Choosing the Best Linoleum Flooring for Kitchen

Linoleum is one of the most popular floorings. It is an easy-to-use flooring that can be installed virtually everywhere, including kitchens and lobbies. It has a lot of advantages that allow for its installation in the kitchen.

How to pick linoleum for the kitchen with knowledge of the matter, how not to get confused with the wide variety of its different kinds and materials it can be made of, in special qualities of different types of linoleum and in zounds of textures and colors? This article will help you pick the right linoleum for your kitchen. We will also tell you how to prepare both the floor and the linoleum and help you discover the various types of linoleum laying. This will help your linoleum last longer.

Requirements for Kitchen Linoleum Flooring

The kitchen can be called an area with high movement intensity, high humidity, and rapid temperature changes. In addition, many liquids are being constantly evaporated and there’s a risk of accidentally spilling fat on the floor. With that in mind, here’s the complete list of requirements for kitchen linoleum:

  • Humidproof and easy to clean: Linoleum should be susceptible to frequent wet cleaning with use of chemical detergents;
  • Low hygroscopicity: The material should not absorb any moisture;
  • Antislip surface: Floor surface must not become slippery even when it is wet;
  • Bactericide: Kitchen floor must be completely immune to bacteria and insects;
  • High abrasion proof: Linoleum must be able to last long, even despite the high load from people and furniture movement;
  • Durability: Accidentally dropped items must not scratch or otherwise damage the surface.

For your linoleum to last long, it must have as fewer junctions as possible. Make sure to buy material that would cover the floor in full, without weld seams. Linoleum usually comes in four-meter rolls. It is more than enough for a kitchen.

Kitchen linoleum //

Kitchen linoleum //

Varieties of Linoleum

There are two major types of linoleum – natural or synthetic. Each one has various properties, both with their own advantages and drawbacks.

Natural Linoleum

Natural linoleum is made of shredded to powder calcareous and cork conglomerate, wood resins, linen oil and natural dyes. Mixes of these components are placed on a natural base made of jute or linen fiber.

The technology of natural linoleum production has remained unchanged over the centuries. The only things that got modernized are the methods of painting. The durability and brightness of the image had also been improved.

Natural linoleum has the following qualities:

  • Natural linoleum is ecologically clean;
  • Guaranteed service time is 25 to 45 years;
  • Resistant to ultraviolet, aggressive chemicals and nearly all detergents;
  • Highly abrasion proof;
  • High heat insulation and sound proofing;
  • Linen oil, one of the components of natural linoleum, makes it antiseptic;
  • Natural linoleum is resistant to dirt and fats, making it easier to clean.

However, there are several drawbacks. Natural linoleum is very expensive and is often disregarded in favor of cheaper synthetic linoleum. Don’t try to save on your health. If you’re planning to buy flooring for your bedroom and children’s room, better buy natural linoleum. It will protect you and your family from allergy, a common occurrence in modern days.

Natural linoleum in the kitchen //

Natural linoleum in the kitchen //

Synthetic Linoleum

Synthetic floorings also have some advantages. However, they are not as durable as the natural materials and will only last for 15 years or so, depending on the material quality.

Synthetic linoleum is made of different materials. For example, there are PVC, alkyd, rubber and colloxylic linoleums. But not all of them are suitable for domestic use.

Colloxylic linoleum is made of nitrocellulose. However durable it may be, it is a known fire hazard. Domestic and commercial use of colloxylic linoleum is banned in most countries. Rubber linoleum isn’t exactly suitable for home use, as it is mainly used in warehouses, industrial buildings and gyms. Alkyd linoleum isn’t very popular, as it is susceptible to temperature drops and it can be very hard to install.

Most people use PVC linoleum in their houses. According to a specialist, it is completely to use with rare exceptions of people being allergic or intolerant to some of its components.

Linoleum with multiple layers is called heterogeneous. Baseless two-layer (main and protective layer) linoleum is called homogenous.

Multi-layer (heterogenous) PVC linoleum designated for domestic use is a complex multicomponent structure:

  • Bottom compact layer (serves as a base);
  • Elastic PVC substrate;
  • Durability layer, usually consisting of fiberglass;
  • Thin PVC layer;
  • Decorating coating with applied drawing;
  • 0,14mm to 0,7mm thick wear protection layer (also known as transparent);
  • Upper protective coating.

Homogenous linoleum is simpler – it only consists of a single layer, and the image is embedded into the material. It is much more wear-resistant, and a small wear won’t break its appearance. This kind of linoleum can be both thin and thick (some models are even 10-15 mm thick). However, it is rarely used in households due to its high price.

Synthetic PVC linoleum has a wide variety of advantages that meet the requirements for kitchen linoleum:

  • PVC linoleum is easy to clean;
  • It is resistant to water and non-hygroscopic;
  • PVC linoleum is quite resistant to pressure and wear;
  • Average service time is 10 years. Can serve for 15+ years if the materials are high in quality;
  • Very affordable and cheaper than natural linoleum, parquet or laminate;
  • Very easy to install, can be installed manually;
  • Zounds of textures, pictures, and patterns. PVC linoleum can imitate virtually any surface, including stone and ceramic tiles, parquet, wood floor and cork. They can have various geometric or ornamental decorations;
  • Many models have embossed surface, making the linoleum antislip.
PVC linoleum //

PVC linoleum //

Classification by Areas of Application

Linoleum is divided into three main classes based on its properties and performance. These classes determine areas of application of linoleum. The classes are denoted with two digits. First one denotes its area of use (2 – domestic use, 3 – commercial use, 4 – industrial use). The second one denotes its durability and resistance to mechanical and abrasive load.

  • Industrial linoleum (Class 41 to 43) has a 0,6-0,7mm transparent protective layer and is primarily used in production facilities, logistics complexes, warehouses, etc. It is not used in homes, as its capabilities are excess for home use.
  • Commercial linoleum (Class 31 to 34) has a 0,4-0,5mm protective layer. It is mainly used in offices, malls, and social institutions. It is built to withstand high-intensity movement and is highly abrasion resistant.
Read also:  How to Remove Linoleum: A Verified Instruction

Classes 33 and 34 are intended to be used in areas with very intense load (such as railway stations or supermarkets) and are rarely used in homes because of their high cost. However, Class 31 to 32 linoleum can and even should be installed in kitchens. With proper care, this linoleum will serve you for decades.

  • Domestic linoleum (Class 21 to 23) can have a 0,3-0,5mm protective layer. It can be used domestically, but it will wear off faster compared to commercial linoleum.

From the above we can conclude that the best material for the kitchen should have the following properties:

  • Class 31/32 commercial linoleum;
  • Textured antislip non-hygroscopic surface;
  • 0,25-0,3mm protective layer.

Form of Issue

Linoleum is issued in various forms. You could usually see various rolls with the width of 1,5 to 5 meters. However, linoleum is also available in other forms of issue that you may find more comfortable.

Tiled Linoleum

Linoleum is also available in square tiles or narrow long panels that imitate laminate. They are easy to mount and can be used to imitate laminate, parquet, stone or ceramic tile.

Even unexperienced masters can easily install it, as it is very small. Just be sure to partition the floor correctly and follow the lines you’ve drawn.

Tiled linoleum has several pros and cons:

  • It is very comfortable not only for mounting but for replacing corrupted surfaces. You can replace only the part that needs to be replaced;
  • The main drawback of tiled linoleum is that it leaves a lot of seams. It is extremely undesirable for kitchen linoleum to have any seams, as the kitchen is generally more humid and has a lot of vapor. Badly installed tiles or exposure to dirt or moisture will lead to detachment of tiles. If you’re going to install tiled linoleum anyway, be sure to wash it very carefully with as little water as possible!
Tiled linoleum //

Tiled linoleum //

Liquid Linoleum

Liquid linoleum is an ideal option for the kitchen. It forms seamless monolithic surface after drying up, while also having longer service time compared to standard PVC linoleum. It also has many design options.

Liquid linoleum will prevent the water from ever reaching your floor. In addition, you won’t have to remove it should you decide to redesign the kitchen. It will be a great flat base for your new surface.

This is an ecologically safe flooring, as it uses safe epoxide and polyurethane resins. They are completely harmless after the linoleum dries up.

Casting composition is made immediately before installing by mixing two components – base resin composition and hardener. It forms a non-hygroscopic waterproof surface. You could design or decorate it yourself if you’ll ever want to.

Tiled linoleum //

Tiled linoleum //

Making No Mistakes

Now that you’re prepared and ready to hit the store, it’s time for another heads-up. When you’re in the store, pay your attention to some points that would tell you whether the linoleum is high-quality or not.

  • Check the documents for each batch of linoleum. They must contain the information about the producer – company name, address and contact data. If this data is present, then the producer is fully responsible for the products;
  • Regardless of volume, each batch must also have a certificate of authenticity. The shop assistant must show it to you per your request;
  • High-quality linoleum must not emit any sharp unpleasant odors;
  • High-quality linoleum must not have any signs of defect on any side;
  • The surface image must not be blurry. It should be placed with a step of 100 ~ 150 cm.
  • Surface must be uniform, flat or embossed. Unless it is dictated by design, non-uniform surface is usually a sign of defect.
  • Pay attention to the special signs on the linoleum. They may denote that the linoleum has some special properties – for example, improved soundproofing, wear proofing, ease of cleaning, etc. Below are some of the signs:

Linoleum markings // self-made

If all conditions are met and you’re satisfied with the linoleum you’re about to buy, make sure it’s from the same batch. Sometimes the same types of linoleum from different batches may differ by their tone or color.

Read also:  Choosing the Best Linoleum for Home

Choosing the Right Tint and Picture

One of the many advantages of linoleum is the abundance of various designs and colors. No matter how your house is decorated, you will always be able to choose a color that would fit your design. You’ll be able to imitate any natural or synthetic surface without laborious installation of stone or ceramic tiles.

As the kitchen quickly gets dirty, you should pick picture or texture that could hide small stains that could appear on the surface. It’s better not to choose monotonous bright material, as you’ll have to clean it a lot with chemical detergents. Even though the linoleum is covered with protective layer, frequent cleanings will shorten its service time.

Linoleum imitating various wood textures with natural color will be great for the kitchen. It was and it still remains a popular choice. Flooring may imitate parquet or massive dark and bright planks, so you’re free to choose any colors and tints.

Preparing the Floor

Base under the flooring must be perfectly flat and rigid. The thinner the linoleum, the cleaner and flatter must be the base. Even the accidental exposure to a small piece of trash will dramatically shorten the lifespan of linoleum – it will wear off and rip quicker.

If the floor is already covered by old linoleum that is still in good shape, feel free to lay the new flooring right on your old linoleum. However, it must still be glued to the floor and show no signs of serious damage.

If you’re laying linoleum on concrete base, make sure to clean it first. Look for any cracks, gaps, and chips. If there are any, expand and clean them from the concrete dust, then fill them with concrete mix.

The next step is to flatten the surface. The best way to do that is to use self-leveling solutions. Pour the solution on surface and flat it out with wipers.

If you plan to lay linoleum on plywood, make sure to close up any cracks as well. Use wood putty instead of concrete mix.

After you’ve closed up any cracks and flattened the surface, clean it with vacuum. It would also be nice to cover the surface with priming compound. It will protect the floor from mold and create a good adhesion for the linoleum glue.

Laying the Linoleum

Laying the linoleum will be quite easy, especially if you’ve prepared the surface. It might be a little bit more difficult if the kitchen room is quite complex, with various niches and ledges.

Spread out the material on the surface and let it lie down for at least a day. As soon as the “waves” straighten out, you’re good to go.

After the material is straightened out, it must be fitted to the size of floor area. Pruning is perhaps the hardest step in the whole process. Leave an 8-10mm compensation gap along the walls so that the cuts are smooth. That way, they won’t emerge from beneath the baseboard.

Linoleum can be laid on glue and directly on the surface. The first option is used with the baseless linoleum. That way it would have a reliable adhesion with the floor surface, while the vapor and moisture will have no way of accumulating in between the surfaces. The second option is used if the linoleum has a thick warming layer, or the warming effect will be gone.

If you decided to lay the linoleum on glue, start from the farthest wall from the door. Apply the glue with a wide putty knife and distribute it evenly on the surface. The glued surface must not be more than 80 cm long. Then lay out the pre-rolled straightened out linoleum. The glued area is then leveled with a special rubber scraper. It would squeeze out the excess glue.

If the surface consists of two or more sheets, make sure to connect them. We’ll use a classical method. Make the sheets overlap for 50-70 mm, align them and cut them by line in the center of overlapping surface, around 25-35 mm from the edge of the upper sheet. This way we’ll make sure that both sheets will fit each other ideally.

If the material won’t be glued to the base, we’ll have to bond it with double-sided painter’s tape. Then we’ll have to weld them together. For that, we’ll have to use a special device with silicon or just take the special glue (“cold welding glue”). Just dock the surfaces and glue the seam with the painter’s tape. Then make an accurate cut right on the seam and apply the glue to the notch. Later you’ll be able to remove the tape. The seam between two surfaces will be smooth and durable.

After you’ve laid down the linoleum and let the glue dry up, install the baseboard. That’s it – you’ve successfully installed the linoleum!

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