Tag Archives: flooring

Healthy Flooring Alternatives

Healthy flooring alternatives? Why do I even care about that?

A lack of healthy flooring alternatives might be a significant factor in the number of people that are complaining these days about allergies and asthma. That can be quite astounding if you start to pay attention to this problem that is on the verge of epidemic. What might be the most amazing is that people are typically spending more time and money suffering or taking medicine that compounds the problems than trying to take the bull by the horns, especially when it comes to kids. How many folks rush their children straight to the specialist rather than let things run their course naturally. The doctors are all too quick to provide inhalers, steroids and antihistamines to settle health problems that can generally be attributed to carpet and rugs as well as lots of other things hiding in our homes.

Consider the following:

Sources of Asthma, Allergy & Runny Nose and some alternatives:

  1. Cleaning & Disinfecting Products (use vinegar, borax, baking soda and bleach occasionally)
  2. Paints, Stains & Coatings (find non toxic solutions and don’t confuse Zero VOC with Non Toxic)
  3. Foams & Paddings (avoid urethane, styrene and all other foams and spongy synthetics using jute and natural fibers instead)
  4. Synthetic Chemicals (keep your loved ones away from epoxy, urethane and smelly solvents)
  5. Food-Based Toxins (pesticide and fertilizer sludge residues are toxic…. grow your own or buy organic)
  6. Airborne Dusts & Toxins (use hepa and negative ionization to filter the airborne dusts from coal burning and cars that is in the air)
  7. Carpet, Flooring & Adhesives (glues, vinyls, synthetic rubber, foams, plastic yarns…why not use natural & healthy flooring alternatives if possible)

Generally, much of what we are being exposed to is plastic or a derivative of plastic or petroleum and our bodies are simply not equipped to combat the huge volume of these volatile chemicals being thrown at us. A good resource for understanding some of this is found here at this site with information from the EPA; Indoor Air Quality or see their video on Indoor Air Quality below. Ultimately it will be up to the manufacturers to make healthy flooring alternatives since the government and our legislators can not even begin to control this problem.


Don’t think for a second that your government or anyone for that matter except your mother might know what is best for you. In fact, it has been proposed that most men do not have the sensitivity to odor to protect themselves and their families from chronic or even acute chemical hazards. If you think about it, most men live shorter live and most tradesmen are men. This is no coincidence. There is a theory that men, having done all the smelly jobs like fighting, burying the dead and butchering animals for thousands of years have lost much of their natural sensitivity to odor or can turn it off as a coping skill. Men seem to be in charge of most building product specification and purchasing and are typically the ones who are saying “what are you worrying about” to their partners or clients.

Using healthy flooring alternatives that are bacteriostatic like linoleum can prevent the growth of many harmful bacteria and that is the reason it is used in hospitals and schools. Additionally, linoleum after it’s natural oils have cured in the factory has virtually none of the off-gassing from composite flooring and other products that require the use of solvent based adhesives. The adhesives used with linoleum flooring leaves little in the way of chemical smell to bother people after the installation.



Marmoleum, in the Bathroom?

Bathroom tile flooring choices? Here was the original question asking about Marmoleum. :

Our house has 6 month old sheet marmoleum in the new kitchen, 6 year old marmoleum tile in entryway and laundry room. Absolutely love it!! We’re about to lay new flooring in two small bathrooms and would like to know which bathroom tile flooring would be best for our project?


First off, Lisa, I LOVE that you LOVE Marmoleum. Here are your considerations:

Colors: When comparing “MCT Tile”, which is a little thinner than the traditional “Dual Tile” the colors for MCT are a little more muted, pastel and institutional. That doesn’t mean you are not going to find colors that work for your project. Also for folks that may want to mix tiles with sheet goods or borders like in this bathroom photo then you would need to go to the Dual Tile since it is the same thickness.

Cost: Lots of people are attracted to the lower price of MCT but when you factor in that it only comes in 54 sq ft boxes, you may want to compare the cost of the Dual which also comes in boxes of 9. Even though you are paying more per square foot, you may not have much leftover after accounting for cutting and possibly a few errors. The real economical beauty of Dual for bathrooms comes into play when you want to add random colors or do patterns of multiple colors. Buying full cartons of 45 tiles in MCT just isn’t practical for this situation. NOTE: When it comes down to it, unless you are really pinching pennies, you should buy what you like!


Blue Marmoleum with a Border

A serene blue with a border is a true flooring artisan’s touch and invites you to fill it up and stay awhile.

Durability: If you were to remove the Top Shield finish from Marmoleum, you would be left with the exact same linoleum that your great-great-grandmother had as her bathroom tile flooring. Without Top Shield, grandma had to wax and periodically strip her yellowed wax floor to protect it, or she could just let it wear naturally and gradually amber. If you did that, the Dual because it is 2.5mm thick would last longer than the 2.0mm MCT tile, but that is really not a concern today with the protective coating that you can apply as periodic maintenance.

UPDATE: Forbo has revised their finish formula and now offers TopSheild2 which is one of the most durable and long lasting coatings on the market for flooring today, especially for Marmoleum bathroom tile flooring. This top layer of finish will protect your Marmoleum for a very long time no matter which product you select. Find out more on the Forbo page about TopShield2.

Forbo Top Shield 2 for Bathrooms

Lastly, here are the Forbo Flooring General Guidelines for Installing Marmoleum Tiles.

Bathroom Tile Flooring Marmoleum General Guidelines a

Hope that helps


What is Marmoleum!?

What is Marmoleum and why is everyone talking about it?

When people want to know what is Marmoleum, there is some lore that it was originally the result of a truly happy accident that occurred in a crafts shop back in the 1800’s. It is interesting to note that all through history crafts shops used oils that were pressed and harvested mostly from seeds and used as cooking oil or fuel for lamps. There was really no sensible or economic use for oil other than those things because it was so dear and hard to come by.

The 1860’s was the heart of the industrial revolution and when coal was put into use in a very large wholesale manner as fuel and oil was being produced from large scale whale hunting, as well as from huge advances in yield productivity from mechanical farming methods. This all made oil a cheap and inexpensive commodity and people were using it as a base for paints and coatings to decorate everything in sight in Europe. Sailcloth which was harvested from the change over of ship’s sails was used for coarse inexpensive clothing but also as a primitive version of resilient flooring. Painted with oil paints and allowed to dry for weeks this hybrid of a carpet and a painted floor became all the more popular since it was easily to clean and was considered healthy and sanitary as it is today. In fact, the use of linoleum in residential kitchens went a long way to improve food safety and preparation because of it’s clean-ability.

In an odd twist if you were to google up images for linoleum you would see virtually only pictures of other floor products like VCT, asbestos tile, VAT and vinyl sheet material. It is really too bad that the vinyl and plastic industry has been able to dumb down virtually the entire world about the difference between linoleum and vinyl. If you are interested in learning more you can visit the Wikipedia page about Linoleum.

Linoleum Cross Section What is Marmoleum?

A Linoleum Cross Section. What is Marmoleum?

Fast forward to the present day and virtually nothing is unchanged in the production of linoleum or Marmoleum, which was the original and enduring brand of linoleum we still have today. Combining a few ingredients in exacting proportions and making a linseed oil dough that is colored, it is spread on a canvas back and pressed and rolled and combined and accented with all different colors to make the marbleized looking products we still see today. Technology has gone a step further to produce exacting color control to satisfy the fussiest specifiers in the design industry. Some remarkable textures like the crocodile patterns that are tactile and exciting fare bringing linoleum into a whole new design dimension as well. A combination of old, safe, durable and organic technology built on centuries of experience and a modern and constantly evolving design aesthetic makes Forbo Marmoleum a product that will never go out of style. Just kick off your shoes and find out what is Marmoleum.