Forbo Marmoleum and Me

Do you know the difference between linoleum and vinyl flooring? When I needed to cover the hideous flooring in my last house, a “farmhouse” on a 1/4 acre in West Seattle (it used to be a chicken farm long ago), I discovered Marmoleum, true linoleum made the old-fashioned way.

Who knows how old this vinyl flooring was. I assumed it was vinyl – and poorly installed. I was guessing from the 70s but who knew. All I knew is I couldn’t stand it and it took 2 years to figure out what to do.

See, we intended to “blow” out the end of the kitchen and enlarge the space, and we anticipated needing to put down new subflooring. We didn’t want to sink a lot of money into a fix that would let me tolerate being in my kitchen until the remodel. Marmoleum is a natural product made from linseed oil, wood flour, rosin, and jute. Not only is it environmentally friendly to produce, it ALSO composts when it goes to the landfill when you tear it out to do something new.
An ingenious fix was to just cover up the current floor with new flooring. We’re not very handy, so hired an affordable contractor who used a special leveling compoung and prepared the old vinyl surface for the Marmoleum overlay. The two men who did the work (brothers) made a paper pattern cut out of the floor, and took the paper out to the patio and laid it over the linoluem we had purchased and cut it to fit exactly. I think they did a little trimming once back in the kitchen, but I have to say I was very happy with the end result.

Ultimately, we ended up selling this house last summer, and moving to a new Built Green townhome in High Point. If you read my blog regularly, you already know all about that! Remodeling our former home was just going to be to much for us since we weren’t very experienced and ultimately lacked motivation to commit our lives to living in a rehab project.

Marmoleum is a topic of conversation in our home once again. The “bonus room” off of the garage, which is subterranean, has been a site of pet accidents and we have not been able to get the smell out of the carpet pad. We’re ready to cut the carpet out just to get the smell out. I suggested painting the concrete floor a neat color until we were ready to put down bamboo or cork flooring. As you know, everyone’s budget is tight these days and we’re not ready to spend the money for the permanent fix. But we can’t live with the carpet anymore, so something has to be done.

Ultimately we decided against painting the concrete floor mostly because it is a multi-step process, requires a lot of chemical preparation, and our home is open between floors and there is no way to close off this space while the floor is being prepared and painted. I did find what I think is the best paint out there for this project (DuraSoy One BioBased Paint). It is non-toxic, zero VOC, etc., but it still requires drying time and the inconvenience caused by tying up this space is a problem. My husband suggested Marmoleum again and I’ve been persuaded it is probably the easiest thing to do right now. Now we just have to figure out what color! The walls in this room are painted two different colors (macadamia and hosta from the Devine paint line). Of course, since I am color-blind, I can’t really match it, and have to rely on my artistic husband to do that for me. But it will be something from the Neutral Color Collaborators even though I am mysteriously drawn to the reds of Sunset Boulevard. I don’t think it will work in that room. I just know I am taking my paint sample sheet from Devine when we go to ecohaus or Great Floors to pick a color out. I saw an ad in last weekend’s Pacific Magazine and maybe the price might be competitive with ecohaus. Stay tuned for more on this project!

More in today’s Seattle PI: Read Today’s linoleum flooring is a step up

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