Marmoleum is sustainable and recyclable
Marmoleum is a brand name for natural linoleum. It was invented by Frederik Walton in 1860 and is sold world wide. It is 100 percent natural, made from a blend of linseed oil, tree resins, ground limestone, cork dust, wood flour (sawdust), and pigments pressed onto a backing of jute. This blend is sustainable because its organic ingredients are renewable and it can be recycled at the end of its life cycle. You could even use it as compost for your garden!
LVT is not sustainable or recyclable
In contrast, Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), and any vinyl flooring for that matter, is mostly synthetic. It is made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in four layers fused together: a vinyl color layer, a photographic film layer, and a urethane or aluminum oxide top layer for wear resistance fused onto a resilient vinyl backing. It is the photo-realistic 3-D graphics in the film layer that give LVT its appearance of natural wood or stone.
There is no completely safe way to make PVC or to dispose of it. Its life cycle of production, use, and ultimate incineration generates large quantities of dioxin and other toxic organochlorines and releases them into the environment. These can also be released in minute quantities indoors as a reaction to excessive sun or heat. Some brands of LVT still contain phthalates. These chemicals are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic.
Marmoleum has ingredient transparency.
“Ingredient transparency” means that the manufacturer discloses some or all of the materials and chemicals used in its product.
Forbo, the manufacturer of Marmoleum, lists all the ingredients of Marmoleum, and LVT manufacturers do not.
Marmoleum is naturally antimicrobial, anti-static, and hypoallergenic.
Both Marmoleum and LVT are antimicrobial, anti-static, and hypoallergenic. The difference is that these characteristics are naturally-occurring from the continuous oxidation of the linseed oil (read more here) in Marmoleum, but in LVT require a special chemical coating on its surface layer, which may wear off or leach out into your feet.
In a 2004 study by the North American Science Associates, linoleum had better antimicrobial effects than medical grade soft surface flooring. Below are the bacteria, fungi, and molds prevented by Marmoleum:
Marmoleum also beats MRSA bacteria
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Salmonella choleraesuis (now called Salmonella enterica)
- Bacillus cereus
- Fungi (molds):
- Aspergillus niger (black mold)
- Stachybotrys chartarum (also a black mold)
A 2006 study at the University of Glasgow showed that Marmoleum reduced the growth of Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and in some circumstances killed it.
Marmoleum's antimicrobial properties make it a favorite choice for hospitals and schools. And why not in your home?
What makes Marmoleum and Vinyl hypoallergenic?
Allergies are triggered by the ingredients of flooring, dust, and dust mites.
Static electricity bonds dirt and dust to a floor, which gives dust mites an environment to thrive, so flooring that is anti-static is easy to clean and less allergenic.
Marmoleum is naturally anti-static because it contains linseed oil and wood flour.
Vinyl has a chemical coating to make it anti-static and easier to clean. What's in the coating? The manufacturers won't tell us. How do you know if it's safe for you, your children, and your pets?
Marmoleum's hypoallergenic properties lead doctors to recommend it for their patients with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory disorders.
Marmoleum's beauty and durability
Whether you prefer neutrals or have a passion for deep, rich colors or bold, cheerful ones, Marmoleum has 200 colors to suit your design palette. You can use Forbo's design tool to choose laying patterns that mix and match your choice of colors.
In contrast, LVT's colors and patterns are photographic representations of stone or wood. They are beautiful but are generally limited to a neutral or a dark color palette.
As for durability, because Marmoleum is the same material all the way through, it's easy to repair if scratched or gouged. Just scrape a matching spare tile to create fine shavings, mix them with white carpenters glue, and fill in the scratch or gouge.
Marmoleum is also fire resistant. If you drop a cigarette on Marmoleum, it will leave only a brown mark, which can be rubbed out using a scouring nylon pad.
If you drop a burning cigarette on LVT, however, it will melt the vinyl and leave a black mark which will have to be replaced to restore your floor's original appearance.
LVT like Marmoleum can be scratched or dulled over time, but Marmoleum can be buffed out and restored and LVT cannot because it is not a through body color.
What about maintenance?
Both Marmoleum and LVT require routine cleaning with a broom or Swiffer-type applicator as well as regular damp mopping. Neutral pH cleaners with a sponge mop usually take care of most surface dirt.
Why Green Building Supply does not sell LVT
When we decide whether to carry a product, we check out Safety Data Sheets (SDS), Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and Health Product Declarations (HPDs). We look at their Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), which is the impact they make on the environment from production through their useful life and disposal. We look at the certifications they have for sustainability and compliance with government regulations as well as industry standards. If they pass all of those tests, we test them ourselves over a year for durability and their effects on human and environmental health.
We do not sell LVT because it does not pass our requirements for health, sustainability, and durability.
The Bottom Line: Why we sell Marmoleum flooring
We sell Marmoleum flooring in all its forms, sheet, tile and floating click because it is non-toxic, sustainable, hypoallergenic, anti-static, and antimicrobial. And it is available in a rainbow of gorgeous colors that blend well with each other and brighten up any room. This flooring looks like fun.
Marmoleum also has more environmental certifications that are independent, third-party, and Life Cycle Assessment-based than any other flooring material, which shows it has the lowest environmental footprint of any manufactured flooring material.
Marmoleum is sustainable from its ingredients and manufacturing process, through its installation and product life, to its ability to be recycled as garden compost at the end of its life.
LVT makes you choose between health and beauty.
With Marmoleum, you don't have to choose. You get a healthy, sustainable product that retains its beauty for decades.
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