Hello! As you read this, I am in California, out in the middle of Joshua Tree National Park hopefully having a great time. I’ll let you know when I make it back to the internet next week.
In the meantime, I teed up this post to just share a quick update on how we’re liking our linoleum kitchen floors. I get asked about this by readers all the time who are considering Marmoleum, and originally planned to share it last week with my post about trim/thresholds, until that post became 2,800 words and I realized I should not cram in more. So today I’m back with that info for the many folks who have been asking!
First off, “Marmoleum” is a specific brand of linoleum, and the particular product we have is Marmoleum Click, by Forbo. These are floating tiles that click into place (rather than sheet or tile linoleum), which is what worked best for our uneven subfloor. For more about the saga of getting to these floors, how much we paid, and how we installed them, be sure to read this backstory.
At this point it’s only been about 8 months, so I think the true test will be seeing how they hold up years down the road. But so far, I’m really liking them. Here’s what I like most:
- The color: I really love the light, neutral color without noticeable seams, which would have been hard to get with most other materials. The color makes it feel a little special, while at the same time being the perfect neutral backdrop. And Marmoleum (even Marmoleum Click) comes in so many amazing colors, you could also do something really bold or a cool pattern if you wanted to make the floor the focal point of your room.
- Durability: They do get dirty (they are light-colored floors and we are plenty messy with cat hair, cooking spills, mud, etc), but everything wipes up so easily (even paint splatter). I never worry about spills not wiping up or sitting for too long.
- Comfort: They are softer underfoot than tile would be, which I appreciate when we’re cooking (or when I’m sitting on the floor for days painting baseboards).
They aren’t perfect, though, so I wanted to share a few things I’ve liked less:
- Difficulty of install: As you may remember, these were really hard to install — they say they’re a DIY product, but it just wasn’t happening for me so we ended up hiring someone. That was a challenge in and of itself since most flooring professionals won’t install a product you didn’t buy from them, but we found a family friend who saved the day and was willing to take the job. Still, with the added cost of install, the floor cost about $9 per square foot — and if I’d known that was what I would be spending all told, I might have considered other options that I originally ruled out because I was hoping to spend less. I’m not convinced, though — I may well have ended up with this same choice, because I really do love it.
- Seams: There are occasional visible seams between pieces/rows, which can be minimized during install but I don’t think can be eliminated entirely because the way the tiles are laid (clicking in at an angle) means that around radiators and edges it can be hard to do perfectly. Still, the seams are pretty minimal and not very visible unless you’re really looking.
- They can be scratched: These are pretty durable, but we’ve been doing construction in the kitchen so we have made a few scratches/scrapes. I think they’re more durable than wood floors, but they’re a bit more delicate than the seemingly indestructable (though ugly) tiles we had before. The scrapes are pretty unnoticeable in most light, though, which is why I wasn’t even able to really get a photo for you.
- Color variation: This is totally avoidable if you don’t make the mistake I did, which was to order too little flooring. We ended up having to order another two boxes, but those came from a different dye lot apparently and the color is every so slightly different. It’s not major, but it’s definitely noticeable along the radiator to the left of the door in the sun room:
With the credenza covering that spot now it’s even less noticeable, but just be sure you order enough the first time around. Also I really didn’t like how the vendor (Green Building Supply) treated me with regard to this issue. They were super helpful when we ran out and even waived shipping on the two extra boxes, but they didn’t mention that this could be an issue or suggest that we look for the dye lot information on the first set of boxes to try to find a match (which they did suggest months later, when we obviously no longer had the boxes).
When I first brought the color issue to their CEO’s attention (he had been helping me previously), he told me that Marmoleum is always slightly discolored when it arrives but it changes color in the sunlight (which I knew because I already had a bunch of it laid down, and I told them that upfront when I first emailed them about the issue, explicitly saying that this color variation was not like the ambering that happens naturally). The CEO told me to “relax” and wait 8 weeks for the color to change. Even though I knew he was wrong, I did wait 8 weeks, and then emailed him back to tell him it was still an issue. That’s when he said it could be the dye lots, and suggested I check my (now long-discarded) flooring boxes to see what dye lot the originals came from. When I told him I threw those away months ago and it would have been great for them to mention that then and asked that they send replacements, he went radio silent and never responded to any of my follow up inquiries.
That’s probably my biggest issue with the floors, and fortunately it hasn’t been too bad since I was mostly able to hide it. But I did not appreciate his attitude — given that the floors cost over $3,000, it seems reasonable to expect they’d all be one color (or if it’s possible they wouldn’t be, to mention that when I ordered two additional boxes). Also, never tell someone to relax — it is guaranteed to have the exact opposite effect.
But other than those few concerns, I really love the floors! I am looking forward to seeing how they hold up, and hope that I’ll be giving you another big thumbs up in 5, 10, and 15 years!