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How Do I Repair Linoleum?

Flat-head screwdrivers are handy when fixing linoleum.
A hair dryer can be used to make the material more pliable.
A caulk gun, which can be used to fix linoleum.
A utility knife might be needed to repair larger sections of linoleum.
Keep an old bath towel handy when repairing linoleum.
Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 July 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Linoleum tiles and rugs are common in many kitchens and bathrooms. While cost-effective, this type of floor covering is more subject to damage than other options. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to repair linoleum floors, often without leaving signs of any kind of damage.

Before engaging in any linoleum floor repair project, it is important to thoroughly clean the area around the damaged tile or flooring. This will help to prevent any small amounts of grit or dust from mixing in with the repair materials. Taking this precaution helps to minimize any chances of trapping dirt under the repaired area and possibly marring the smooth surface of the linoleum.

Repairing linoleum requires a few simple tools that just about everyone has around the house. For simple jobs, such as taking care of rips or tears caused by moving heavy appliances, you need a flat head screwdriver, a pair of tweezers, and a handheld hair dryer. A tube of household caulk is also required, and you'll want a bath towel and some sort of flat weight, such as a brick or heavy planter.

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With thin linoleum flooring, the first step involves heating the area of the rip using the hair dryer. As the material heats up, it will become more pliable. This makes it possible to begin working the two seams of the rip back into close proximity, using the tweezers and both ends of the screwdriver. Don’t rush with this step, as it may be necessary to stop and reheat the area throughout the process.

With the edges of the gash now close together, spread caulk over the seam. Work the caulk into the seam, creating a tight bond. As the linoleum cools and the caulk begins to harden, smooth it out using your fingers. Once the caulk is dry, place the towel over the closed seam and secure with the brick, planter, or other heavy object. Over night, the pressure of the weight will combine with the caulking to create a strong seal that will prevent the seam from ripping open again.

This same approach can be used when there is a need to make linoleum repairs involving a larger section. When this is the case, use a utility knife to cut the damaged section out of the main rug. Trim a replacement section to fit into the space, then use the hair dryer, caulk, towel, and weight to close the seams around the replaced section. Assuming the pattern is matched properly, the patch will be barely noticeable or even indistinguishable from the rest of the floor.

Learning how to repair linoleum is a skill that any homeowner should acquire. Being able to handle small repairs can save a great deal of money on replacing tiles and rugs and extend the life of the existing flooring. Best of all, seam repair does not require special equipment, which means that even people who do not consider themselves to be handy with tools can still master the process and fix the linoleum whenever the necessity arises.

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Discuss this Article

anon283299
Post 4

Any good brand silicone caulk should do the trick. It comes in clear and white (and other colours too). Splurge for the non-spring loaded caulk gun -- only a few bucks more. Pliable is good as it will move with the forces on it, rather than cracking or tearing.

For painting, be sure to sand/prime ahead of time, then go to a good local hardware store (i.e., not Home Depot) and ask for advice. Don't buy cheap paint!

anon221661
Post 3

My linoleum flooring is old and apparently not a good variety. The top peels off like cellophane tape, but I cannot afford to replace it. Can I paint over the part that is left bare and if so, what kind of paint do I use?

anon162697
Post 2

I'm want to know the same as the above question. I'm wondering what kind of caulk you recommend to use? Don't most caulks remain pliable and fairly easy to remove? I don't want the tear to ever to be a problem again. What is it I look for in a good caulk?

anon111681
Post 1

I'm wondering what kind of caulk you recommend to use? Don't most caulks remain pliable and fairly easy to remove? I don't want the tear to ever to be a problem again. What is it I look for in a good caulk?

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