August 31, 2010

Eco-Friendly Flooring Material: Linoleum

For a material that has changed little since the 19th century, linoleum has the ability to look surprisingly modern. What's more, this classic flooring is incredibly green. Need convincing? Check out these eco-friendly benefits of linoleum:

Non-toxic - Nowadays, people often refer to vinyl flooring as "linoleum," but true lino is made from a mixture of natural linseed oil, cork dust, tree resin, wood flour, and limestone with a jute backing. That's in stark contrast to vinyl or PVC, which can have harmful environmental and health effects. As a bonus, linseed oil, which is made from flax seeds, is also antimicrobial.

Durable – There's a reason linoleum has traditionally been used for kitchen floors and hallways – it's super durable and can last for decades. Many of us have memories of linoleum-tiled classrooms and gymnasiums, and you know those take a beating!

Biodegradable – At the end of its useful life, all-natural linoleum can be shredded and composted. Or, if it does make its way into a landfill or incinerator, you can at least feel comfortable knowing that it won't release toxic chemicals into the air, soil, or water.

One thing that has changed since the early days of linoleum is the range of colors available. Companies like Forbo (Marmoleum), USFloors (Corkoleum), Armstrong, and Eco Friendly Flooring offer just about every color of the rainbow, so whether you're looking for something subdued or vibrant, you're in luck.

Related: Eco-Friendly Flooring Material: Cork

(Images: Forbo, USFloors)

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