Vinyl and linoleum flooring are not the same, and the terms are not interchangeable though consumers frequently make the mistake. Each has its own method of application and requires special materials for installation and maintenance. Linoleum can bring a natural feel to the coldest and most sterile of floors.
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Types of Glue
Linoleum should be laid with special grades of adhesive -- either synthetic polymers or epoxies. The flooring company Armstrong offers two types of glue for linoleum. Its S-780 is a synthetic polymer suitable for commercial installation as well as residential and will adhere to many types of subflooring, including all grade levels of concrete, terrazzo, steel, wood and others. The company's S-240 is a two-part epoxy used mainly in commercial installations. It also is used on a wide range of subflooring materials. The W.W. Henry Company offers HENRY® 482 LinoPro Premium Linoleum Adhesive, a professional-grade adhesive for residential and commercial linoleum sheet flooring as well as glass-backed linoleum floor tiles.
Vinyl flooring is a synthetic product composed of petrochemicals, but linoleum comprises all natural products. Frank O'Neill, publisher of Floor Focus magazine, quoted on Thisoldhouse.com, said that "Vinyl will melt if a lighted match or cigarette lands on it; linoleum can't. And where most vinyl patterns are printed into the surface, linoleum's colours go all the way through." Different layers of colour will be revealed as the linoleum wears. Linoleum tends to have a long life as well, barring tears and rips.
Qualities of Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum can be found in sheets, tiles or decorative pieces for smaller areas. The surfaces are smooth and water resistant, making cleanup easier. In its early days linoleum was rather drab and functional, but today many colours are offered and factory-applied sealants help keep them in shape.
Linoleum tile has been found to be consumer friendly in its application. Adhesive is spread on the floor with a notched trowel, and the tiles are settled in against each other and flattened with a roller. Linoleum sheets are another matter. Walt Bamonto, a flooring expert from Farmington, N.Y., writing on Thisoldhouse.com, said he trims the factory edges first to get a good seam. "Factory edges aren't good enough," he said. Two-bevelled edge trimmers are available. When applying the sheet he leaves an 18-inch stretch adhesive free at each end because the product shrinks one way and expands another. Overlapping the pieces after a stabilisation period of half an hour, he then applies adhesive to the ends and traces the overlap, cutting it with a special knife. The seams close up and, after about 24 hours, the linoleum will support furniture.
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