Greenbuild 2013: Forbo Shows Just How Good Looking (and Sustainable) Linoleum Can Be

Forbo Greenbuild

Forbo Marmoleum flooring display at Greenbuild 2013

By Trish Holder


I grew up in a house with linoleum flooring and while it wasn’t the most attractive of floors, I have to say it had staying power. Short of the accumulation of cleaning fluid in the faux grout lines and the yellowing from cigarette smoke (both my parents were serious smokers….God rest their souls) the floor looked pretty much the same to me at 25 as it did when I was four. It endured well over two decades of four kids, numerous grandchildren, pets, my father’s heavy work shoes, and a fair amount of neglect.

Workhorse floor that it was, it’s hard to reconcile the bland floor of my childhood with the gorgeous colors and patterns of Marmoleum floors from Forbo Flooring Systems. I got a look at the selection of Forbo’s core brand of linoleum at this year’s Greenbuild Expo. In case you haven’t heard, linoleum, or in this case Marmoleum, has come a long way in terms of variety and aesthetic appeal. Plus, its natural durability and sustainability are more relevant than ever.

Just As Sustainable As Bamboo or Cork
Say what you like about the sustainability aspects of bamboo and cork, Marmoleum is also made with rapidly renewable resources and the colors and patterns are awe-inspiring. If I were a practical-minded interior designer, I’d be looking for opportunities to incorporate Marmoleum in my clients’ homes, especially if they have kids or pets.

Marmoleum is USDA certified 100% bio-based, and is made primarily from linseed oil, powdered wood, and pine rosin. It is possesses inherently anti-static and antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria. It is also available in over 175 colors and patterns and comes in both sheets and tiles. The possibility for exciting floor designs using this product is endless. I saw fun, colorful patterns at Greenbuild that would be great in a child’s play room, as well as sophisticated neutrals suitable for a family room or even a bedroom, especially with an area rug or two to soften and warm up the look. In rooms like bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms, which are subject to a lot of moisture, Marmoleum (or other brands of linoleum) are actually a better choice than bamboo or cork.

Linoleum is typically far less expensive than wood, stone or tile, with sheet and tile price ranges from $5-6 per square foot. It is generally more expensive than vinyl and should be installed by a certified installer, so if price is all your about, you can go the high quality vinyl route still get an easy care floor. BUT, if you have any chemical sensitivities or environmental sensibilities, just know that vinyl is made from petroleum products and is all but impossible to recycle. Linoleum is not only recyclable, given time it will degrade on its own since it is made from organic materials. It can even be composted once it reaches the end of its useful life as a floor.

Vinyl can’t touch that!

1 Responses »

  1. Yep, our 96yo bungalow had its original marbled blue linoleum floor in the kitchen from 1919 until the previous owners covered it with ugly tile in 1976. We plan to soon replace that with Marmoleum.
    (though we are not happy they so cut down their greens line as we most wanted 475 Evergreen and it was discontinued).,

Leave a Response