Linoleum for the Bathroom Floor: Earth-Friendly Beauty

Linoleum is made of biodegradable materials and is available in many colors and patterns that make it a good choice for bathroom flooring.

Linoleum is staging a comeback as a green flooring option. Image: Forbo Flooring Systems

This is your grandma’s flooring! Once a flooring mainstay, linoleum is staging a comeback as a green option suitable for bathrooms. It’s also affordable. Cost: $2 to $4 per sq. ft.; installation, $5 to $7 per sq. ft.

An earth-friendly option

If you lean toward the green, you’ll appreciate linoleum’s natural, renewable ingredients:

  • linseed oil
  • jute
  • wood flour
  • cork

Unlike vinyl flooring and other synthetics, it off-gasses no harmful vapors—though it has a characteristic smell when first installed.

You’ll find stunning colors and patterns, some of which are beautifully retro. And, when you find it has reached the end of its serviceable life—as long as 25 to 40 years—it is biodegradable.

Durability of linoleum

Linoleum stands up well to traffic and offers some cushioning underfoot, but it’s susceptible to staining and scratching. For this reason, some manufacturers add a protective coating. Without this coating, linoleum must be cleaned and polished every two years. Sheets are 79 inches wide.

One warning: Avoid installing linoleum tiles. Through more adherent than self-adhesive tiles, anything with lots of seams creates opportunities for water to seep between the tiles and rot the subfloor.