Porch Floor Fixup
Even if math isn't your strongest subject, you can still design and install this geometric-pattern floor in just a weekend. Brighten any porch, foyer, or mudroom with this linoleum floor.
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You don't need a degree in math -- or even a background in art -- to create this eye-popping floor. It's a matter of simple geometry, careful measurement, and a steady hand when cutting the linoleum to fit. For small areas or your first attempt, choose a pattern like the one shown above and opposite, with simple, straight lines and a symmetrical design. For bigger floors (or a bigger challenge), use a single repeating pattern, such as rectangles, diamonds, or even courageous curves -- they're all easy to cut from linoleum.
What You Need:An inlay pattern (like the one shown here) is fairly easy to install and maintain.
- Utility knife and spare blades
- Tape measure
- Metal carpenter's square, straightedge, or ruler
- Pry bar, cold chisel, or scraper
- Heat gun
- 6-inch-wide trowel
- Notched trowel (1/16-inch square notches or per adhesive manufacturer's recommendation)
- Masking tape
- Rolling pin (optional)
- Linoleum adhesive (one option: Henry No. 356 Multipro, which covers 1618 square yards per gallon)
- Linoleum flooring as required
- 1/4-inch underlayment plywood (no voids) or cement
- Backerboard for subflooring (if needed)
- Floor patching compound
- Drywall screws
- Shoe molding for perimeter of room (if desired)
1. Measure the floor. Sketch patterns for the floor until you find one you like. Draw your design to scale; mark down all dimensions. (You may find graph paper or computer drawing programs helpful for this step.) You may copy the pattern here, but there are lots of other possibilities. For example, you may simply want a border around the perimeter of your room, or you may choose to inlay randomly spaced geometric shapes into a single background color (see Photo 1).
2. Choose a field or background color (we chose green for the floor shown). Select secondary and accent colors as well.
4. Determine whether the subfloor is perfectly level and smooth. Linoleum, like vinyl sheet flooring or tile, will show bumps, holes, and other imperfections of the floor underneath the finished surface.
1. Measure and mark with pencil the size and shape of pieces directly on the linoleum. Or use cardboard or previously cut linoleum pieces as templates.
2. Cut out the pieces using a utility knife and steel ruler. Change knife blades often so you're always cutting with a sharp blade. Cut perimeter pieces slightly oversize; you can cut them to fit when you lay out the floor. Set the linoleum pieces into position as you cut them out, beginning in the center. Make sure each piece fits precisely.
3. Once the pieces are assembled, tape sections composed of small pieces together. This will make it easier to handle the pieces when it's time to glue them down.
4. Use a heavy tool, such as a pry bar, cold chisel, or scraper, to remove old flooring and adhesive (see Photo 1). (If necessary, wear gloves, goggles, and long sleeves to protect yourself from debris.) Use a heat gun to soften old bits of flooring and adhesive before scraping; sand smooth.
Linoleum, sold by the yard from 6-1/2-foot-wide rolls, is made of natural materials, including linseed oil, rosin (tapped from pine trees), finely ground limestone, wood flour, organic pigments, and jute backing.
As a bonus, gradual oxidation of the linseed oil in linoleum acts as a natural bactericide. Linoleum is also antistatic, making it less apt to collect dust and easier to clean than many flooring products. Typically sold at specialty flooring retailers -- not large home centers -- linoleum costs $25 to $30 per square yard.