Far removed from the stiff linoleum flooring of yesteryear, today's resilient flooring gives consumers a wide variety of options to create the perfect look for their home.
Resilient flooring is a very popular choice, particularly because of the feel: it is somewhat cushioned to walk on. And unlike standard stone or tile installations, glasses or dishware are less likely to shatter if dropped on the floor. Clean up of spills is as easy as using a paper towel or a damp cloth.
Compared to hardwood flooring, resilient selections are relatively inexpensive and come in a seemingly endless choice of color and patterns. This variety can be combined in many subtle ways to produce stunning designs. Try a range of natural and earthy tones to create comfort and warmth, or select a palette of bright, clear colors for modern and traditional interiors.
For homeowners with a larger flooring budget, custom designs may be available through some suppliers. One commercial installation, for example, saw a 6,000-square-foot area covered with an image of Pearl Harbor, created with 24- by 36-inch vinyl tiles. Perhaps a little too grand for the average home, but it's the thought that counts.
The name resilient flooring covers several products, including vinyl, cork, plastic laminate and more advanced versions of linoleum.
Sold in either roll format, with 6-, 9-, or 12-foot-wide choices, or in tile format that average 12- to 16-inches square, vinyl flooring gives consumers an exceptional range of colors and designs.
Vinyl tiles may be a composition – a mixture of vinyl, mineral fibers, and clay – or, for more durability, they may be solid vinyl. The variety that offers a urethane wear layer holds up best to foot traffic and gives the best option for a "no-wax" finish. However, they will eventually lose their shine. The urethane layer also helps repel dirt and spills.
Made from an environmentally sustainable material, cork is one of the more popular, and renewable, options for consumers today. This pre-finished product gives any room a warm, earthy appearance, from light to bold hues. Installed with either thin, 12-by-12-inch tiles or thicker, 1-by-3-foot planks, cork makes an excellent flooring surface.
Cork is also a healthy choice as it is hypoallergenic, with anti-microbial agents to protect from mildew.
This option is easy to install and can be laid over virtually any material. Compared to its predecessor, today's new laminate flooring has a clear plastic layer that is 20 times more durable than the average kitchen countertop.
Beneath this hard plastic coating one often finds a 1/4-inch core of medium- or high-density particle board. The underside of the particle board is coated with a thinner laminate that helps to protect it from absorbing moisture.
While it looks similar to vinyl, linoleum is significantly different simply by the nature of its material. Layers of natural linseed oil (from flax) pine resins, wood flour, granulated cork and powdered limestone are compressed to make a layer of jute. This product is impervious to water, and is often selected when a seamless look is desired.
Linoleum is sold both in sheet flooring – rolls that are 6 or 12 feet wide – or tiles are normally 12 inches square. The color in linoleum penetrates entirely through the material, giving it great resistance to noticeable wear.