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Marmoleum - FAQ

Listed below are the most frequently asked questions about our Marmoleum collection.

If you would like to download technical/environmental specifications, BRE results, NBS specification, please visit the Marmoleum downloads section.

For installation, cleaning & maintenance guides and videos, please visit the Installation & Floorcare section.


Do I need to weld my new Marmoleum floor covering?

The decision to weld Marmoleum is a purely aesthetic decision. A tight edge fitment along the seam will provide a secure and serviceable join for general purpose locations. For healthcare and specific location requirements, welding may be the most appropriate option.

What is the weight of a roll of Linoleum?

2.5mm thick linoleum weighs 2.9kg per sm. So typically, a 32 linear metre roll would weigh 186kg

Do you have recommended cleaning products for your linoleum products?

Full cleaning and maintenance guides are available to download from the Marmoleum Installation & Floorcare .

We also have a number of online videos on this topic:

Does Marmoleum share the same flexibility properties as vinyl?

Marmoleum has a degree of flexibility to allow fitting after templating. Once acclimatised (between 18 to 27 degrees Celsius) the product has moderate flexibility to allow placement on the floor. Excessive bending or folding of the product is not possible do the construction of the product as this will cause cracking.

All resilient flooring use the standard to comply with EN-ISO 24344 (test method EN435). For linoleum, the standard is 40mm as declared in our Marmoleum technical specifications.

Can Forbo floor coverings be installed in conjunction with third party acoustic underlays

Forbo Flooring offer a range of acoustic underlay systems that offer improved impact sound reduction properties.

These include:

• Corkment which can be used under any Forbo Sheet linoleum or vinyl floor covering offering an impact sound reduction value of 14dB
• Vinylbase which can be used under Forbo sheet vinyl floor coverings offering an impact sound reduction of 18dB.

In addition, single stick acoustic solutions are available in:

• Linoleum, offering impact sound reduction values of 14 or 17dB
• General purpose sheet vinyl, offering impact sound reduction values of 15DB to 19dB
• Vinyl Safety flooring, offering impact sound reduction values of 18dB

All Forbo products are supported by system performance test data, product compatibility, installation guidance, and wear life warranties.
For further information on product compatibility and installation guidance please contact us.

What makes Marmoleum a CO2 neutral product?

We consider Marmoleum 2.5mm to be a balanced product in terms of positive and negative CO2 flows:

CO2 Absorbed (natural ingredients) - CO2 Emitted (transport & production) = 0 (Carbon Neutral)

On the plus side we have the contribution of our natural raw materials, such as jute, flax plant, gum rosin, tall oil and wood flour. As these plants grow they absorb and therefore remove, through the
process of photosynthesis, large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.

These positive flows are balanced out by the transportation of these materials (and others) and the production of the product. Forbo has minimized its impact by investing in modern and efficient manufacturing facilities alongside the use of renewable electricity. We also benefit from improvements made by the supply chain, who provide us with raw materials.

An independent third party EPD shows us that, during the production phase, Marmoleum 2.5mm is CO2 neutral.

How is it determined that Marmoleum is a CO2 neutral product?

This is done through using the information obtained from the Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodology. An LCA calculation is a third part verified document that, by a standard methodology, measures the environmental impact categories of the life cycle of a product. All factors are included from the extraction of raw materials (and their footprint), transport, manufacturing, use and end of life stage of a particular product.

At Forbo we typically take a measure of Cradle to Gate, as this is where we have a direct influence on the product’s footprint. For a complete LCA we then take a measure of one year in the use of the product. Depending on the actual useful life time of the product the LCA can then be determined.

From the LCA a, so called, Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) can be created for one particular product. In the EPD you can find the Global Warming Potential for a particular product and this relates to the amount of CO2 that is concerned with each stage in the life cycle of the product.

EPD’s are set up conform ISO 14025 and third party verified, and certified by UL, Underwriters Laboratories. Here you can see that the absorption of CO2 by the plant and trees that deliver the raw material for Marmoleum outweighs the amount of CO2 that is emitted during the production of the product.

How does it work that Marmoleum is a CO2 neutral product?

The natural raw materials such as plants and trees from which the majority of the raw material for Marmoleum are derived during their lifetime absorb and enormous amount of CO2 during their lifetime.

This is done through photosynthesis of the leaves. When the crops are harvested the CO2 remains embedded in the vegetation. This process is continuous, each year a new crop can be harvested (making it rapid renewable raw materials).

During transportation of the raw materials to the manufacturing site and in the production process itself CO2 is emitted. However as Forbo makes use of modern and efficient manufacturing methods and also uses green electricity, the amount of CO2 emission stays within limits.

Over the past year we have improved our process, included some of those of our suppliers, all this helps to reduce the CO2 impact during the production chain. The result is the sum of the absorption of CO2 and the CO2 emissions, which in the case of Marmoleum even out; i.e. are neutral.

Forbo uses linseed, this essentially is foodstuff. How do you justify this when there is still hunger in the world?

The linseed (and the linseed oil which we extract from these seeds) is a product produced by the flowers of the flax plant. These plants are used for their fibers to create flax.

The linseed that we are using has a high iodine content which we need in order to advance the oxidation between the linseed oil and the rosin which delivers ‘linoleum cement’ the basic ingredient for Marmoleum.

Flax is grown in annual crops all over the world and its presence is abundant; as long as the sun shines and the rain falls the plants that contain the natural raw materials for linoleum grow.

Is CO2 compensation not an easy way to avoid taking real climate action?

In essence CO2 compensation is one of the actions a company can undertake to reduce its environmental footprint. There is a trading platform for CO2 offsets where certificates can be bought, equally a company can reduce its CO2 emissions by including such things as hydro power or placing a windmill on their production premises.

All this is not wrong, at Forbo we also have a solar panels roof on our distribution warehouse which in fact makes this warehouse a so called LEED Gold Certified warehouse. However, what is so unique about Marmoleum is that is this case the product itself actually is a CO2 neutral product.

In order to achieve this over the years we have invested in reducing our CO2 emissions and we will continue to do so. For us it is important that companies are aware that they, in some form, all contribute to the rise in CO2 emissions. What is also confirmed by Ecosystem Marketplace, is that companies that have this awareness also are active in reducing their own emissions.

What is the difference between CO2 neutral and circular?

CO2 neutral implies that the processes that are being used or the product that is produced, in the end is not adding any additional CO2 to the atmosphere. For a building you can consider the use of the material, the way the building has been built, but also the way the building operates (on green energy, using earth warmth instead of natural gas etc.)

Circular is a term that is used in connection with many product and processes such as ‘material’ or the ‘economy’ where focus lies on the efficient use of materials, reusing materials, lengthening the lifetime of products and preventing materials to become ‘waste’ after the end of life stage is reached.

What is the difference between CO2 neutral product and CO2 offset?

A CO2 neutral product is the product as such that is produced in such a way that the result in terms of Co2 emissions does not add any additional CO2 to the environment. In the case of Marmoleum, and some other products made from natural raw materials that embed (absorb) CO2. It is a combination of the ‘surplus of CO2 in the materials and the Emission of CO2 during production which evens out to zero.

A CO2 neutral status can also be achieved when the product itself is not CO2 neutral but when the manufacturers takes action to compensate for the CO2 that has been used. This can be done by several means, planting trees, purchase of certificates, delivering heat or natural energy surplus to the environment (f.e. a housing estate near the plant. These action ‘reduce’CO2, by which the product

What are governments doing in terms of taking care of climate change?

This varies per country, however as all countries have ratified the Paris agreement they all need to act and they all need to produce a plan that ultimately prevents the temperature of the earth to rise above 1.5 degrees from its current level, and this inevitably means that something would need to be done in terms of reducing greenhouse gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Most countries have formulated a policy which over time should lead to reduction of CO2. The big gain in all markets is through so called energy transition, the move from fossil (fuel) resourced energy towards sustainable energy like solar, hydro or wind energy. Taxation is another popular measure. But also looking at means to change transportation and investments in the way buildings are constructed and operated have the attention.

The Paris agreement is comprehensive and has a series of checks and balances included in the agreement document. As such, governments are required to make a plan, are required to act and are required to report on progress. 2030 and 2050 for many countries are defined milestones. Officially we are still in the preparation phase, the real action takes place from 2020, but no one is waiting for this.

There are other floor covering manufacturers, they also claim to have a CO2 neutral carpet tile. Is this correct?

When using CO2 offsets and when paying particular attention to one specific product out of your total product offer this is possible. For Marmoleum it is important to realize that Forbo has created an entire product category of floorcoverings (Linoleum) the 2.5 and 2.0mm sheet products as a CO2 neutral offer. What’s more, Marmoleum in itself is the CO2 neutral product and does not achieve this status through offsets or other means.

We know that an average carpet tile emits around 10kg/m2 of CO2. For this 8 trees need to be planted, you can make your own calculation what is required in terms of planting trees for the annual production volume of those carpet tiles.

How can a flooring product in a building contribute to achieve the goals my government has set in terms of Sustainability.

The floor covering product of course is only a part of the building, but together with other measures, energy and water consumption of the building, the building materials, the location of the building it all takes care of a building that is environmentally sound as less of a burden towards the increase of the greenhouse effect. This is also the reason why in building (sustainability) ratings like LEED the choice for Marmoleum will give additional points towards reaching a LEED silver, gold or platinum status.

How do you measure environmental impacts and what is an LCA?

We do this by undertaking a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).

An LCA is a method of determining the total environmental impact of a product during its entire lifecycle. A standard LCA will consider the impacts from 5 phases, these are production (including raw material extraction), transport, installation, in use and end of life.

The life-cycle assessment is a complex process and judgements are not exact. For example, people do not always follow the disposal advice from the manufacturer.

Disposal methods may have both drawbacks and benefits. For example, incineration may emit harmful gases into the environment, but the energy released can be used to generate electricity.

At each stage a life-cycle assessment:
• use of raw materials (including water)
• use of energy
• release of waste substances into the environment

Is an LCA different to an EPD?

Yes.

An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is an independently verified and registered document that communicates transparent and comparable information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products. EPD’s are set up conform ISO 14025 and third party verified. As a voluntary declaration of the life-cycle environmental impact, having an EPD for a product does not imply that the declared product is environmentally superior to alternatives.

What impacts does an LCA measure?

The impacts measured and reported on by Forbo are

1. Global Warming Potential (GWP)
2. Ozone depletion potential (ODP)
3. Photochemical Ozone Creation Potential (POCP)
4. Acidification Potential (AP)
5. Eutrophication Potential (EP)
6. Depletion of Abiotic Resources (Elements) (ADPE)
7. Depletion of Abiotic Resources (Fossil Fuels) (ADPF)

These impact categories are found on the EPD (hyperlink to linoleum download centre for EPD PDF) which shows the results but also explains the production process, describes the raw materials, stages of life cycle and impact categories.