Saturday, 28 September 2019

How to lay a linoleum bathroom floor

The bathroom was totally bearable, ordinary, white, bland.

Step 1: Cover up that white with some really fabulous green paint. And fix the towel rail that was hanging off the wall:

Step 2: Some time later get around to mounting some lovely bamboo boxes and a mirror:

Step 3: Pull up the old vinyl flooring and find disgusting stuff underneath. Also remove the old bath panel and chuck it out. Scrub the floor with bicarb and vinegar to get rid of pee smell (it works pretty good). Live with it like this for a while (this is so you will appreciate the loveliness that is to come) (don't forget to keep the old vinyl for later):

Step 4: You have to level the floor. I got a quote for levelling the floor and laying the lino, it was £250 and they said I would have to have the sink and toilet taken out too. At this point I decided I could definitely do this myself. Half of my floor was already covered with a sheet of hardboard, in reasonable condition, the rest was floorboards. I chopped up bits of hardboard to patch and cover the floorboards. Nail the pieces down with 19mm annular nails (these are designed to not pull out easily and you don't really want them going through the floorboards in case there are pipes underneath). There are some useful guidelines here on the B&Q website, though I didn't follow the instructions religiously. Take care not to cut the end off your thumb with the Stanley knife or it will delay your progress considerably. Go over the floor and make sure the nails are nice and flush with the surface (I missed a couple and the little bumps annoy me but I am working hard at not beating myself up about it):

Step 5: Lay out your linoleum in the living room (it will smell really nice). This is an all natural product made from linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour and calcium carbonate, backed with a hessian type material. It is called Marmoleum by Forbo but I purchased it from UK Contract Flooring. They were very helpful and Frank emailed me with advice and support several times while I agonised about whether to try and fit it myself. It came on a huge cardboard tube that is going, at some future date, to become part of a massive cat tree we are going to build for Lyra (did I mention the cat at all yet, maybe not?):

Step 6: The linoleum needs to sit and come to room temperature for at least a day, then unroll. It has to be back-rolled and then gently massaged to flatten it out. Do this very carefully and do not lean on it or fold it as it will crack and be spoiled. I probably did not do this enough as mine did curl and lift very slightly after laying. Be very wary of any instructions for laying vinyl flooring; linoleum is a completely different substance and is not as flexible:

Step 7: As advised somewhere I purchased some concave curved blades for the Stanley knife, they work much better for cutting linoleum. I used the old vinyl flooring that I had taken up as a template and marked out the shape to cut. Do this carefully and remember to have the two layers the same way up, otherwise you will find you have cut your flooring back to front (I double checked this about three times). Allow a little extra all round, you can trim down but not stick it back on when you have cut it off. I cut the basic shape but not the holes for the sink and toilet. Fortunately for me the new bath panel came in a huge cardboard box that I used to cover the floor so I could safely cut the linoleum without risking damaging my carpet. Not sure how you might handle this otherwise, just improvise:

Step 8: Remove the bathroom door, it will be completely in the way. Carry the linoleum up and lay it in the doorway. I pulled it into position and carefully trimmed it round the doorway and into the corner. Again take care not to force it as it does crack quite easily. You can literally carve off small layers from the edge until it lies down neatly:

Step 9: Now cut out the shapes for the sink and the toilet. This involved a lot of gently putting it into place, seeing where it needed trimming, gently easing it up again and trimming a few millimetres off and gently putting it back down again. You will fuck it up. But you know what, in the grand scheme of things it will be fine and still look fabulous. I patched a little space at the front of the sink pedestal and you'd never know it was there, and the toilet is pretty damn near perfect:

Step 10: Glue it down. No photos of gluing process, too busy gluing. I bought some Evo-Stick flooring adhesive from Travis Perkins (mainly because it came in a smaller tub than the official stuff). Spread the glue over the half of the floor farthest from the door then lay the flooring and press into place. Get your assistant to hold the linoleum out of the way and spread glue on the second half and complete the process. You are supposed to roll it with a weighted roller but we just walked around on it and rubbed it with some blocks of wood wrapped in towels, making sure to go all the way to the edges. We did this for about 20 minutes or so until we got bored. I should have thought to put piles of books or something heavy down while it dried, there is some (very) minor curling by the bath that I am also not beating myself up about:

Step 11: Plan your new bath panel. I bought a plain flat bath panel made of painted hardboard (also from Travis Perkins) that had to be cut to size. Tish came up with the brilliant suggestion of making a template using some of the cardboard packaging, this saved me huge amounts of struggle as I could cut the panel to the right size first time:

Step 12: I bought excess linoleum because I wanted to create a more interesting bath panel, so having cut the panel to size I glued it to the linoleum and left it to dry overnight, weighted down at both ends to ensure no curling:

Step 13: Next morning trim the excess linoleum around the edge of your bath panel. Slot your new fabulous bath panel in to place. I was going to screw a framework to the walls and attach it properly but it seemed like a whole lot of faff so in fact the bath panel is held in place by the fact that it is edged with clear silicone sealant:

 Step 14: I bought some small tubes of clear sealant and did the entire room, all edges of the flooring, around the toilet and sink and around the bath panel. It smoothed off very neatly and is barely visible:

Step 15: Since I am trying to do things properly I spent two hours cutting away all the old mouldy sealant (see the top photo, it was pretty bad) and replaced it. Unfortunately I bought clear rather than white by mistake (this had been bought on our first trip to B&Q back in May) so it does not cover as nicely. I also bought grout reviver and spent another hour scrubbing the grout and then colouring it white, and that looks just brilliant:

Step 16: I also added a strip of linoleum on the other side of the bathroom where the pipes have been boxed in. I rubbed down the rusty radiator and painted it (though the rust is peeping though so I may have to find some kind of rust treatment stuff) and put a second coat of paint on the skirting, doorframe and the door:

And now it is a fabulous bathroom that brings me joy every time I go in:


  1. Fabulous indeed! That's a h-u-g-e project. Kudos to you for taking it on and doing such a beautiful job with it!

  2. brilliant, what a great transformation


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