Covering linoleum flooring can greatly update your space, save money, and express creativity. But it can also be a tricky and challenging project, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. There are many things to consider, such as the type of flooring, the color and style, the installation process, the maintenance, and the potential pitfalls.
We’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you cover linoleum flooring like a pro. Whether you’re a homeowner, a renter, or a professional in the flooring industry, you’ll find valuable information, tips, and tricks in this guide.
We’ll show you how to choose the best option for your situation and preference, install it properly and safely, deal with any issues or problems, and keep it looking great for years to come. So what are you waiting for? Here is How to Cover Linoleum Flooring. Let’s get started!
How to Choose the Best Color and Style for Your New Flooring Over Linoleum
The color and style of your flooring can make a big difference in how your room looks and feels. Different colors and styles can create different moods, appearances, and values for your space.
Match Your Style:
Your flooring should match the style of your furniture and decor. Whether you have a modern, traditional, rustic, or eclectic style, your flooring should enhance it, not clash with it. For example, if you have a modern style, you might want to choose sleek and simple flooring, such as laminate or LVP, in a gray or white tone. If you have a rustic style, you might want to choose warm and cozy flooring, such as carpet or wood in a brown or beige tone.
Consider Your Lighting:
The amount of natural light in your room can affect your floor color. If you have a lot of sunlight, you might want darker shades to balance the brightness and create contrast. If you have little sunlight, you might want lighter shades to brighten the space and make it appear larger. For example, if you have a sunny room, you might choose dark brown or black tile or vinyl flooring. If you have a dim room, you might want to choose a light beige or white carpet or laminate flooring.
Follow Your Gut:
Choose a floor that you love, and that makes you happy. Ask yourself if you will still like this color and style in a few years. Trust your instincts and go for what feels right. For example, if you love blue and feel calm and relaxed, you might choose a blue carpet or vinyl flooring. If you love the look of wood and it makes you feel warm and cozy, you might want to choose a wood or laminate flooring.
How to Measure and Cut the Flooring Materials Accurately and Safely
You’ll need the following tools to measure and cut your flooring materials:
- A tape measure:
- A straight edge or carpenter’s square:
- A utility knife or a saw:
- Safety goggles and gloves:
To measure your room and your flooring materials, follow these steps:
- Measure the length and width of your room using your tape measure. If your room has an irregular shape, divide it into rectangles and measure each separately.
- Multiply the length by the width of each rectangle to get the area. Add up the areas of all rectangles to get the total area of your room.
- Add 10% extra to the total area for mistakes or repairs. This will give you the amount of flooring material you’ll need.
- Measure the length and width of each piece of flooring material using your tape measure. Compare them with the dimensions of your room and plan how you’ll arrange them.
To mark where you’ll cut your flooring materials, follow these steps:
- Lay the material on a flat, stable surface, such as a table or floor.
- Use the straight edge or carpenter’s square to draw straight lines on the material where you’ll cut. Use a pencil to make the marks.
- Leave some space for edges or borders around the material, depending on the type of flooring and installation method. For example, if you’re installing vinyl tiles, you may need to leave a 1/4-inch gap between the wall and the tile for expansion.
To cut your flooring materials according to your marks, follow these steps:
- Cut on a stable surface that can support the material and prevent it from slipping or sliding. If you’re using a saw, clamp the material to secure it.
- If you’re using a utility knife, cut from the backside of the material to avoid damaging the front side. Use multiple passes if needed to cut through the material.
- If you’re using a saw, use the appropriate blade for the type of material you’re cutting. For example, if you’re cutting wood, use a wood-cutting blade. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using and adjusting the saw.
Before installing the material, lay it on the floor to check if it fits well. This is especially important for tiles or planks with patterns, as you want them to match and align properly. You may need to trim or adjust some pieces if you find any gaps or overlaps.
Do You Need to Use Glue When Installing Flooring Over Linoleum?
Glue is an option that you can use to install your new flooring material over the existing linoleum. However, glue has some drawbacks, such as being messy, hard to change, and potentially damaging. Whether you need to use glue or not depends on your situation and preference. Here are some factors to consider when deciding to use glue or not:
- The size of your space: If you have a large space where tiles or planks can shift easily, you might want to use glue to keep them in place. Glue can prevent gaps or overlaps that can ruin the look and durability of your floor.
- The traffic level of your area: If you have a high-traffic area where the flooring needs to be durable, you might want to use glue to reinforce it. Glue can resist wear and tear and prevent lifting or peeling your floor.
- The condition of your linoleum: If an uneven linoleum surface needs smoothing, you might want to use glue to level it out. Glue can fill in minor bumps or dips and create a flat base for your new flooring.
On the other hand, there are some situations where you might not want to use glue, such as:
- The duration of your flooring solution: If you have a temporary flooring solution that you want to remove later, you might not want to use glue. Glue can make removal more difficult and leave residue on your linoleum.
- The quality of your linoleum: If you have a pristine linoleum surface that doesn’t need extra bonding, you might not want to use glue. Glue can damage your linoleum by staining or discoloring it.
- The budget of your project: If you have a tight budget that doesn’t allow for expensive adhesives, you might not want to use glue. Glue can add to the cost of your project and require more tools and time.
How to Cover Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum flooring is resilient and made of natural materials, such as linseed oil, cork, and wood. It is durable, eco-friendly, and easy to maintain. However, it can also look outdated, worn, or faded.
If you want to change the appearance of your linoleum floor without removing it, you can cover it with another flooring material. Here are some methods to cover linoleum flooring:
Floating Floor Systems
Floating floor systems are types of flooring that do not require nails or glue to attach to the subfloor. They are easy to install over linoleum; they only need a clean and flat surface. Some examples of floating floor systems are:
- Laminate Flooring: This type of flooring consists of layers of wood, paper, or plastic with a printed design on top. It is popular due to its durability and wide range of designs. It can mimic the look of wood, stone, tile, or other materials.
- Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP): This type of flooring is made of vinyl with a realistic design. It is especially known for mimicking wood and tile. It is also waterproof, making it suitable for bathrooms and kitchens.
Tile is a type of flooring made of ceramic, porcelain, stone, or other materials installed with thinset adhesive or mortar and grout. You can lay tiles directly over linoleum, but you should first use a thin layer of cement board or tile underlayment to provide a solid and even base. This ensures that the tiles adhere properly and stay in place. Some examples of tile are:
- Ceramic or Porcelain Tile: These are types of tiles that are made of clay or sand that are fired at high temperatures. They are durable, easy to clean, and come in various colors and patterns.
- Peel and Stick Vinyl Tiles: These tiles are made of vinyl with a pre-applied adhesive layer on the back. They are economical and easy to install. You need to peel off the backing and stick them down.
A carpet is a type of flooring that is made of fabric fibers that are woven or tufted together. It provides warmth, comfort, and sound insulation for the floor. If you lay carpet over linoleum, you should use carpet padding underneath to provide cushioning and sound insulation. It’s a straightforward process of rolling out the carpet pad, trimming it to size, and then laying and securing the carpet on top.
Paint is not a traditional “covering” for linoleum flooring but can provide a quick aesthetic change. You can paint your linoleum floor with a porch and floor paint designed for glossy surfaces. You can also use stencils for designs or patterns. To paint your linoleum floor, you need to clean the floor thoroughly, use a primer designed for glossy surfaces, and then paint with a porch and floor paint.
Plywood or OSB
Plywood, or OSB, is engineered wood with thin layers glued together. They provide a sturdy and stable subfloor that supports other flooring types. If you’re aiming for a rustic or industrial look, or you’re planning to install a specific type of flooring that requires a more traditional subfloor, you can lay down sheets of plywood or OSB over the linoleum. You need to secure the wood sheets to the floor joists below using screws, making sure not to screw so deep that you puncture any under-floor utilities.
Epoxy resin is a type of coating that can be used to coat and seal the linoleum floor. It offers a glossy, durable finish that can protect the floor from scratches and stains. You can add color or flakes to the epoxy for a decorative touch. To apply epoxy resin to your linoleum floor, mix the resin and hardener according to the manufacturer’s instructions and then spread it over the floor with a roller or squeegee.
- Always ensure the linoleum floor is clean, dry, and in good repair before covering it. Repair any major tears or bulges.
- Some methods, especially tiling, will add significant weight to the floor. Make sure the floor structure can support the added weight.
- Before finalizing your choice, consider the room’s purpose, the expected foot traffic, moisture exposure, and budget.
- Remember that adding another layer of flooring will raise the floor level, which may affect transitions to other rooms and the fit of doors. Adjustments may be needed.
How to Avoid or Fix Gaps, Seams, and Uneven Areas on Your Floor
Gaps, seams, and uneven areas are common imperfections affecting your floor’s quality, appearance, and durability. You want to avoid or fix them as soon as possible. Here are some reasons and solutions for these imperfections:
Gaps, seams, and uneven areas can be caused by various factors, such as:
- Temperature changes: Materials can expand or contract due to changes in temperature or humidity. This can create gaps between tiles or planks or cause them to warp or curl.
- Improper installation: If the tiles or planks are not installed properly, they can result in seams or gaps between them. This can happen if the materials are not aligned, spaced, or cut correctly.
- Subfloor issues: If the subfloor is not flat and smooth, it can cause bumps or dips on the linoleum or the new flooring. This can happen if the subfloor is damaged, uneven, or unprepared.
To avoid or fix gaps, seams, and uneven areas on your floor, you need to follow some steps before, during, and after installation. Here are some solutions for these imperfections:
Prepare the subfloor before installation:
Make sure the subfloor is flat and smooth. If using linoleum, remove any damages or bumps. You can use a leveling compound to fill in any holes or cracks on the subfloor. You can also sand down any minor bumps on the linoleum.
Use proper tools during installation:
Use a tape measure, a straight edge, and a pencil to mark where you’ll cut your materials. Use a utility knife or a saw to cut your materials according to your marks. Use a flooring pull bar or tapping block to fit the boards together tightly. Use spacers to maintain a gap between the wall and the flooring for expansion.
Fill gaps after installation:
If you notice any small gaps between tiles or planks after installation, you can use a color-matched filler to fill them in. You can apply the filler with a putty knife and smooth it over the gap. Let it dry and sand it lightly.
Control the room temperature during installation:
Avoid extreme cold or heat that can affect the materials. Keep the room temperature and humidity stable and consistent during installation. You can use a thermostat and a humidifier to control the room’s climate.
Reinstall that section of the floor:
You may need to reinstall that floor section if you notice any large gaps or seams between tiles or planks after installation. You can use a pry bar to remove the affected tiles or planks and replace them with new ones. Make sure they fit snugly and securely.
How to Clean and Maintain Your New Flooring Over Linoleum
Your new flooring over linoleum deserves proper care and maintenance. This will help it last longer, look better, and stay healthy. Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your new flooring over linoleum:
These are some general tips that apply to most types of flooring:
- Sweep regularly: Use a soft-bristled broom to remove dust and dirt from your floor. This prevents scratches and grime buildup that can damage your floor.
- Avoid excess water: Whether mopping or wiping, use a damp cloth or mop, not a wet one. Too much water can seep into the seams or edges of your floor and cause swelling, warping, or mold.
- Mind the chemicals: Use cleaners that are suitable for your flooring type. Some chemicals can be harsh or discolored on your floor. You can check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the best cleaners for your floor.
Depending on your flooring type, you may need some specific care. Here are some guidelines for different flooring materials:
1. For peel-and-stick tiles:
These are vinyl tiles that have a self-adhesive backing. To clean them, you can mop them with a gentle, tile-friendly cleaner. You can also dry the tiles with a cloth to prevent water spots or streaks.
2. For laminate flooring:
These planks have a wood-like design on top of a composite core. You can dry mop or vacuum them without the beater bar to clean them. You should also wipe spills immediately to avoid stains or damage. You can use a laminate-specific cleaner and a damp cloth for tough spots.
3. For vinyl plank flooring:
These planks are made of vinyl with a realistic design on top. You can use a mild detergent and a damp mop to clean them. You should also avoid rubber-backed mats as they may stain the vinyl.
4. For carpet tiles:
These are tiles that are made of fabric fibers that are woven or tufted together. To clean them, you can vacuum them often to remove dust and dirt. You should also blot stains quickly and use a carpet cleaner to remove them. You can also rotate tiles occasionally to ensure even wear and tear.
5. For faux wood options:
These tiles or planks mimic the look of wood but are made of other materials, such as ceramic, porcelain, or vinyl. You can dust or vacuum them without the beater bar to clean them. You can also use a wood-friendly cleaner and a damp mop to remove dirt and grime. You should also avoid dragging furniture to prevent scratches or dents.
To extend the life of your flooring, you can also do some extra things, such as:
- Use mats at the entrances to catch dirt and reduce what’s tracked in. This will keep your floor cleaner and protect it from wear and tear.
- Use furniture pads to protect your floor from scuffs or dents. These are small pieces of felt or rubber that you can stick under furniture legs to prevent them from scratching or denting your floor.
- Act fast when there’s a spill. Quick reactions prevent stains and damage. Use a paper towel or a cloth to blot the spill, and then use a suitable cleaner to remove it.
How to Avoid Common Mistakes and Pitfalls When Covering Linoleum Flooring
Improper surface preparation:
If you don’t clean the linoleum surface well, you can trap dust and dirt under your new flooring. This can cause unevenness and reduce adhesion. Make sure you sweep and mop the linoleum before installation. You can also use a degreaser or a solvent to remove wax or residue from the linoleum.
Misaligned tiles or planks:
If you don’t align your tiles or planks correctly, you can end up with gaps or seams that can ruin the look and stability of your floor. Use a level, ruler, and straight edge to mark and cut your tiles or planks accurately. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for tile placement and direction. You can also use spacers to maintain a consistent gap between tiles or planks.
Skimping on adhesive:
If you don’t use enough adhesive, your tiles or planks can peel off or move over time. Use the recommended amount and type of adhesive for your flooring material. Apply even pressure when placing tiles or planks to ensure proper bonding. You can also use a roller or a heat gun to help the adhesive set faster and stronger.
Messy edge work:
If you don’t cut your tiles or planks neatly, you can have sloppy edges that can affect the appearance and safety of your floor. Use a sharp utility knife or a saw to trim your tiles or planks to fit the edges or corners. Change blades often to keep cuts clean. You can also use a file or sandpaper to smooth any rough edges.
Ignoring the manual:
The manufacturer’s instructions are not optional but essential. They provide important information on installing, maintaining, and repairing your flooring. Read them carefully and follow them closely. For more tips and guidance, you can also check online resources, such as [this article] or [this video].
To avoid common mistakes and pitfalls when covering linoleum flooring, follow these tips:
- Test run: Lay out your tiles or planks without adhesive first. This helps you visualize the final look and fix any alignment issues.
- Essential tools: Use a flooring pull bar, a tapping block, a roller, and a heat gun to help you install your tiles or planks smoothly and securely.
- Professional help: If you feel overwhelmed or unsure, don’t hesitate to call in the pros. Sometimes, investing more initially is better than facing potential repairs or replacements later.
The road to renovating linoleum might be paved with choices and challenges, but with the right know-how, it’s smooth sailing! From the charm of faux wood to mastering the art of gap-filling, every choice matters. As you stand back, admiring that freshly installed floor, remember that each plank and tile reflects your effort, research, and dedication. Whether it’s a cozy carpet tile underfoot or the sheen of laminate, your space now wears your signature touch. So, armed with this guide and your newfound knowledge, what’s your next home project? Whatever it is, you’ve got this!