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Fact vs Fiction – Forbo, Marmoleum Cleaning & Maintenance

A lot of information is available about Forbo Marmoleum Floors that will tell you it is a natural, sustainable Linoleum flooring material made from a blend of wood flour, jute, rosin, and linseed oil.  You’ll find out that Marmoleum is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-static, has high wear-resistance, becomes more durable over time and has low maintenance requirements.  Forbo’s durable 2-part Topshield factory finish is widely publicized and effective.  All of this is true FACT about Marmoleum.  I wanted to know more about cleaning and mainting Marmoleum, beyond the manufacturer’s written instructions, so I conducted a telephone interview with Forbo’s Technical Services Manager, Frank Wiggins, Installation Training Coordinator, Becky Korinchock and Technical Services Assistant, Jennifer Malloy who clearly explained some lesser know facts about caring for a Marmoleum floor.

Routine Cleaning
FICTION: Marmoleum has so many natural properties that it does not need to be cleaned on a routine basis.
FACT: Every floor, regardless of type, style or species requires maintenance to uphold appearance and durability.  Marmoleum routine maintenance is relatively easy. On a consistent, routine basis sweep and mop your Marmoleum floor. When dirt becomes visible it is time to use floor cleaner following manufacturer instructions. It’s hard to say exactly how often your floor should be cleaned because it depends on the amount of traffic the floor sees.  The more traffic, the more frequently you should clean.  Note:  Dirt and debris tracked on the floor will, over time, create microscopic scratched in the floor’s finish making it appear dull.  Frequent sweeping or dusting the floor will minimize this occurance.

Type of Cleaner
FICTION: It doesn’t matter what type of cleaner I use on Marmoleum.
FACT: The right cleaner is critical to a good looking Marmoleum floor. High pH cleaners or those with harsh alkalis (such as Ammonia or Mop & Glow Triple Action) will degrade Marmoleum resulting in sticky residue or haze that could damage or discolor your floor with continued use.  Forbo recommends their Marmoleum Neutral Floor Cleaner that comes as a concentrate to dilute with water, available in quart or gallon size. Marmoleum Neutral Floor Cleaner is a neutral pH cleaner that will clean the floor without damaging.  If you want to use a different cleaner, look for a neutral pH level in the cleaner and test an inconspicuous area of the floor prior to cleaning the full flooring surface.  Note: If your Marmoleum is new, keep in mind that using manufacturer recommended floor cleaner and procedures will uphold your warranty.

Scratches
FICTION: Marmoleum is so durable that it will never scratch.
FACT: Marmoleum is durable however it is not impervious to sharp or heavy objects dropped on or dragged across the floor. Protect the floor when moving furniture or other heavy objects by putting inexpensive yet very effective felt pads on the feet of furniture that is moved frequently, such as tables and chairs.  Use felt bottom furniture slides for moving appliances and other heavy objects or cover the floor with masonite or plywood.  Even with these precautions, accidents do happen and Marmoleum can scratch. There is a procedure to follow that will, in most cases, repair the floor to where you don’t see the scratch.  Always try the least invasive procedure first and only move on to the next procedure if the repair is not successful.

  1. If the scratch is superficial, into the top layer only, rub the area with finish, such as Marmoleum Floor Finish. This will blend the scratch with the surrounding area because Marmoleum, like wood, has color that goes through the material.  The finish will disguise the scratch.  This works best for a small area.  Note: You can use masking tape on the floor to isolate the area before getting started.
  2. If this doesn’t produce good results, try scrubbing the scratched area with Marmoleum Neutral Floor Cleaner, diluted per instructions on bottle, and a light pad to rough it up a little then apply finish. This can be repeated a few times if necessary before applying finish.  Note: The deeper you go into flooring material, the color goes through but the pattern is less which makes the color more uniform.
  3. If scratches span a large area use a floor machine with a light to medium pad to strip the effected floor area.  This abrasion will smooth out and dull the surface. Thoroughly rinse the floor.  It will still be hazy.  Then apply thin coats, 2-3, of floor finish to restore even finish and remove the haze.  Note: Topshield has a satin (or matte) finish.  Unless you’ve applied another finish to your floor, use Marmoleum Floor Finish or similar satin/matte finish to match the sheen.
  4. If a scratch is deep and wide and the steps described above don’t conceal the damage you may need to do a repair using leftover material (hopefully you’ve got some).  Sand a scrap piece of flooring material to a powder and mix it with household white glue to make a paste.  Fill the scratch to just above floor level so you can sand it after it dries hard.  Once the area is dry, use steel wool or fine sandpaper until the repair is even with the floor’s surface and smooth. For detail sanding, you can use a damp cloth as a sanding mechanism because the glue will soften and remove with water.  Be careful not to get lower than the floor’s surface.  Apply floor finish to seal the surface. Note: Be careful about the size of the surface area, it should be small to reduce the possibility of the repair coming loose.
  5. If #4 doesn’t work, cut a patch of extra flooring material and fill the cut area.  If you’re not skilled in this type of work, you will want to call a professional for a repair of this magnitude.  The cutting can be intricate depending on the size and shape of the cut.  This should be a last resort if you can’t live with the imperfection.

Stains
FICTION: Marmoleum will not stain.
FACT: High alkaline or high pH substances will stain Marmoleum if not cleaned up in a timely manner.  The amount of time a substance remains on the floor is critical.  Quickly wipe up spills- such as ketchup, wine, pet accidents- and clean the area with diluted Marmoleum Neutral Floor Cleaner then rinse thoroughly to minimize staining.  If a stain is still visible, repeat.  If stain is still evident apply undiluted Marmoleum Neutral Floor Cleaner to the stain and leave it for 2-3 minutes.  Rub with a nylon kitchen pad then rinse with clean water.  Repeat if necessary.  Once the stain is lifted and the area is dry, apply a small amount of finish, such as Marmoleum Floor Finish, to restore finish removed by the undiluted cleaner.

Initial Care
FICTION: Marmoleum floors need a finish applied immediately following installation.
FACT: Marmoleum does NOT need floor finish right away because Topshield is a durable factory applied satin finish.  Initial sweeping and damp mopping is recommended to remove dirt and debris.  This is typically done by the flooring installer.  Don’t wet mop (just damp) right away because adhesives used to install the floor needs to completely cure and wet conditions may decrease adhesion.  Diluted Marmoleum Neutral Floor Cleaner can be used after a week or so.  Follow manufacturer dilution and cleaning instructions and rinse the floor thoroughly with clean water.  Marmoleum floors only need to be finished after excessive wear or if damage occurs –this applies to Commercial and Residential uses.

1877Floorguy.com sells Forbo Marmoleum Cleaner & Finish.  Professional, Experienced Customer Service can answer your floor maintenance questions at 1-877-Floorguy (1-877-356-6758).

4 Comments

  1. Matt on September 13, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    Hi. I am curious as to how well the click lock system holds up in residential kitchens. I have a customer that is really wanting this checker pattern floor in her kitchen. I want to use the planks..however I am not super keen on the hdf substraight in the panel. Is there concerns about their click products when installed near a sink and dishwasher?

    • 1877floorguy on September 13, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      Hello Matt. We typically handle maintenance questions, so my advice would be to contact Forbo directly at 800-842-7839. They have great tech support staff.

  2. Amy on September 25, 2019 at 2:30 am

    Hi FG, I have Marmoleum in the bathroom, and it has “etched” areas where I think my daughter dripped a hair product maybe. It’s just a bit darker and rougher. What’s the best way to remove or minimize this damage?
    P.S. Note to Matt above: we have checker squares in our kitchen and it looks great!

    • 1877floorguy on September 25, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      Hi Amy,

      Do you know what type of hair product it may have been? Also if you can send us a picture to help@1877floorguy.com and we can try to come up with a solution for you.

      Thanks
      Angela
      Customer Support

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