Natural linoleum is true linoleum. Nowadays, vinyl sheet flooring is often called linoleum, but be aware these are very different products. (And that is technically not the accurate word for vinyl sheet).
Genuine linoleum or traditional linoleum is made from all natural materials in the core of the product, including linseed oil, pine resin, wood or cork flour and limestone.
Unlike vinyl resilient flooring, linoleum resilient flooring is breathable, extremely low-VOC, and very gentle on the environment.
This post contains affiliate links. Upon purchase, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
1. Forbo Marmoleum (Residential)
Marmoleum, the only natural true linoleum currently available for residential use in North America, is made from linseed oil, pine resin, wood flour, limestone, and dry natural pigments. They are mixed and then calendared onto a backing. This is mostly an all-natural natural except for the UV-cured synthetic sealer on top and the backing in the tile version.
The glue used to install it claims zero-VOC and does contain mildewcides (typically isothiazolinones).
Three Types of Marmoleum
- The roll-down flooring this is the most typical kind of genuine linoleum. The sheet has a jute backing and is glue down. You can use the sheets in wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms if it’s properly installed.
- The modular tiles are also glue down, they have a polyester backing (not jute, and not fiberglass as some websites say) and are slightly more rigid.
- The “click” is the same sheet (roll down) material mounted onto a substrate of High Density Fiberboard (HDF) and cork. The HDF is formaldehyde-free, though the binder is not disclosed. The click-together has the advantage of not needing glue for the installation and being a lot more DIY-friendly to install.
The TopShield2, a synthetic topcoat, is fairly new and is less permeable than the original TopShield, so water is less likely to soak through even if you do leave standing water. However, this is still a “breathable” material.
This flooring type feels warm to the touch and is not slippery.
The warranty for Marmoleum is 30 years.
Bathroom & Kitchen Lino Installation
Marmoleum sheet is the only form of Marmoleum that should be installed on a bathroom or kitchen floor in my opinion, and it must be professionally installed. The seams should be heat welded.
You should also “flash cove” which means the Marmoleum is installed slightly up the wall, as a sort of molding, which makes the perimeter seam much less prone to water damage. Where it can’t be flash coved, use a silicone caulk or synthetic cove molding. Cheryl Ciecko recommends waterproofing the subfloor (with a product like WEDI) and waterproofing the seam between the subfloor and the tub before installing the Marmoleum (May 2023 Q&A Dwell Well). And we are talking here about an upper level of a house, as she does not recommend this as an ideal flooring over a slab.
The toilet should be removed for installation and be sure to caulk around the flange so that if the toilet leaks it leaks on top of the flooring and not under the flooring.
- Climate positive (cradle to gate) from the origins to the final product, without buying carbon credits.
- The raw materials used for creating Marmoleum are rapidly renewable and have absorbed such an amount of CO2 during the time the plants, trees and crops have grown, that this amount of CO2 exceeds the amount of CO2 that is emitted during the production process of linoleum.
- Produced with 100% green electricity derived from the sun and wind, not adding any CO2.
2. Tarkett LinoFloor xf2 (Commercial)
Tarkett LinoFloor xf2 is a traditional linoleum material that is commercial grade. It consists of an homogeneous layer of oxidized linseed oil and pine rosins mixed with wood or cork flour, limestone and pigments affixed to a jute backing.
The marbleized pattern extends evenly throughout the total thickness.
The surface has xf2 treatment for protection and reduced maintenance. This is a micro-reinforced polyurethane UV-cured treatment that seals and hardens the surface. There is no need for polish, stripping and polymer waxing over the lifetime of the surface.
The VOC levels are ≤10 μg/m3, which is very low.
- 76% of bio-sourced materials.
- Up 97% to natural raw materials – linseed oil, pine rosin, wood and cork flour,
- calcium carbonate and jute.
- Up to 77% from abundant renewable resources including local suppliers.
- 100% of ingredients have been positively assessed according to the Cradle to
- Cradle Certified scheme for health and the environment.
- Lino is a durable product with a lifespan of up to 30 years, as stated in its Environmental Product Declaration (with a Limited 10-year warranty)
- 100% renewable electricity used to make it
- 100% recycled / recirculated industrial water in a closed-loop system. Rainwater is also collected and re-used.
- 0% production waste goes to landfill.
- 60% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions vs 2010.
- 34% of their energy is self-generated.
Past brands: I no longer see a natural linoleum made by Armstrong.
Corinne Segura is a Building Biologist Practitioner with 8 years of experience helping others create healthy homes.
Buy me a kofi to support the research behind this blog.