Linoleum flooring is an inexpensive and sturdy alternative to hardwood or stone tile flooring. It is very durable, versatile, and can resist moisture and heavy wear. Linoleum has been around for a long time though its popularity as a flooring alternative waxes and wanes. Linoleum is made by oxidizing linseed oil. The resulting paste is mixed with pine resin and wood flour to make the finished product.
Linoleum is most commonly used in kitchens, bathrooms, and entry rooms, though it can be used anywhere in the house. You can buy linoleum for installation in tile form or in a large roll. The tile form has become more popular because it is easier to install and can you can mix and match tiles to create your own look. Linoleum can be a great do-it-yourself project for anyone who is tired of looking at a dingy floor or for anyone who just wants a change.
The first thing you will need to do is remove any furniture and any appliances from the room you are going to floor. Once everything is removed you will need to rip up the old flooring. Find any nails or staples sticking up from the floor and remove them. Clean away as much dust and debris as possible. Also remove any thresholds along the floor.
Once you have this done you should inspect the condition of your subfloor. If it is anything but smooth and perfect you should lay down some quarter-inch plywood to form a smooth, even, and level subfloor. Make sure the joints are tight and staggered. You should use a pneumatic stapler and fasten every 3 inches around the joints and every 8 inches in the middle. Fill joints with some sort of joint filler that will not crack or shrink if needed.
Laying Tile Linoleum
After the floor is ready to go, you must find the center of the room. Start by choosing one wall. Measure this wall and put a small mark at the exact center of the wall on the floor. If your wall is twelve feet wide you should make a mark on the floor at exactly 6 feet. Do the same with the opposite wall. After you have two marks, take a chalk line and make a line from one mark to the other. At this point your room should be cut in half. Next go through the same process again this time with the other two opposing walls.
When you are finished your room should be cut into four. Use a carpenter’s square to make sure the lines are at a ninety-degree angle. Once you have this part finished you can begin to lay down your floor tiles. Do not use the adhesive yet. Starting in the center, lay down your tiles working outwards towards the walls. When you get to the final row of tiles that fit against the wall you will want to stop. If everything lines up, you can go back to the center and begin to apply your adhesive.
Be sure so to use a respirator and other protective gear when working with the glue. Open windows if you can to allow the fumes to dissipate. Once you have all of the tiles laid down you can then cut the last row of tiles to fit between the wall and the floor you have already laid down. Use an Exacto knife and a very stiff edge to be sure you are making a straight and accurate cut. The adhesive should be holding the tiles into place stiffly before you attempt to walk over them.
For odd-shaped rooms, you may have to improvise. It is best not to use detailed tile layouts for this type of room. You can still try to find the center of the room and work your way out as you go. Save the odd fitting turns and edges for last and double-check all measurements.
Laying Rolled Linoleum
If you are using rolled linoleum, you may find that you have a hard job in front of you. Linoleum in rolled form can be very awkward. You will want to lay the linoleum down all in one piece if possible. Roll out the uncut roll of linoleum and leave it to lie until it relaxes and lies flat. You will then want to take measurements of the area you are flooring. Double and triple check all measurements as you go.
You will then need to trim the linoleum down to the size of the room. It won’t hurt to leave an extra inch along the edge of the piece you are cutting. You can always trim this off as you install the floor. It may take you a little more time to trim the excess but this is far better than realizing that you have cut your piece too small. Once you have the flooring down and trimmed, you can add the adhesive. Don’t spread it too far at a time; instead, work in small sections as you go.
If it is not realistic to lay the floor down in one single sheet, you will have to do it in two, three, or even four pieces. If you do this, you will have to work extra hard to be sure the joints are sealed and are located in a low traffic area of the room. If you leave a seam along a well-traveled path through a room the seam will not hold together nearly as well.
When the linoleum is down, you will want to roll the floor to remove any air bubbles that may be caught underneath and to ensure a tight seal between the floor and the linoleum. Use a roller that weighs at least a hundred pounds for best results.
Allow the floor adhesive to dry according to manufacturers’ recommendations. Once the floor is dry you can refasten any thresholds you may have removed and reinstall appliances. Furniture and other items can be brought back in the room as well.