Linoleum & Marmoleum Floors

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  • This topic has been written about a few times - but a long while ago. Many of the earlier recommendations on vendors/stores are now out of business..

    Wondering if anyone has had more recent experiences installing Cork or Linoleum flooring options ? Also need recommendations for stores and good installers for these floors.

    We are new to homeownership and have NO experience in anything home-related, just learning as we go along :) In search of an affordable, healthy and eco-friendly flooring option for the casual bedrooms/hallway areas which is water-resistant for regular cleaning.

    Thank you in advance!!

    I have been a home owner for several years and still feel like I know nothing about anything home related. I have just started a once-every-10-years home refresh, and chose to work with a local contractor whom I watched renovate a house in my neighborhood. He recommended the Floor Store. I am in the middle of having Coretec Stone (cork underlay) installed in my kitchen. The previous flooring was rollout vinyl, which seemed to hold up OK for about 10 years, but it has now been 20 years and it was in overall bad shape.

    We have renovated homes using both true linoleum as well as cork and I would be happy to talk about the differences but maybe you should just give me a call.

    We have renovated homes using both true linoleum as well as cork and I would be happy to talk about the differences but maybe you should just give me a call.

    In the meantime, the very best resource if you want a healthy homeAnd you want to be able to access people who are truly knowledgeable about what they’re selling, and there’s no toxic chemicals for children and adults who live in the homes to deal with offgassing, I would absolutely recommend EcoHome in Berkeley on San Pablo. I would veer away from the floor store myself.

    I can't speak to linoleum flooring, but we recently installed cork flooring in our new-addition bedroom and LOVE it. We get so many compliments about how pretty it is, it's soft and comfortable on my middle-age feet, and it doesn't get cold like other flooring does (which is nice since our bedroom is basically in the basement). We got it from Flooring Alternatives on San Pablo in Berkeley, and I cannot recommend them highly enough. They only do eco-friendly flooring. Talk to Mari--she was great to work with. 

    Hi there, We had cork flooring in our old house in SF. It looked great, was nice on your feet, but sunlight fades it. And in a short amount of time! I wouldn't use cork if you have windows that let direct sun stream onto the floor.

    Hi! Full disclosure, my husband owns a flooring company ( that sells vinyl flooring. Here are a few thoughts: Linoleum can be more eco friendly, but make sure that it is actually made from linseed oil. Marmoleum is a good brand. The downside with it is that unlike vinyl, it's pretty limited with the designs, since it's a solid material. There is no print film. So it can't look like wood, though they try their best. They can pigment it, and play with how they texture it, which is how they try to mimic wood and stone, but traditionally it's just a solid color. Same with cork. 

    Linoleum is pretty water resistant, but some brands put it on an HDF core so it can click together and the core isn't waterproof. Cork is a little less waterproof. 

    My pitch for vinyl (not that you're want to switch) is that it looks much more like wood if that's what you're after. Also it is virtually waterproof, tends to last longer and requires less maintenance. Neither linoleum or cork is as scratch-resistant as vinyl if you're interested in that. Environmentally - vinyl is not as good, but my husband's company recycles all of the vinyl it sells to make new floors which is pretty awesome. 

    I installed a cork floor in my office in 2018 after looking at linoleum/Marmoleum and other options, and I'm very happy with it. It's held up better than I thought it would to kid traffic, heavy furniture and dropped objects. I ended up getting click-together floating (no glue required) cork planks by Duro Design - I think they were from Lumber Liquidators. Our regular handyman installed them - it looked pretty straightforward and I considered doing it myself, but ended up hiring someone to get it done faster. We installed it over a concrete slab (with moisture barrier but no other underlayment) and it's nice and cushy.

    We used Frick Flooring for our Marmoleum and it turned out great. Love Marmoleum!

    We checked colors at Berkeley Design Center:

    Our friends a few house away from us installed cork floors in their kitchen about 10 years ago and like it because it is soft and comfortable. The issues they have is that the sun has faded parts of it, there are wear patterns in front of the counters and it has to be refinished about every five years which is rather expensive. We installed Marmoleum (the new linoleum) in our kitchen 7 years ago and, like cork, it is eco friendly as it is made from linseed oil and other natural products. It is a bit firmer than cork but there are no wear patterns on the surface as the color is solid all through the material. There is no veneer to wear out. Care is easy as one uses a liquid cleaner sold by Forbo (the manufacturer) and others. For more information you can look at the website: and see lots of information about the product. You can even order samples. If you want to look locally Abbey Carpet in El Cerrito, Berkeley Design Store and The Floor Store in Richmond have samples you can look at. For installation I can highly recommend Frick Flooring at 510-758-2122. John works by himself and does an excellent job. He has installed several marmoleum floors for us and is scheduled to install two more this summer.

    Hello, we also did click-together cork flooring in our kitchen. We love it because it is warm underfoot, and things don't break as easily when they hit the surface. It's stood up well; we are a small family and no pets, so maybe that's helped. As for previous posters' issues, it does not get direct sunlight (north-facing windows in kitchen) and we put a gel mat in front of the sink. The housecleaners do a light wet mop of it every two weeks and it seems to stand up to that too. Honestly, it probably has some stains and nicks, but since it's a darker color and has natural patterns, I don't really notice them!  :-)

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

2008 - 2013 Recommendations

Installing coved linoleum kitchen floors

Nov 2012

Looking for recommendations for someone who does quality linoleum installs. Particularily cove. 2009 is the last posting. robert

Recommend you call Felix at Straus Carpet Co. 510-428-2828. I have hired him many times to install both carpets and linoleum in my rental units. He is very knowledgeable and very easy to work with. Always does a fine job.
Sept 2009

I just had my bathroom and kitchen floors done in marmoleum. The installer was John Frick of Frick Flooring. He showed up when he said he would. He completed the job in the time he stated he would, actually sooner. He moved a damn heavy stove. My floors look sensational, and John was congenial as he was professional. His abilities are highly recommended, he also does linoleum and laminate. happy camper

2004 - 2007 Recommendations

Happy with my Marmoleum floors

February 2006

Having just completed redoing my kitchen floor, I have a plethora of recommendations. Choose whatever may fit your needs. (I have no alliance or relationship with any of the stores or people I recommend.)

1)First, we decided to do the floor in marmoleum. It is similar to linoleum or vinyl, only green as in ecological not color. See for more info about marmoleum.

2) For putting down the floor I can't speak highly enough of John Frick. His prices were reasonable, he was professional, friendly and responsible and did a terrific job. He's also licensed. See Frick Flooring & Installation, 510-758-2122.

3) I purchased the materials at Anderson Carpet. Their prices, on marmoleum at least, were well under at least 8 of the other Bay Area flooring places I called. 510-652-1032. They may not be the smoothest people, but they deliver.


How does Marmoleum hold up with kids?

October 2005

We're planning an extensive remodel of a 1911, quasi-craftsman house. I'm having trouble visualizing what to put on the kitchen and master bath and main/family bath floors. We want something that works with the vintage of the house, is not too cold or hard, is easy to keep clean and good looking, and can take heavy wear and tear (we have 3 busy young boys who see every floor as a potential racetrack, or, sometimes, water play area). For the main bath, I'd love to replicate the little white vintage hexagonal tiles, but that seems foolhardy for maintenance reasons. I'm intrigued by marmoleum, at least for the kitchen, but I've only seen new floors that use it. Hw does it look after several years? What do other people do in their old Berkeley homes so the remodel blends in with the old house but is easy and practical to maintain? We've ruled out fir (dents too easily) and I'm relunctant to install hardwood where water will get spilled every day. Isabelle

I read your post re: what to use for kitchen and bathroom of craftsman-era house. I thought I'd post it here so that it can hopefully make it into the archives. We went with marmoleum for our archives. I give it mixed reviews. We went with a light color -- what were we thinking? All I can say is that it was pre-baby. What's happened is that a lot of dirt is showing up between the seams. The floors are a year old but this happened almost immediately. I think it's pretty inevitable with any light color, because at least in old homes, the floors aren't exactly square and therefore the marmoleum has to be cut at a slight angle, and there are bound to be tiny gaps. At least that's what I'm telling myself. We do love that it is warm and relatively soft for our one-year-old to crawl on/fall on, plus it's pretty easy to clean and I think it does go well with the house. But I would choose a darker color next time.

I also want to post that we had an issue with Floor Dimensions in Albany that I'm still trying to resolve. They installed the flooring with a slight gash in one part. It was a defect in the manufacturing, I think. They came out to try and cover it up and it looked okay. But again, what's happened after a year is that a lot of dirt is showing where that gash was. It's a totally different color from the flooring now. I've called them back to see if I can get some $ off, since I don't think any minor repair will ultimately last. I'm still playing phone tag with them. So I can't report that they're great or terrible, but I am pissed off that they didn't go ahead and do a more extensive repair or offer money off in the 1st place. Good luck in your decision. anon

Linoleum flooring for retro kitchen

June 2005

We just purchased a house with an adorable and original 1940's kitchen. We'd like to put in a new floor to complement the yellow and blue counter top tile but want to stay away from anything that is too kitchsy. Any recommendations for stores or brands of flooring that work with a retro look without going over the top?

We recently had new linoleum put in in our kitchen and I'd like to recommend someone who did excellent work for a very reasonable price. He charged us less than 1/2 of what most other place would have and did a terrific job of what turned out to be a huge task. He and his workers were on time, worked hard and finished the job in less time than estimated. It turned out that they had to remove 5 layers of old linoleum and replace the plywood. His name is Julio and his company is called On-line Flooring & Carpet, 510-260-5317. gerrit
Try Marmoleum, which is *real* linoleum (vs. the contemporary, shiny sheet vinyl that's often called linoleum these days). It's made by Armstrong, and comes in a variety of colors -- from neutral and subtle to bright and fun. You can also do a contrasting border, inlays, and other cool treatments. We just had Marmoleum installed in two bathrooms we remodeled -- one floor is a soft sage green and the other is a gorgeous marbled-butterscotch color -- and couldn't be happier with how it looks. It's about $35 a square yard, plus installation. Anderson Carpet on Broadway and Dawson Floors on Fruitvale in Oakland both carry Marmoleum, and do installation as well.

Best of luck with your choice (and I'm glad to hear that you're going with the style of your kitchen and not trying to force it into something it's not)!
A fellow '40s-house owner

2003 & Earlier

Installer for linoleum flooring

March 2000

I would like a recommendation for a person installing linoleum flooring (kitchen and bathroom) Nancy Dawson Floor Coverings in Oakland. *Extremely* detail oriented and professional. Reasonably priced. They did our kitchen 2-3 yrs ago. John

Removing old linoleum

May 2000

We're thinking of putting a laminate floor in our kitchen. Has anyone ever had one of the new laminate products installed by an independent contractor rather than a flooring store? I tried the route of having the floor store come out and measure. They were unwilling to discuss removing the top layer of vinyl, which we feel is a must, and they frankly seemed uninterested in the job. Any recommendations? Maria

Regarding the flooring store that wouldn't remove the old linoleum floor: The store may have thought your linoleum might have asbestos in it. If so, the store might not have the qualifications to remove the old flooring. In fact, I have read that with asbestos-containing flooring, it's best to leave it in place and lay the new surface over it.

However, if the store had thought these things, then it should have told you rather than keep quiet. Regardless, if the linoleum is old then you might want to get a lab to test it for asbestos if you really want to have it removed. I know that some linoleum from the 50's has asbestos in it, but I don't know about other bygone eras. Fran