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jandtthomas
Linoleum? cork?

I'd like linoleum for our new kitchen floor, I've read only good things about it. But finding anyone who has a good selection is near impossible. I have names of four dealers in the area who sell this (got the names from one of the linoleum web sites). I've been to three of them and all with all three I had pretty much the same initial conversation. I go and and them them I'm interested in buying linoleum for our new kitchen floor. With a big smile on their face they say follow me and then take me to their vinyl section. There they proceed to show me their rolls and tiles and fancy new stuff and tell me I can even get it to "look just like hardwood." All said with a "tah-dah" in their voice. So I have to explain to them that no, I want linoleum!!! One of the places I went to never even heard of this. The other two wanted to know if it's for commercial use. I said no it's for the new kitchen in our old house. Then they say they have some for commercial use and they can sell it to me if I want it. I follow them to the way back of the store and they hand me small samples and most of what I find I like is no longer available.

Now that I'm more aware of the commercial uses of linoleum I seem to be seeing it everywhere, grocery stores, hospitals, doctor's offices, schools, etc. And I realize I don't want my kitchen to look like a hospital. Is there a difference between residential and commercial linoleum? or is all the same? Should I be looking elsewhere? I'm going to the fourth flooring store tomorrow, hopefully I'll have better luck.

Other option is cork. Does this ever work in a kitchen? I did find one style with a nice color that would fit in well but it seems very "soft" and as if it would not stand up well to traffic or cooking or spills.

A. Spruce
Re: Linoleum? cork?

Commercial grade materials are generally tougher, stronger, and, industrial in appearance. Can you use commercial grade products in your home, sure. If you are looking for a hardwood appearance, USE HARDWOOD, not vinyl. The key to any floor covering is choosing the right kind for your needs. If you've got high traffic and an abusive environment, then commercial grade may be the way you want to go. If all you're looking for is something durable, then just about anything you see on the roll in any store is going to do the job just fine, as long as you stick to the mid and upper grade materials.

On the question of cork flooring, I've never seen it in use. Knowing what cork is, it would not be my first choice for a floor covering, I'd stick to using actual wood flooring. If this is the direction you're inclined to go, then there is a whole host of questions you should be asking before you buy.

dj1
Re: Linoleum? cork?

Around me, linoleum has seen better days. Supplies have shrunk, installers disappeared.

Linoleum, in one piece or in 12" squares have been replaced by other floors, such as tiles, marble, hardwood and even laminate (not the greatest idea for the kitchen).

When you visited your local show rooms, you experienced attempts to up sell you to something that they have in stock, can get easily and make more profit on. Simple rule of marketing.

If you have your mind set on linoleum, you can find a wider selection on line, then just have a local installer do the rest. I really don't see where the problem is.

dj1
Re: Linoleum? cork?

Also, in regards to cork, I would question its resilience in a wet location. Floors are not cheap - choose wisely.

Lynne
Re: Linoleum? cork?

I have read that cork tends to be faded by the sun.

Some of the high-end vinyls look nice.

A. Spruce
Re: Linoleum? cork?
queen60 wrote:

I have read that cork tends to be faded by the sun.

All wood surfaces are faded by the sun.

Fencepost
Re: Linoleum? cork?

Part of the "industrial" appearance of linoleum has to do with how it's installed, the baseboard trim used, the furnishings, and the environment it is in. In other words, everything but the linoleum itself.

If you cover your entire kitchen floor with a single color/pattern of linoleum, it can look rather plain. One of the neat things about linoleum is that you can get a couple of complimentary colors of the stuff and do an inlay or border. That will break up the vast expanse of the same color, making it seem less "industrial".

If you have artistic/crafting talents, you can probably do inlays and borders yourself. Otherwise, you might want to find an experienced (and talented) contractor. Anything other than a plain sheet will be labor-intensive and won't be cheap to hire out.

A. Spruce
Re: Linoleum? cork?
Fencepost wrote:

If you have artistic/crafting talents, you can probably do inlays and borders yourself. Otherwise, you might want to find an experienced (and talented) contractor. Anything other than a plain sheet will be labor-intensive and won't be cheap to hire out.

One of the advantages of sheet goods is that they provide a solid protective layer over the floor. Any time you have seams, these are places where water can get under the material. If the material is laid over a concrete slab floor, as most commercial installations are, then the worst case scenario is delamination. However, if the material is over a wood substrate you not only get delamination, you get swelling, rot, and odor, for this reason, avoiding seams is the recommended installation.

But can't seams be sealed, you might ask, sure, however, a sealed seam is still a seam and is usually the first point of failure when it comes to sheet goods.

dj1
Re: Linoleum? cork?
A. Spruce wrote:

One of the advantages of sheet goods is that they provide a solid protective layer over the floor. Any time you have seams, these are places where water can get under the material. If the material is laid over a concrete slab floor, as most commercial installations are, then the worst case scenario is delamination. However, if the material is over a wood substrate you not only get delamination, you get swelling, rot, and odor, for this reason, avoiding seams is the recommended installation.

But can't seams be sealed, you might ask, sure, however, a sealed seam is still a seam and is usually the first point of failure when it comes to sheet goods.

Right, and that's why one piece linoleum is in most cases superior to 12" square stick on vinyl tiles.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Linoleum? cork?

If you can't find what you want locally search the web. Then see if somebody local will get it for you as they may have shipping discounts and because that also makes them responsible for the product in case of shipping damage or unseen product defects. If they won't do that then you can order it yourself- just be sure to read and understand the shipping details and costs involved- and get a local contractor to do the install.

I highly recommend going with commercial "battleship" vinyls as they are far more durable and harder to damage. The installation cost may be slightly higher as they are harder to work with and some installers won't do them, but they will last decades while residential vinyls won't. Colors and styles are more limited but there's usually something you'll like. These are nearly permanent flooring's in residential uses for a cost far lower than tile.

Phil

jandtthomas
Re: Linoleum? cork?

Thank you for your advice and comments. Linoleum is still at the top of the list even though it is harder to find and we may have to hire someone else with more experience in that field to do the installation. The shop I attempted to go to yesterday is closed on weekends so I don't know if they will have what we want or not. I like hardwood but realize that may not be the best choice for a kitchen. Fake hardwood (as in vinyl or laminate) is definitely out, but bamboo is a possibility depending on the total cost. Cork we've also ruled out for various reasons including some of the above. And then there is always good old vinyl which we may end up with if nothing else turns out to work. As with the pantry I'm trying to keep in line with the 40's bungalow.

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