What Are Linoleum Walls?

Written by korin dayton
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What Are Linoleum Walls?
Lincrusta-Walton wallpapers have raised reliefs. (textured wallpaper image by Anastacia Gudz from Fotolia.com)

Linoleum wallpaper, properly known as Lincrusta-Walton, can add an air of elegance and opulence to your dwelling. Lincrusta-Walton is an all-natural, embossed wallpapering solution that was launched in 1877 by the British native Frederick Walton--son of the inventor of linoleum. Lincrusta-Walton was most notably used in the luxury cabins of the Titanic, the White House, John D. Rockerfeller's house and a number of historic Victorian homes in New England.

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Shortly after Frederick Walton returned to England from setting up his American linoleum manufacturing plant in New York City in 1874, he was dismayed to find that a manager from his British company had possibly violated one of his earlier patents. Walton negotiated a release from his contract and created a new firm to support his linoleum wall coverings creation. Walton combined the durability, functionality and sanitary properties of linoleum flooring with classy engravings and embossing in order to achieve his vision of the perfect wallpaper. His new product was originally named "Linoleum Muralis" but was later changed to "Lincrusta-Walton"--lin for "flax," crusta for "relief" and Walton for proprietary rights.

How It's Made

Lincrusta-Walton is composed of linseed oil mixed with wood pulp, plant resin, chalk, zinc oxide and coloured dye. Lincrusta-Walton's ingredients vary slightly from the original linoleum floors; instead of using cork dust for floor durability, Walton substituted wood pulp and paraffin wax.This mixture is spread onto a paper base and then fed through a roller that exerts extreme pressure to bond the mix and the paper base together. Then the paper product is fed through a second roller that creates specific raised relief patterns. Many of the original rollers are still in use today by the manufacturer.

Hanging Lincrusta-Walton

Lincrusta-Walton can be placed on ceilings and walls in every room of your dwelling, including bathroom walls; it will withstand steam and heat, but you should avoid hanging Lincrusta-Walton where it will be in direct contact with the shower. The process of hanging Lincrusta-Walton is similar to that used for other types of wall coverings; thoroughly prepare the wall or ceiling surface, properly apply a lining paper, and then paste on Lincrusta-Walton. Specific instructions on how to hang Lincrusta-Walton are provided by the manufacturer.

Not to be Confused with Vinyl

Many do-it-yourself-ers have recommended using linoleum tile found at local hardware stores for updating bathrooms, showers and kitchens. While the DIY crowd may be on to something, be aware many large chain hardware stores lump linoleum into the same category as vinyl. Make sure you thoroughly read the product information before buying linoleum or vinyl products; each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Armstrong flooring products are not recommended to be hung vertically or to be used on walls. However, Forbo Flooring Systems does offer a viable alternative to the more expensive Lincrusta: Marmoleum.

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