Marmoleum Madness

Marmoleum Madness

Linoleum appeal has moved beyond health benefits to include one-of-a-kind designs

Vinyl lovers take note: Green-minded Portland residents remodeling kitchens and bathrooms are resoundingly choosing Marmoleum floors.

Unlike vinyl, this is all-natural linoleum made primarily from linseed oil. While it traditionally has been sought by the chemically sensitive or those concerned about indoor-air quality, it is now also being sought for its fashion statement, says Sam Snow, owner of EcoFloors in Portland, OR.

“It’s an excellent choice for high-use areas because of its durability, lower maintenance and its style options are almost endless,” he says. “In addition, it’s 100-percent natural, antistatic, antibacterial and comfortable underfoot.”

Marmoleum, distributed by Wanke Cascade on the northwest coast, is made by Forbo Industries from linseed oil, wood flour, pine rosins and pigments. It is available in sheets, like vinyl, and click-together panels and squares. Clients who want to put Marmoleum through an entire house usually are those with chemical sensitivities or allergies. Marmoleum has been certified by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation.

Beyond the health benefits, Snow says that the ability to create custom designs is a major factor driving product choice for the mid- to high-end remodels that his business is focused on.

“It’s completely customizable,” he says. “It can be installed with borders, and using the sheet material, you can create medallions, inlays, and other details that provide for a one-of-a- kind floor. With the click product you can create many designs using geometrical shapes and patterns.”

Borders often are popular in kitchens. Medallions or custom designs often are installed in a foyer or hallway to make a focal point or accent the flooring. Based upon a design envisioned by a client, EcoFloors recently designed and installed a nautical star, (pictured right), in the middle of a hallway.

Installer certification is a must

Sheet good installation clearly is not for do it yourselfers. EcoFloors installers are certified by Forbo, and have taken courses to learn how to properly seam Marmoleum, which requires heat welding, and design certain inlays. Custom inlays also can be made at the factory for an extra charge.

Proper subflooring also requires experience, Snow says.  Snows installers make templates of the area to use in cutting the sheet material. The subfloor beneath Marmoleum sheet material also needs to be very clean and flat. When the house lacks this, EcoFloors provides a ¼-inch plywood underlayment.

“This is a critical step in achieving an excellent installation,” Snow says. “Once installed, the plywood  needs to be skim-coated with a cement patch to make the floor perfectly smooth. Concrete slabs also can be installed over if they meet the requirements set by Forbo.”

Anyone choosing Marmoleum sheet material should make sure that the installer has been certified by Forbo to ensure proper techniques  and warranty coverage. ©

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