Every so often someone tells me linoleum is out of fashion. I don’t understand it. We have a linoleum kitchen floor and we love it.
A former coworker told me his ex-wife cleans a lot of high-end houses, and the cool kids are all replacing linoleum with stone or tile.
The cool kids are making a mistake. In 2009, I replaced a trendy tile floor with Marmoleum, a brand of linoleum. It’s one of the best things I ever did. If my son takes a tumble on the linoleum, it’s usually not a big deal. It’s not like it’s foam rubber or something, but he has to tumble really hard to hurt himself.
On tile, he was more prone to fall because that junk was slippery. And if he did fall, it hurt. It was like falling on concrete.
But the tile was exceptionally high maintenance. You pretty much had to mop it every other day for it to look decent. It attracted and held onto dirt like a magnet.
The linoleum looks great if you mop it once a week. If my wife gets busy and misses a week, I never notice, although she seems to. What I do know is that she mopped it on Saturday morning, and right now, four days later, it looks like she just mopped.
The other problem with tile was breakage. After about five years, every tile around the refrigerator was broken, due to something falling out of the freezer. Popping tile up and replacing it is possible, but it’s a project. I did it a couple of times and I can’t say I miss it.
Stone theoretically ought to hide dirt better than ceramic tile in the cleaning department, but my wife’s family likes to rent a condo on the Gulf Coast every summer, and invariably the kitchens have stone floors. We’re cleaning them every single day. No thank you.
I do think a lot of people confuse vinyl with linoleum. Given where my boss lives and the age of the houses there, I think vinyl is a lot more likely. He also said after 9 years, his “linoleum” is shot. Given that it’s common to find 100-year-old linoleum in old houses that’s still perfectly serviceable, I think he has vinyl rather than linoleum. I can see vinyl wearing out in 9 years.
Tile, and especially stone, are very trendy right now. But they’re high maintenance, and I suspect they’re just a trend, like wood paneling in the 1970s and 1980s. Back then it was the thing to do, but now when people run into it, they either tear it out or paint over it.
If I were faced with a kitchen in need of a new floor, I’d put linoleum down in a heartbeat. Pick a shade or shades that go with pretty much anything and don’t go out of style, lay it down, and forget about it. You may never have the trendiest floor on the block, but it will be functional, and it will outlive you.
It sure beats having to put down a new floor every decade.