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Unit: Linoleum

LMFFL3301A: Install linoleum floor coverings


Properties of linoleum

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Linoleum is made from natural materials. The primary ingredients are linseed oil and rosin (tree resin).

These are mixed with other substances, such as wood flour, limestone powder and colour pigments, to form 'linoleum granulates'.

The granulates are pressed onto a hessian backing in a rolling mill to make the linoleum sheet. Hessian is a fabric that's woven from jute plant fibres.

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Given the fact that all of these materials are naturally occurring and biodegradable, linoleum is often considered to be more environmentally friendly than vinyl flooring.

Having said that, it is true that vinyl manufacture requires less power - so there are less greenhouse gasses emitted while it is being made.

It's also the case that recycled PVC flooring is increasingly being used as a base material in the manufacture of new vinyl products.

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Drying room yellowing

Because linoleum uses linseed oil as one of its ingredients, it sometimes develops an appearance on the surface called 'drying room yellowing'.

The yellowing occurs when the linseed oil oxidises while it's drying.

Its final effect depends on the colours in the linoleum - for example, blues and greens tend to look greener, and beige takes on a yellowish hue.

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Once the flooring is exposed to light, the yellowing disappears.

In bright sunlight, this process will take only a few hours; but in artificial light it can take up to several weeks.

Nonetheless, it will still disappear in time, even if you put a floor finish or polish over the yellowing.

If furniture or other objects are placed on the linoleum and the light is blocked out, the yellowing cast may start to reappear.

However, you can reassure the client that this isn't a stain. Once it's exposed to light, it will fade away again.

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Manufacturing process

This diagram shows the process used to manufacture linoleum sheet flooring. It has been adapted from a drawing developed by Tarkett.

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Learning activity

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Follow the link below to see a promotional video produced by Forbo on how they manufacture linoleum sheets.

Forbo flooring systems linoleum production

Watch the video and answer the following questions:

  • What brand name is used by Forbo for their linoleum products?

  • How long does the linoleum sheet spend in the drying room while it cures?
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