoleum – Making a Modern Comeback

When people think of linoleum flooring, they might get a flashback to their childhood home in the 1970s or 1980s. As a common material found in home kitchens across America, linoleum (sheets or tiles) became a household name.

Today, the material is staging a comeback. The reliability and durability of linoleum, combined with its affordable price tag, make it a popular flooring system in restaurants and retail businesses.

The pressure for businesses to go green to support the fight against climate change makes linoleum an attractive flooring solution.

Linoleum is somewhat of a novelty material, and many home décor specialists like using linoleum flooring to create a “period correct” effect in traditional home design.

Linoleum is warm and comfortable, making it more inviting and cozier than hardwood floors. It’s also very affordable and simple to install on any subfloor.

With these advantages, it’s not surprising linoleum is now a favorite material for home renovations and new construction projects. We expect to see more of it used in home interior design and remodeling projects.

Additional Information: Why People Once Loved Linoleum

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