Whether you’re dealing with fashion, cars, or even building materials, what was once old can become new again. That’s the case with linoleum, which was used in millions of homes for decades before being phased out for a variety of reasons. If you live in a home at least 30 to 40 years old, you may have linoleum down in your home already, even if it is hidden by carpet, hardwood or tile.
While nobody wants to uncover and reuse their old linoleum, new forms of this flooring material have become popular again. That’s partly because of linoleum’s eco-friendly construction, but also thanks to new manufacturing techniques that have resulted in new styles and patterns. If you are considering installing linoleum in your home, you will want to keep reading as our guide is going to break down the installation cost and pricing of this unique retro material.
Types of Linoleum
For ages, the only form of linoleum you would find in homes was sheet linoleum. It was not necessarily easy to install, but common and available in millions of colors and design combinations. Well, today you can still buy linoleum by the sheet, but it’s also available in tile and plank form as well.
Linoleum Flooring Cost Factors
As we explained in our linoleum buying guide, this material is more complex than it looks, so there are a number of factors that go into how it’s priced. With that in mind, there are only three main areas you’ll need to consider about with the quality, green factor, and format as branding is not going to be a concern.
Linoleum doesn’t have a grading system like solid hardwood flooring, so the easiest way to determine the overall quality and durability is to consider the warranty, thickness, and surface treatment. All three factors will vary depending on the manufacturer and directly affect the final price of the product.
The Green Factor
New linoleum is eco-friendly, unlike its asbestos-laden predecessor, which is better left alone or covered up. That means the “Green Factor” is high across the board for this type of flooring although some companies are a little more eco-friendly than others. The manufacturing process and material used to make flooring environmentally friendly can have significant impact on pricing as well.
We’ve already told you what to expect when it comes to formats with linoleum flooring, and it’s the last major factor in pricing. Planks and tiles are sold by the box or case, with the former being more expensive than the latter. Sheet linoleum typically comes on a roll despite its namesake and is the cheapest format of the three in our experience.
Linoleum Flooring Cost
Unless you have issues with your floor, the cost of linoleum flooring will take up most of your budget, whether you do it yourself or bring in a professional. It’s priced by the square foot if you’re buying tiles or planks, but can be priced by the square yard or by the roll as well.
On average, you can expect to pay between $4.00 to $8.00 per square foot for sheet linoleum . Tiles are more expensive on the low end as most run at least $3.50 but tend to top out at around $6.00. Click-lock linoleum carries a similar price point at around $3.50 to $7.00. Keep in mind, the warranty and thickness have a lot to do with the price as well.
The easiest way to figure out how much flooring will cost is to measure the size of the room where you plan to install the linoleum. Length times width will give you the square footage, so a room that’s 7’ x 12” would need 84 square feet of linoleum. If the flooring you like is $5.00 per square foot, it will cost you around $420. Below are a few examples of pricing from several of the top linoleum brands.
Price per sq. ft.
Forbo Ink Marmoleum
Linoleum Flooring Installation
How to install linoleum depends on its form factor, but it’s no different than installing sheet vinyl, luxury vinyl tiles, or engineered flooring. If you are skilled enough, this type of flooring is easy to install as long as your subfloor is solid and the room is prepped according to the manufacturers’ installation
The Cost to Install Linoleum Yourself
If you plan on going the DIY route with linoleum, there are only two options to seriously consider with tiles or locking planks. While the supplies and materials required largely remain the same, we feel sheet linoleum is better left to professionals unless you have experience working with sheet-based flooring or are in a clean room with a flat floor free of any issues.
Tools of the Trade
If you plan on installing tiles or sheet linoleum, you will need to rent a linoleum roller. Pros generally use one that’s at least 75 to 100 pounds, and while you can buy one, you’ll have to pay at least $200 at a minimum. A seam roller is another tool you can’t do without, but those are fairly inexpensive if you have to pick one up.
The same goes for a razor knife, which can cut most forms of linoleum aside from thick planks with a core. Unless you’re installing a floating floor, an adhesive is also required, which can run $50 to $200 depending on the size of the room or rooms. It’s an area where you need to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions while steering clear of any products that have harmful VOCs. You will need a handful of other tools as well, like a measuring tape, pencil, and a square or straight edge.
There aren’t as many accessories to choose from with linoleum in comparison to LVP or even hardwood. It will be difficult to impossible to find matching floor registers given the styles of linoleum, but it’s something you may need to replace.
Any baseboard or trim may have to be removed and replaced as well if it can’t be reused. While not an accessory, keep cabinets, toilets, and anything else in mind that may have to be removed to get your new flooring down.
Shipping is another hidden cost and something that can raise the cost of your project by hundreds of dollars. As linoleum isn’t as popular as luxury vinyl or laminate flooring, it’s more difficult to locate locally in some areas, so you may have to order it online from a specialty shop.
Linoleum Installation Problems
One major hurdle homeowners have to overcome when installing flooring is their existing flooring. Linoleum can be installed over “some” types of surfaces, but you may have to rip up carpet or remove your existing flooring. While it can make the job easier, you never know what’s lurking under your floorboards, so trouble can arise quickly.
Filling in a few holes with epoxy isn’t going to be expensive, and you can buy leveling products to even things out if your floor isn’t too off level. Replacing subflooring is a different issue, however, and something most homeowners can’t tackle themselves. If your current floor feels spongy or there’s been water damage, you may need to peel back a few layers to get a better look at the subfloor.
Replacing subfloor can cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000 or more depending on the materials used and the size of the room. What’s in the room plays a part in this equation as well, considering some fixtures are easier to remove than others.
Professional Linoleum Flooring Installation Cost
A professional linoleum installer can make life simple, but as you’d expect, hiring a pro will significantly increase the overall price of your project. The good news is the cost of material, labor, and supplies are all added into the contractor’s price, so you won’t have to worry about minor details or waste time running to the hardware store.
Sheet linoleum is typically the most costly to install. Adhesives are used, and working with a sheet in a small bathroom isn’t as easy as laying down tiles or planks. The preparation and condition of your existing flooring or subfloor is paramount as well, so you can expect to pay around $5.00 to $8.00 per square for sheet linoleum installation with flooring included. That’s assuming there are no issues with your subfloor, and the contractors or flooring pros are just laying down new flooring over existing flooring.
With linoleum tiles, the installation price is similar, but
can they can be a little more expensive to install depending on the size of the room. Tiles are smaller, so more hours are required to lay them down properly compared to sheet linoleum, and if you want a design, that will be extra. Expect to pay $6.00 to $8.50 per square foot for linoleum tile or plank installation with flooring included as long as they don’t run into any issues.
If the contractor needs to remove carpet or other forms of flooring first, that’s going to cost extra, so you could pay anywhere from an additional $200 to $500 to have your current flooring removed and disposed of. If asbestos is present and needs to be removed, double those prices at a minimum.
Best Places to Purchase Linoleum Flooring
While linoleum is a great, eco-friendly material to use in your home, it’s also the hardest type of flooring to find. If you live in areas loaded with flooring stores, you may be in luck, but we were unable to find any linoleum flooring at Lowes, Home Depot, Floor & Décor, or other large retailers locally.
Smaller hardware stores are also out, which leaves you with ordering online or going through a local flooring store. If you know of a brand or style you like, a flooring professional should be able to order samples or get you pricing if you can’t get it directly from the manufacturer.
Considering about half of the linoleum currently produced is geared towards commercial use, a specialty shop may be your best bet. At this time, the top linoleum brands are Forbo, which it's Marmoleum line, Armstrong, and their LinoArt series. Tarkett and Nova Distinctive Floors also produce linoleum but will probably be harder to acquire than the top two brands.
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Q: Is Linoleum the same as Vinyl?
A: While they do share some similarities in regards to installation and pricing, these materials are completely different, as you’ll see from our linoleum vs. vinyl shootout.
Q: Is linoleum waterproof?
A: No. It’s made from a high percentage of organic material, and while it handles water better than hardwood, it’s considered water-resistant, not waterproof.
Q: How long will a linoleum floor last?
A: On average, we found most floors to have a 15 to 25-year guarantee. That said, we’ve seen plenty of homes with 50-year old linoleum that’s still in good shape for its age, so your mileage will vary depending on foot traffic.