Linoleum floors: what you need to know – and will likely remember

Linoleum floors: what you need to know – and will likely remember

Linoleum was invented in the 60s… the 1860s!

In the 1860s, English inventor Frederick Walton noticed that a tin of oil-based paint he had left open developed a rubber-like skin. Applying a mixture of linseed oil, gum, resin and ground cork to cloth, he created the floor covering that found its way into homes and offices worldwide. He named his invention “linoleum”, from the Latin “linum” for linen or thread and “oleum” meaning oil. Tarkett’s Lino goes back to 1898. Like many, Alberto Altieri, associate director at Studio Altieri "certainly did not imagine that a product with such a modern look and usage had such a long history".

Linoleum is a natural flooring solution

Plants, trees and minerals provide the raw materials that combine to make linoleum. From the linseed oil and pine rosin that bind the ingredients together to the jute backing on which they lie, almost all are renewable. The result is a floor covering as natural and beautiful as it is resilient and recyclable. Here are the ingredients used to make Linoleum natural floorings:

  • Flax. Flax is a blue-flowered plant that is grown organically. We even have some fields around the Tarkett factory in Narni (Central Italy).The crop’s seeds are dried and pressed locally to make Linseed Oil.
  • Pine rosin. It is the solidified form of the resin harvested from coniferous pine trees.
  • Wood flour. It is finely pulverized wood, also known as wood fibre. This ingredient gives the mixture lightness and durability.
  • Cork dust. It keeps the mixture strong and flexible.
  • Calcium carbonate. This ingredient is a chemical compound found in rocks.
  • Jute. This vegetable fibre spun into strong threads forms the base for the flooring.

Linoleum helps create healthier and more sustainable indoor spaces

Linoleum also contributes to creating healthy interior spaces. Its TVOC emissions are 100 times lower than the most stringent industry requirements, which contributes to improving spaces’ indoor air quality. Linoleum also contributes to creating more sustainable spaces thanks to its composition, manufacturing and recyclability. Made of 94% natural raw materials, it is composed by 78% abundant renewable resources including local suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of the floor. Also, thanks to an internal production through photovoltaic panels, biomass boilers, geothermal systems and the purchase of 100% renewable electricity, the production process of linoleum leverages renewable energy production. Linoleum is also eligible to Tarkett’s Restart ® program through which post-installation off-cuts can be collected and sent back to the manufacturing site to be re-engineered as new products.

Linoleum ignites creativity

Decades of innovative craftsmanship coupled with the material’s inherent versatility give Tarkett’s Lino range unrivalled breadth and scope for creativity. From classic to contemporary patterns and bright hues to natural tones, there is a look to lend every interior a sense of style whether in education, healthcare or aged care, stores and shops, hospitality or the workplace.

At Tarkett, the Linoleum colour palette is carefully developed in our laboratory and guided by consumer research and design trends. Linoleum offers 112 different colours and 7 different designs that can really bring a very aesthetic touch to any interior concept. Philippe Ameller, Associate Director at Ameller & Dubois Architects, says that linoleum's 

consistent finish is good to look at, and there's a wide variety of colours and attractive designs.

Linoleum can also be customized in order to create a specific interior atmosphere. Our Floorcraft Service teams can also help with creating custom linoleum flooring patterns. Contact your local representative to find out more on this service.


Linoleum is a robust flooring option

What makes Linoleum an option not to be overlooked is that, on top of being sustainable and aesthetic, it is a long-lasting product. Edouard Mure, Associate director at Agence Antonio Lazo Edouard Mure, says:

Linoleum has a timeless quality. You lay it, and when you come back 10 years later, it’s still just as genuine.

Linoleum is long-lasting thanks to its natural ingredients, especially those that stabilize and give it durability, like wood flour. But what makes for even more durability is the surface treatment that is applied at the end of the manufacturing process. Tarkett’s Linoleum products come with various surface treatments:

  • Xf²™ improves resistance and reduces the life cycle cost
  • Essenza is a non-polyurethane surface treatment

Thanks to these surface treatments, the maintenance of Linoleum is made easier and requires 3% less water usage, 7% less electricity usage and 20% less detergent for a better indoor air quality. This also makes it a hygienic flooring option that meets demanding requirements in hospitals for example.