Linoleum has long conquered domestic consumers and has firmly retained its leadership position to this day. It can be seen in most apartments, offices, supermarkets, shops, schools and hospitals. With the advent of many new floor coverings, the demand for linoleum is not decreasing, because it is a practical, durable and attractive material that is also easy to install. Choosing linoleum with its huge assortment is not an easy task, so you need to go to the store well prepared.
# 1. The main types of linoleum
Linoleum, depending on what materials it is made of, can be of the following types:
polyvinyl chloride. PVC linoleum is produced on the basis of polyvinyl chloride, with the addition of plasticizers, fillers, stabilizers and dyes. Such material has excellent performance properties: it is antistatic, moisture resistant, easy to install, has a huge selection of colors;
natural, or marmoleum. In the manufacture, only natural ingredients are used: wood flour, lime, resin, linseed oil, natural dyes. It turns out an environmentally friendly material with bactericidal properties, easy to use, wear-resistant and non-combustible, but expensive and unstable to moisture;
glyphthalic. It is made by applying alkyd resin to a fabric base. The result is a coating with excellent heat and sound insulation characteristics, but rather fragile and difficult to install;
colloxylin. Produced from a mixture of cellulose nitrate, fillers, plasticizers and stabilizers. This single-layer coating comes out quite flexible, elastic and moisture resistant, but it is afraid of temperature extremes and is subject to shrinkage;
relin. The coating consists of a layer of styrene and a layer of natural rubber, characterized by high shock-absorbing properties, elasticity and low slip, but the material has high thermal conductivity and is not resistant to solvents.
Today, PVC linoleum has become the most widespread, which is meant when they talk about linoleum, so we will talk about the nuances of choosing this particular type of coating.
# 2. Homogeneous and heterogeneous linoleum
PVC linoleums can consist of several layers of different materials or have a homogeneous structure, so the material is usually divided into heterogeneous and homogeneous, respectively.
Homogeneous linoleum is a material that is uniform throughout its thickness, which is made from polyvinyl chloride with the addition of lime and quartz sand. The more such additives there are, the heavier and lower quality the material becomes. The thickness is, as a rule, 1.5-3 mm, the drawing is as simple and uncomplicated as possible: marbled, monochromatic or granular. The production of the material is cheap, it is used in places with increased stress: industrial and public premises, airports, corridors, etc.
Heterogeneous linoleum consists of several layers, and each material in such a “cake” performs its function. The basis is fiberglass, which provides the proper elasticity, it is a kind of skeleton of the finished material. Below it, a substrate is used, which can be made of different materials (foamed PVC, jute, felt) and is necessary to soften impacts and protect against bursting. A layer of polyvinyl chloride mass is applied on top of the fiberglass, then a drawing, and then it is protected with a PVC or polyurethane film. The durability of the coating depends on the thickness of the protective film, this parameter ranges from 0.15 to 0.8 mm.
The drawing can be anything, imitate the texture of wood, tiles, stone, be with patterns, or even contain particles of stone, metal dust, plastic granules to improve decorative properties. Special types of linoleum can have an additional outer layer, for example, anti-slip or anti-static. The total thickness of heterogeneous linoleum is from 2 to 6 mm.
No. 3. Linoleum base type
Basically, the following materials are used as a base for linoleum:
- foamed polyvinyl chloride;
The first option is the most common, since in the end it is possible to obtain the most durable, durable and resistant to external influences material. When applying foamed PVC to fiberglass, a chemical or mechanical method is used. The second method is preferable, since the material is more elastic, and there are fewer dents on it. In any case, the PVC backing is moisture resistant.
The fabric backing (felt or jute) is suitable for linoleum, which will be used in residential areas with little stress on the flooring. The material has phenomenal thermal insulation properties, which is why it is called insulated linoleum. It also has excellent sound insulation properties, but it is undesirable to use it in places with high humidity.
No. 4. Types of linoleum by appointment
Depending on where the linoleum is being selected, it is worth stopping the choice on different types of coatings. By appointment, linoleum is:
domestic. Not the most wear-resistant linoleum, which has a huge selection of different colors and patterns. Its service life is short, and it is used mainly in living rooms with low traffic, more often in the bedroom, the thickness of the protective layer is rarely more than 0.35 mm. Recently, this type of coating is rarely used;
semi-commercial. It differs from the previous version by an increased protective layer, the thickness of which reaches a solid 0.7 mm. The variety of colors is huge, the service life reaches 20 years, it is used in hallways, kitchens, other living rooms, as well as in small offices;
commercial. It has the thickest protective layer, therefore it has a record durability and wear resistance; it is used in industrial environments, large offices, shops and other premises where there is an increased load on the floor covering;
specialized. Has distinctive properties depending on the purpose. Anti-slip linoleum due to quartz chips has a relief surface, sports linoleum is covered with a polyurethane layer and is characterized by increased wear resistance, bactericidal linoleum in the composition has antibacterial and antifungal additives, etc.
European and many domestic manufacturers use simple coating marking so that the buyer immediately understands what kind of coating is in front of him. The marking consists of two numbers. The first determines which room the material is suitable for:
- 1 – rooms with minimal traffic (bedrooms), now used extremely rarely;
- 2 – living quarters;
- 3 – office premises;
- 4 – production facilities.
The second number in the marking indicates the maximum loads that the coating can withstand. It ranges from 1 (minimum load) to 4. Often, a product is marked not only with these two numbers, but also with pictures that help to better understand which material will be most suitable.
For example, for a small family, class 22-23 linoleum is suitable, in the bedroom it is better to use a class 21 coating, but for large families, class 31 linoleum will be more practical.
No. 5. Linoleum abrasion groups
On store shelves, you can see two very similar samples of semi-commercial linoleum, but at the same time their price will differ significantly, and this is not only a matter of the manufacturer and advertising. The price is significantly influenced by the selectivity class: the higher it is, the more expensive and durable the material will be.
The abrasion class is determined experimentally: a sample of linoleum is applied to an abrasive wheel, which must make at least 25,000 revolutions. Then the difference in the thickness of the linoleum is measured before and after the experiment, and the class is determined by this value:
group T. This is linoleum with high wear resistance, and in such an experiment it loses no more than 0.08 mm of thickness;
group P – middle class linoleum, loses 0.08-0.15 mm of thickness;
group M – a material with low resistance, and during the experiment, its thickness may decrease by 0.3 mm;
group F – very fragile linoleum, which is ground off during the experiment by 0.3-0.6 mm, which indicates a large amount of impurities.
No. 6. Linoleum size
Popular flooring today comes in a huge variety of options to please any customer. When choosing a material, it is necessary to focus on the width of the room and select the appropriate option so that you do not have to glue separate pieces of linoleum or cut off too much excess. On sale you can find material with a width of 1.5 to 5 m, the step is 0.5 m, but the largest assortment includes linoleum with a width of 2 and 3 m, because it is he who is suitable for most apartments.
To determine the required width of the material, it is necessary to measure the room. Since linoleum is laid in a single piece, it recommends changing the width not from wall to wall, but taking into account niches and ledges near windows and doors. The same goes for the length. If the house is an old building, then it is better to repeat the measurements at different ends of the room, because the obtained values of the width and length may differ even by 10 cm, which must be taken into account when buying and installing the cover. It is better to take linoleum with a margin for trimming and fitting.
No. 7. Color and pattern
Linoleum owes its immense popularity to its wide selection of shades and textures. Some samples imitate wood species so accurately that at first glance it is difficult to understand what kind of material was used to finish the floor. There is also linoleum on sale, which repeats the pattern of stone or ceramic tiles; a coating that imitates parquet and solid board is popular. With its help, you can inexpensively create an exclusive and comfortable interior at home.
For office premises, linoleum, made in a minimalist design, is suitable, but for residential premises, you can choose an abstract extravagant drawing. Remember that shade and ornament can affect the perception of a room: light tones will visually expand it, dark tones will make a large room more compact and comfortable. The diagonal pattern on linoleum is able to visually make the room larger.
No. 8. What else to consider when choosing?
There are a few more nuances to consider when choosing linoleum:
- for the kitchen, it is better to choose a material with an additional varnish layer. It is applied by bona fide manufacturers to facilitate the cleaning process. This layer can be made of matte or glossy varnish;
the lightning bolt on the linoleum packaging says that the material does not accumulate static electricity at all;
the icon in the form of a wheel informs that you can safely move cabinets and bedside tables on wheels along the coating, and they will not leave traces;
- if it is supposed to use linoleum together with a system of warm floors, then it is imperative to find the corresponding icon in the product labeling;
- when choosing, you should trust the sense of smell. If there is a strong unpleasant smell from the material, it cannot be called safe. High-quality PVC linoleum should not smell like anything;
- it is better to purchase material in a heated room;
- it will be possible to make sure of the proper quality of linoleum if you roll it out: bumps, waves, areas with a peeling coating indicate low quality;
- it does not interfere with looking at the hygiene certificate of the product in order to be completely sure of the safety of linoleum;
- it is advisable to evaluate how this or that linoleum will look in a particular room, because the illumination in a store and an apartment can differ significantly. To do this, it does not hurt to consider a small sample of linoleum at home.
Following these simple rules and tips, choosing the right linoleum will be much easier.