You’ve spent countless hours looking at swatches and samples, weighing pros and cons of different flooring types and you’ve finally settled on linoleum. While your head may still be spinning from all those color choices, you’re ready to lay out a budget and really figure out what linoleum flooring costs.
From the linoleum itself, to the labor, adhesives, tools, and down to the trims, there’s a lot to consider in your project budget. Here, we will give you some guidelines and helpful tips on how to accurately and easily estimate your linoleum flooring project.
Picking out your colors is the hardest part, we promise.
- What is Linoleum?
- Costs of Linoleum Materials
- Costs to Install Different Linoleum Types
- Additional Costs
What is Linoleum?
Let’s talk a little about what linoleum is—and what it isn’t. You may have already done some research and found that this popular flooring is pricier than you may have liked. Why is that?
Linoleum flooring has been in use since 1860, reaching peak notoriety in the mid-20th century. This floor covering has long been prized for its durability, versatility, and as a top-notch eco-friendly option.
This resilient floor is made of compressed natural resins, cork dust, wood fibers, mineral pigments, and linseed oil. This composite is then applied to a canvas or woven jute backing that is bonded with natural latex.
Fun fact: The “lin” in linseed oil is where linoleum gets its name.
It’s very common for folks to use the term “linoleum” to describe other resilient sheet goods, namely sheet vinyl. While these products look similar, they couldn’t be more different. This includes the price.
Sheet vinyl is made from cheap synthetic materials that can be easily mass produced. Sometimes, less than reputable retailers will try to pass off sheet vinyl as linoleum.
So, as you are shopping for a quality linoleum product and installation, make sure you specify that you want real linoleum and beware a “deal” that seems too good to be true.
Costs of Different Linoleum Materials
While very little has changed about the recipe that makes up linoleum, there have been a few innovations that make this product more accessible to the consumer and easier to install.
In years past, linoleum was most commonly available as sheet goods. Now, you can find it in glue-down tiles as well as a click-lock format which is a boon for the DIY homeowner.
The cost of the material itself depends on a few factors. These include: manufacturer, style, color, format, and where you buy it from.
|Type||Material Cost||Install Cost||Floor Prep||DIY Friendly|
|Sheet Linoleum||$5-7 per sq. ft.||$$$||$$$||No|
|Linoleum Tiles-Glue-down||$3-5 per sq. ft.||$$||$$||Yes|
|Linoleum Click Planks/Panels/Tiles||$5-7 per sq. ft.||$$||$||Yes|
Sheet Linoleum Material Cost
Sheet linoleum continues to be a popular format. It comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns with the option to create custom inlays and designs.
It is also available in different thicknesses or gauges which may impact price. The thicker the gauge, the more expensive. The most common thicknesses for residential and light commercial use are 2.0mm and 2.5mm.
Linoleum sheet is the most widely available type and is available to order from most local and national flooring retailers.
The cost for linoleum sheet averages $5-$7 per square foot. However, like other sheet goods and carpet, companies often sell it by the square yard. So, to compare, $45 to $63 per square yard.
Linoleum Glue-Down Tile Material Cost
Linoleum also comes in a tile which people have long used as an alternative to vinyl composition tile, also known as VCT. This product has all the great qualities of a sheet linoleum but in an easy-to-install tile format that is designed to be glued directly to the subfloor.
These tiles come in many of the same colors as the linoleum sheets and more. Many wood and stone patterns are now available that feature a textured embossing that creates a more realistic visual.
Another recent addition are large format sizes. As the streamlined modern look has gained momentum, the desire for larger tile sizes and less joints as exploded. Linoleum tiles used to only come in 12 in. x 12 in. sizes but now are available in 20 in. squares and the popular 12 in. x 24 in. rectangles.
Most linoleum tiles are 2.5mm thick with a standard woven jute backing. You should avoid anything thinner than this in a tile format as it may not be as durable.
The size and color options tend to impact the price for linoleum tiles. On average, you can expect to pay $4-$7 per square foot retail.
Click Linoleum Material Cost
One of the newest additions to the linoleum product family is click-together linoleum. It essentially combines a linoleum tile and an engineered wood plank—the best of both worlds.
Click linoleum is a 2.0 or 2.5mm thick linoleum veneer attached to a 5-7mm MDF or 3-ply engineered core. Some products also feature an attached cork acoustical underlayment.
The linoleum veneer is available in many of the same colors and styles of its sheet and tile linoleum counterparts. However, due the installation method, you lose a lot of the versatility to create custom designs or patterns with your floor.
Like linoleum tile, engineered linoleum is available in 12-inch squares, 12 x 24 in. rectangles, and as larger plank sizes such as 18 in. x 36 in.
Depending on the product construction, pattern, size, and whether it has an attached pad, you can expect to pay around $5-7 per square foot.
Costs to Install Different Linoleum Types
As you may have suspected, these different linoleum products each have their own method of install. These differ about as much as the products themselves.
With these different methods come their own set of cost considerations. These can include installation accessories such as adhesive, trims and transitions, as well as different levels of floor preparation.
While one type of flooring may seem more budget-friendly from the get-go, you may come to find out you are way over budget when you get into the install.
Let’s look at how each type of linoleum is installed, and the approximate costs associated with these projects.
Cost to Install Sheet Linoleum
Before we get into what it costs to install linoleum itself, it’s important to consider what you are installing the linoleum on top of. A properly prepared substrate is the foundation for a high-quality and long-lasting floor.
Linoleum sheet is known for not being the most forgiving floor when it comes to subfloor imperfections. Even small lumps, bumps, cracks, and raised areas can telegraph through the linoleum and become visible shortly after the adhesive has dried.
It’s not a good look. It can also spell trouble down the road as you go about your daily life. What started out as just an uneven surface can quickly become cracks, tears, holes, and undue wear on your brand-new linoleum floor.
Unfortunately, you can’t repair this type of damage. You would have to tear it out and start over. Talk about a budget killer.
Due to this unforgiving nature of sheet vinyl flooring, you will need a heavy amount of subfloor preparation. This is a tough item to estimate as the level of prep is very job-specific.
Sometimes, it only takes a couple bags of floor patch to smooth out the subfloor. This is the best case scenario. Other times, you must apply a self-leveling compound or embossing leveler to the entire area if the substrate is in bad shape or you are installing over an existing floor covering.
Typically, contractors will estimate floor prep work by the hour. That includes time and prep materials.
In this case, you can expect to pay anywhere from $35-$75 an hour. This is a highly variable cost and you should always have your contractor come out to assess your floor condition when asking for a quote.
Sheet linoleum itself is also notoriously difficult to work with. It is stiff, heavy and tough to cut, seam correctly, and requires special tools. Novice installers also often struggle with cutouts, templating, and pattern matching.
While it does have some self-healing properties, you shouldn’t rely on this to create neat seams.
Due to the time and difficulty, sheet linoleum costs more to install than other sheet goods such as vinyl or rubber. Professional installation can run $4-$5 per square foot or more if there are difficult cuts or inlays to be done.
Unless you are a very handy homeowner with more advanced installation experience, sheet linoleum installation is one that’s best left to the pros.
Cost to Install Linoleum Tile
Linoleum tile, like sheet linoleum, is unforgiving when it comes to subfloor preparation. So, the same rules and costs associated with subfloor prep applies.
However, linoleum tile is smaller and much easier to work with. Aside from the floor prep, it’s almost as simple as creating a layout, making cuts, and gluing it down. Therefore, this is a linoleum format that is DIY-friendly.
You can expect to pay around $5 per square foot for professional installation of glue-down vinyl tile. Again, specialty cuts and patterns can bring up the price, so make sure that you specify this when asking for a quote.
Cost to Install Linoleum Click
Since it is a floating floor, it can be installed over many other types of hard surfaces as approved by the manufacturer. You can potentially save a lot of money here on subfloor preparation.
This type of linoleum clicks together like a puzzle and can be easily installed without special tools or expertise. Therefore, this is also a DIY-friendly option.
Should you choose to have a professional install your click linoleum, you can expect to pay around $6 per square foot.
Additional Costs to Consider
Aside from the material and labor, there are several other costs that lurk in the shadows. Many homeowners suffer from sticker shock when they receive their flooring quotes because they are caught off guard and over budget on items they didn’t plan for.
The first common additional cost is shipping and delivery. Linoleum products are typically special-order items.
So, unless you are lucky enough to find a local retailer that stocks what you’re looking for, expect to pay shipping costs. This can range from $50-$150 or more, so it’s important to get a freight quote before placing your order.
Unless you want unfinished edges, you should also factor trims and transitions into your project budget. These strips that are made of metal, wood, rubber, or to match your flooring can be pricey. They come in long strips that can run $10-$50 per piece.
You will also need something to install your linoleum sheet and tile with. Manufacturer recommended adhesives are generally required to maintain your floor’s warranty. These can run anywhere from $30 to $150 per pail.
Removal and disposal of your old floor covering is usually a separate cost from prep and installation. Depending on the type of floor you have, this can range from $0.50 for vinyl and carpet to $3.00 or more for hardwoods and ceramic tile.
If you are installing on concrete or below-grade such as a basement, you may also need moisture and alkalinity testing. Linoleum products do not tolerate moist or alkaline conditions well. Therefore, you may also need a vapor barrier—either fluid-applied or a sheet type depending on your linoleum product.
Professional moisture and alkalinity testing can cost $30-$80 per area. The vapor barrier can cost anywhere from $0.50-$2 per square foot for labor and materials. Sometimes, contractors will include vapor barriers in their floor prep cost.
Finally, a frequently overlooked and expensive cost is how you and your family will go about your daily routine during your renovation project. If you are living in your home and have a lot of furniture, this can prove to be especially challenging.
You must remove all items from the floor and place them out of the way. Some folks are happy to shuffle furniture from room to room and live with the dust and fumes. Others find it easier to rent a storage pod and pay for a hotel room while undergoing a whole home of new flooring.
Depending on the level of demolition, preparation, and the type of linoleum you choose, and the size of your home, you could be without access to your space for several days or more. So, having a plan and a budget for living during your install is a must.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to linoleum flooring costs. It’s more than just material and labor.
Whether you choose a DIY-friendly click tile to save some cash or hire a pro, each linoleum type definitely has its own cost pros and cons and one may be better than another depending on your situation.
Have you had experience with a linoleum installation? Were you right on budget or did you get more than you bargained for? Tell us in the comments.