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Resilient floor coverings
Vinyl, linoleum and cork
Vinyl, linoleum and cork are known as resilient floorcoverings, as
they are soft and flexible, and give a cushioned effect underfoot.
They are suitable for most rooms, as long as they are given a non-
slip finish for areas that might get wet and slippery.
Vinyl floors are suitable for most rooms of the house, but are
particularly useful for the wet areas kitchen, bathroom, laundry -
with non-slip varieties.
There is a huge range of colours and patterns, from bright primary
colours, through pebble effects or metallic-look pastel, to marble
and woodgrain effects.
They are soft underfoot, and can come in extra cushioned
Vinyls can come in sheet form, tiles or planks to mimic
floorboards. Woodgrain vinyl 'planks' can be laid in intricate patterns to
resemble parquetry flooring.
Linoleum, the sustainable flooring
Once considered old fashioned, and almost completely ignored
when vinyl came onto the market in the 1970s, linoleum is coming
back into favour because of its sustainability.
Linoleum is all natural, kind to the environment, non-allergenic,
and can be recycled.
Unlike vinyl, which is a petroleum based polymer polyvinyl
chloride (PVC), linoleum is made from renewable materials such as
solidified linseed oil (linoxyn), pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood
flour and mineral fillers on a burlap or canvas backing.
Linoleum comes in a range of colours, patterns and styles, and can
be used in place of vinyl flooring for all domestic purposes.
Professional installation is recommended as laying linoleum
requires special skills and tools. It is stiffer and less flexible than
most vinyl sheet, requiring more skill to cut and handle.
Eco-friendly cork flooring
Cork flooring is completely natural and sustainable, being made
from the bark of the cork oak tree, which is peeled off in sheets
from the living tree.
Cork floor tiles can be used anywhere you would use vinyl or
linoleum, and once sealed, can handle wet conditions just as well
as the other resilient finishes.
It has a natural warm, woody colour and effect, but is also
available in strong bright colours which can be used to create
Choosing the Right Flooring
There are so many grades of resilient flooring to choose from, you
need to be clear on what you require from the floor:
- Slip resistance (bathroom, kitchen, laundry)
- Resistance to grease and chemicals (kitchen, laundry)
- Level of cushioning
- Ease of cleaning and maintenance
- Gloss or matt finish
- Method of laying - sheet, tiles or planks
Finishes for Resilient Floors
Vinyl and cork floors are usually finished with a polyurethane
sealer to ensure they are easy to clean and maintain and will look
smart and wear well for years.
Linoleum is not sealed, and has a slightly porous surface. It can
be treated with a specialised resilient surface finish, and then
polished two or three times a year with linoleum polish.
Need a specialist for vinyl, linoleum or cork flooring? Get the best
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