LVT alternative – Linoleum

Photo Credit: Forbo - Marmoleum Linear Sheet


LVT or Luxury Vinyl Tile is one of the most popular yet toxic flooring choices in our market. It impacts our health both during production and long-term. Vinyl is made from petroleum and PVCchemicals that are both carcinogens and reproductive toxicants. Vinyl also contains phthalates which can cause birth defects as well as hormone disruption by off-gassing. 1


Natural linoleum is a great alternative to vinyl flooring and is suitable for many spaces, particularly bathrooms and kitchens due to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It is low-maintenance and can be installed on wood or concrete subfloor, and typically needs just a coat of natural wax (beeswax and linseed oil) for protection and care. With proper upkeep, these floors have a life expectancy of 40+ years. Natural linoleum is also biodegradable and recyclable.2


When specifying linoleum, be sure to check the product’s composition. The term “linoleum” flooring has been used broadly over the years and applied to generic vinyl flooring.1 True natural linoleum should only contain a mixture of linseed oil, pine resin, wood flour, cork flour, limestone and pigments pressed together onto a jute backing.2


✓ Choose linoleum, cork, or natural rubber flooring. These materials are usually made from bio-based ingredients, making them more likely to be free of hazardous ingredients.3


✓ Avoid vinyl flooring. Home improvement retailers have committed to actively avoid selling vinyl flooring that contains phthalates.4 However, other plasticizers have been substituted as a result that have not been fully tested for health implications.3


✓ Be cautious of post-consumer recycled vinyl and rubber. The post-consumer recycling process mixes various vinyl products that contain toxic chemicals and plasticizers. Similarly, recycled rubber is derived from recycled tires and can contain harmful substances and hydrocarbon processing oils.3


✓ Avoid flooring made from polyurethane. Polyurethane contains isocyanates and can cause asthma and other respiratory problems.3