What would be a good green kitchen flooring for our beach house? Will have sand and renters.

Asked by Julie Reimers
Belfry, MT

Worried about wear and tear with renters and sand. It is a raised floor, so existing concrete will not work in this case.


Cynthia Phakos

Answered by Cynthia Phakos

Los Angeles, CA

Koffka Phakos Design

March 3, 2011

For sand and renters, I would recommend a tried-and-true material -- linoleum.

  • Linoleum flooring is resistant to scratching and gouging.
  • It was commonly used in the late 19th to mid-20th century, but was replaced by vinyl flooring, as vinyl was less expensive. With the focus on sustainability, linoleum is again becoming a popular material and is now available in a huge range of colors and patterns.
  • We recently installed solid linoleum in someone’s master bath, and visitors couldn’t believe it was the same linoleum they had grown up with.

All natural raw materials

For sustainability, it is made from all-natural raw materials, including linseed oil, recycled wood/cork flour, and limestone, which are harvested with relatively little energy consumption.

The plants and trees that supply linoleum's raw materials also contribute to the production of oxygen and therefore offset the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The backing of the flooring can be made from jute, which is grown in India and Bangladesh, which means a great economical benefit to these developing countries. To achieve maximum waste reduction, all linoleum remnants are recycled back into the production process.

As all of these raw materials are natural, there are no toxic fumes, and linoleum is also fully biodegradable.


If installed and maintained properly, it can last up to 40 years.

  • Make sure you have a certified installer, as installation can be complicated and your subfloor may require leveling.
  • Use a solvent-free adhesive that meets the low-VOC emission standards as certified by Greenguard and Green Seal.


Linoleum’s natural bactericidal and anti-static properties reduce the presence of dust and dirt and the subsequent growth of household mites and/or bacteria.

For maintenance, you need not wash with a lot of water; a damp mop will work fine. Linoleum floors in healthcare applications do not need significant quantities of disinfectants to be applied.

The limited use of chemicals contributes very positively to the economic life cycle of the product as well.

Tagged In: linoleum

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