Looking for a hard-wearing, long-lasting floor that can stand up to years of use, won't emit toxins, is allergen-free and environmentally friendly? Such flooring may seem magical, but it's widely used in hospitals and clinics for just those reasons. And the good news is that you can get it for your home. It's called marmoleum -- also known as linoleum -- an all-natural product, made from linseed oil, wood flour, pine resin and jute. It lasts for years and, at the end of its useful life, it's biologically degradable. Marmoleum comes in a wide range of colours and is available as tiles or sheet flooring. Marmoleum tiles are installed in the same way as other tile floors.
Prepare the surface
Remove all the furniture from the room. Take out skirting boards, mouldings and radiators.
Ensure the sub-floor is sound and tighten any loose floorboards by screwing them into the underlying floor joists.
Use a levelling compound to fill in any seams in the sub floor.
Bring your marmoleum tiles into the room at least 48 hours before you install them so they can acclimatise to your home.
Find the centre of the floor. Measure to find the centre of each wall and then snap a chalk line from one wall to the opposite wall. Now snap a second chalk line between the other two walls, crossing over the first line. The crossover is the centre of the room.
Lay the tiles
Starting at the centre, dry fit a row of tile out to the walls on both sides. If one of the tiles next to the wall is less than half a tile in width, adjust the centre point so that the two end tiles will be approximately the same width.
Begin at the centre of the room. Use a square-toothed trowel spread tile adhesive over an area approximately 1.2 metres (4 feet) square.
Lay your first row of tiles along the chalk line. Be sure to follow the line closely. If the first row is off, the entire floor will be off.
Work your way out from the centre, filling in one quadrant at a time.
If any adhesive oozes up between the tiles, wipe it up immediately (with the manufacturer's recommended cleaner).
Use a piece of plywood to kneel on rather than kneeling on the new floor. This will help spread your weight and help the tiles bond to the sub floor.
When you've done a quadrant, roll the tiles with a floor roller to ensure the adhesive is bonded to the backs of the tiles.
Cut tiles to fit against the wall by placing a tile directly on top of the second to last row. Now put another tile against the wall so it overlaps the loose tile. Mark the first tile along the edge of the second tile. This will be your cut line. When you cut on this line, the tile will fit precisely in the gap against the wall.
Always lay your tiles into wet adhesive. Don't spread adhesive over a large area or it will dry before you can install the tiles.
Open more than one box of tiles and use tiles from different boxes for a better looking floor.
Make cardboard templates for cutting oddly shaped tiles.
Tiles can be cut witha special hook-tipped knife or even a utility knife.
Some tile adhesive fumes can be toxic. Read the manufacturer's directions carefully and work in a well-ventilated room.