The origins of linoleum date all the way back to the middle of the 19th century to Frederick Walton's experiments with linseed oil. Linoleum was, and is still, made from linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, pine rosin, minerals, and pigments all pressed together and applied to some sort of fabric backing.
Linoleum gained popularity not long after its inception which continued well into the 20th century until it was superseded by PVC vinyl flooring. Due to its resilient properties, it is an excellent flooring to use on high traffic areas like hallways; due to its water resistance it is also ideal for kitchens and bathrooms.
For many years linoleum fell out of favour with home builders and decorators as vinyl came onto the scene with bright flashy colours and patterns; linoleum was seen as outdated and old-fashioned while PVC flooring was seen as trendy and modern.
Nowadays there has been a pretty huge turn around in the way that we think about PVC flooring; we now know that PVC gives off volatile organic compounds (or VOCs), is toxic when it burns, and cannot be recycled at a reasonable expense.
Since the focus in building has been changing to a more eco-friendly direction and as a result, linoleum has been reborn! The new forms of linoleum are brighter and more colorful than the linoleum that you might remember from your childhood or that which you see in hospitals. It can be installed in sheets, tiles, or even custom designs to meet your individual needs.
Because of current concerns with health issues caused or antagonized by building materials, linoleum is a very good choice for flooring in your home, particularly in areas that take a lot of abuse like playrooms. While flooring like hardwood and laminate is nice for areas like living rooms, other rooms are less suited for that type of flooring due to hard use or water exposure; linoleum is ideal for these types of situations however. Linoleum will also give you the benefit of being hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly, and ecologically sustainable.
Don't be afraid to research linoleum for your new or new-to-you home; you can rest assured that linoleum has come a long way over the last hundred years and can look and feel perfect in many situations in your home. Take a look online or at your local home improvement centre to see if linoleum is right for your home.