By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Today's colorful linoleum is light years away from its earlier days - and from it rivals, vinyl and laminate - as an easy-to-install no-glue, click-in-place floating floor. Environment-friendly homeowners are choosing linoleum because it's made from natural, renewable ingredients and because it's a durable, hardworking and easy-to-care-for surface. This popular green building material is named for its main ingredient, linseed oil. This oil is mixed with pigments, pine rosin and flour, then heated and run through rollers that press the mixture into a sheet with a jute fabric backing.
A flooring contractor will charge $1,331 to lay a linoleum click floor in a 12-by-15-foot room, which includes labor and material. You can do it yourself for $1,100, the cost of the material, and save 17 percent. The cost of shipping will vary depending on where you live. You'll need carpentry tools, including hand and keyhole saws, a hammer, a tape measure, a tapping block, a pry bar, an angle bevel and wedges. The tongue-in-groove tiles or planks fit together by pressing the tongue of a tile against the grooved edge of the installed tile. The tiles snap together as you lower the tile into place. Like any DIY project, it doesn't take long to get the hang of it.
Plan to store the flat, unopened boxes of tile or planks in the room in which they'll be installed for several days so the material can adjust to the room's climate.