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Linoleum Flooring: A Homeowner's Guide to the Pros and Cons


Apr 07, 2020 by Matt Frankel, CFP

Linoleum flooring has been a popular choice of flooring material for decades, and for good reason. It's not terribly expensive, it lasts a long time, and some modern linoleum products are very aesthetically pleasing.

However, linoleum is just one of several popular flooring materials, and it isn't the best choice for all situations. Here's a quick rundown of the pros and cons of linoleum flooring to help you make the right choice for your home.

Advantages of linoleum flooring

There are certainly some good reasons to consider linoleum for your flooring needs. Here's a rundown of the most significant advantages to using linoleum:

  • Cost effective: Linoleum is one of the lowest-cost flooring types to have installed. While flooring costs can vary dramatically within each type, Linoleum generally costs between $3 and $7 per square foot installed. For comparison, hardwoods and tile flooring have average ranges of $6 to $22 and $6 to $20, respectively, according to HomeAdvisor (NASDAQ: ANGI).
  • Long lasting: Linoleum flooring lasts a long time if properly maintained. According to The Flooring Professionals, linoleum floors typically last for 20 to 40 years. This is significantly longer than vinyl flooring, which has a similar price tag, and is on par with tile and hardwood, which typically cost much more.
  • Low maintenance: Aside from mopping, there's little maintenance required for linoleum flooring. It can help to polish it occasionally, but overall, it's a low-maintenance type of flooring material.
  • Comfortable: Linoleum flooring has some shock-absorbent properties, meaning it compresses when you walk on it. This can also make it safer for homes with small children. It also generally doesn't feel as cold as tile flooring when the temperature drops.

Drawbacks of linoleum flooring

Linoleum flooring isn't the perfect choice for everyone. Before you decide to install linoleum in your home, there are a few potential drawbacks you should consider:

  • Difficult to install: When compared with other flooring types, such as hardwood or ceramic tile, linoleum can be quite difficult to install. It requires precision cutting, and using the necessary adhesive can be difficult for do-it-yourselfers.
  • Less desirable to buyers: Although it can certainly be a very functional and long-lasting type of flooring, many buyers consider it to be cheap-looking compared to ceramic tile or hardwoods. Linoleum flooring can hurt your home's resale value and make it appraise for less than it otherwise would.
  • Easier to damage: Ceramic tile and hardwood floors don't easily dent or tear. On the other hand, linoleum is relatively susceptible to being cut by sharp objects and is more easily dented when impacted.
  • Moisture sensitive: Linoleum isn't as moisture resistant as some other flooring types, which is why you typically see ceramic tile in bathrooms and other places where there is frequently water on the floor. While the occasional spill in the kitchen likely won't have a major effect, linoleum can get worn out very quickly if it's exposed to water often.

The Millionacres bottom line

There's no perfect type of flooring for everyone, and linoleum is certainly not an exception. To determine whether linoleum might be right for you, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of it, as well as several other types of flooring, to see which checks the most boxes on your flooring wish list.

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Matthew Frankel, CFP has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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