Friday, 22 March 2013

Vintage Linoleum

Here is the front parlour of the Little Blue House. This picture was taken after we replaced the heinous furniture that was in this room when we bought the house last summer. We plan to gradually restore the circa 1898 Queen Anne house.

For 2013, we will start with the home's foundation, and we'd also like to work on the original bedroom. The bedroom is located adjacent to the parlour, and the rooms are separated by a red curtain. The rooms share the same linoleum flooring. The flooring is in its worst condition in that bedroom. The floor is on an angle, there has been some water damage, and the flooring is really coming apart. We would like to seal off that room and pull up the flooring, remove the wallpaper and ceiling paper, and fix it up.

I was discussing our upcoming projects with my brother in-law this morning, and he mentioned asbestos. Asbestos was widely used in linoleum flooring, and from what I gather so far, it seems to be fairly common between 1900 and 1986.

Front Parlour
Below you can see part of an old lamp that we found in the house, sitting on the linoleum floor. Before we do any work on the floor, I am curious to find out whether or not it contains asbestos.

Old Lamp

I cropped the photo above, and zoomed in on the flooring, where it is slowly disintegrating. You can see that the linoleum is in large sheets (not tiles) and that it was installed by joining the pieces to the floor using long, metal runners. The lino is on a jute or burlap backing, and there are newspapers between that backing and the wooden floorboards underneath.

I sent a copy of this photo to an online service that offers assistance in identifying old asbestos linoleum flooring. We will see what happens! I suppose I could take a small square of the lino (it's coming apart along the geometric pattern lines that you see below) and send it off to be analyzed somewhere. Where? If any readers of this blog have information about where to send such a sample, please leave a comment on this post. I would appreciate it.

I will continue to research this, and we will not pull up the lino until we know for sure that it is free of asbestos. I hope to find a beautiful wood floor underneath it! Then we can decide what to do.
Vintage Linoleum Floor in Parlour


  1. Do you have an asbestos removal service in the area? An historical society might have an idea. I wonder if a flooring specialist would know about the linoleum. It would be great to find a hardwood floor you could refinish.

    1. Hello Anne, Thanks for the advice. We are looking into it. I took a sample of the linoleum and the materials underneath it. I will send it off to be analyzed at a lab to be sure of the material before we proceed with removing the lino. There seems to be a decent floor underneath, so we are excited to expose it! Cheers, JT.

  2. It's a good idea to seal off the room that had water damage. With rotting wood and damp places, it's an ideal breeding ground for mold that could be a health hazard. It's a tough task to restore an old house that has a lot of damage, but I hope you're handling it fine.

  3. Hello Darryl, Thank you for the advice. We will be sure to seal off the room in question. We are not using it at the moment, and there are curtains drawn across the entrance to that room. We plan to seal it off with plastic and open up the window in there before we start peeling off the wallpaper and pulling up the linoleum floor. I appreciate the tip! JT