Old Linoleum: Restore or Replace?

old cracking linoleum
  • 2 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100
What You'll Need
Clean mop
Replacement tiles
Utility knife

Deciding to restore or replace old linoleum is an individual choice. Your budget is one consideration. Other considerations take into account are the physical state of the linoleum. Many grades of linoleum can last quite a long time if they were properly maintained. Sometimes when purchasing a home that has a linoleum floor, restoration is a less expensive project to restore the look that might have been dulled through years of poor maintenance or lots of waxy build-ups that once removed, might be the simple solution toward obtaining the desired linoleum floor look you want.

Restoration First

Restoration is the least expensive method to gain a lustrous linoleum floor. A floor can be restored if the color and or pattern still complement the room's décor. Since linoleum flooring has a long life – up to 30 years or more, if well maintained, the design may no longer be contemporary enough to match a newer looking kitchen, bathroom, or other room in the home. Sometimes linoleum flooring needs replacement during an entire room makeover, especially when new marble kitchen countertops are installed. A new linoleum floor may be a need to match the marble countertop. However, you may wish to choose kitchen décor to match the linoleum once it is restored to that desired sheen you seek.

Linoleum, both sheet, and tile come in a variety of different marble effects that can easily be matched with kitchen countertops. The same holds true for bathroom makeovers where new cabinets with natural stone countertops are installed. However, if the linoleum flooring still suits your color and pattern likes, attempt restoration at least once before discovering you may need to replace it.

a hand cutting linoleum tile

Try This First

Clean your linoleum floor carefully with warm, soapy water making sure to mop it well and then let it dry. If this doesn’t produce a lustrous glow, then strip and re-wax. If this still doesn’t produce the results you want, then a full-blown restoration is in order.

Use a mixture of turpentine and freely apply the mixture to the floor with a clean mop. Use a bucketful of straight warm water to rinse the floor. Try not to use a mop that has had turpentine on it previously. No matter what degree of cleaning you give a mop dipped in turpentine, some residue is left on it even though you think it clean.

After the floor dries, examine it for scuff marks. Use toothpaste on a rag to cover the marks. Then re-wax the linoleum flooring, applying several coats, and letting each dry before another is applied. If your flooring still looks worn, replacing the floor is required.

Replacing the Floor

Replacing linoleum flooring can be easy, be sure to carefully research your choices, paying particular attention to color and pattern. Select the linoleum flooring that will complement the existing room décor. Decide whether to use sheet or tile linoleum and before buying materials, check for local discounts or coupons at supply stores.