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Flooring- hard wood or linoleum?

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Getting ready to put in the floor on the International woodie I'm working on. The wood deck is made of rough oak and the flooring was originally battleship linoleum over that deck. 


I have not used linoleum in the past and have usually put in "hardwood flooring" on the decks of resto-mods. The hardwood flooring looks pretty good in the projects I have done in the past. 


I am leaning towards using the linoleum, but do not have experience with installing/cutting linoleum. 




1. For linoleum, given that the flooring is not one uniform rectangle, does one make a template of the flooring and cut the linoleum outside of the car, then install? If using a template, what have you used (cardboard, paper, plywood, other material)?


2. Is the linoleum installed as one piece, or two?


3. Do any bolt heads on the floor make unsightly "bumps" in the flooring? I would imagine that one could use filler adjacent to the bolt heads to make any bump less noticeable. 


4. Is cutting the linoleum fairly easy (with a linoleum knife) or is there a learning curve which requires practice? I have one curved area in the passenger door floor. I understand that the metal floor "baseplates" should be able to hide any less than perfect cuts. Is that correct?


5. Is the adhesive messy? I can say for sure that the adhesive used for hardwood over concrete flooring is very messy. I had to shave my head and arms after my last adventure installing that on the ground level of my farm house/barn!


6.  Would it be easier just to "punt" and install a hardwood oak or ash floor? I have a lot of experience (and all the equipment) for hardwood flooring installation and know I can make it look good/fit well with that approach. 




Thanks for any pointers!

Edited by blind pew (see edit history)
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here's a few shots of my template and the tools i used to cut the linoleum.  Utility knife and some heavy shears should be all you need.  I made the template of cardboard.  The glue is typical flooring cement spread with a serrated edge spreader.





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Hello Blind Pew, 

1. I made a template out of thin cardboard called mat board. (Available at art supply stores or Hobby Lobby) I think it was more accurate than corrugated cardboard. Make your mistakes getting the template right and cut the linoleum right the first time. 

2. Make it one piece of linoleum. Seams don't look good and could peel up in the future. The floor in my car had 2 levels so I did one piece on each level. 

3. Any bumps will show through the linoleum. Fill in around countersunk bolt holes and sand smooth. You could use bondo but that would prevent you from removing that bolt in the future. Spackle like Ready Patch or Durhams Water Putty would work too. (Both available at paint stores).

4. I think I used an Olfa razor knife with break off blades to cut the linoleum. Use a metal straight edge on top of the template to cut straight lines. You could possibly carefully use the template as a guide on curves. Take your time. You don't have to cut all the way through in one pass. My car had baseboard only in a few places so that is why I wanted to cut the linoleum as accurately and carefully as possible to avoid gaps.  Yes baseboard will hide gaps. I suggest waiting for a hot summer day to cut the linoleum so the direct sunlight will soften it and help it lay flat and cut easier. 

5. I used the adhesive Forbo sold and recommended. (Forbo is the manufacturer of the linoleum I bought). I used a notched trowel to spread it. The label specified the notch size. It was a little messy but I don't recall it being a big problem. Have the recommended cleanup solvent handy and some rags and some disposable gloves to prevent spreading glue where you don't want it. I masked off with paper and Frog Tape painters tape all areas around the edges I did not want adhesive on. 

6. I think it is a concern if the floor of your car is made up of planks. Over time, the linoleum could crack over the seams between the boards due to seasonal expansion and contraction of the wood. Did the original do this? 

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Hmmm.......................... Those are VERY GOOD SUGGESTIONS and pointers. THANKS!!!


It really does not have to be "original", as the car is a resto-mod and doing either the wood or linoleum would be okay with me. I have always done wood floors before and was just thinking it would be different to do linoleum on this one, since I've never used it before. 


I can't tell if the linoleum cracked over the planks, as it was so deteriorated it was hard to tell it was even linoleum! I was completely unaware that the linoleum would crack over the planks. I've put down hardwood flooring over some "suspect" sub flooring, but given the interlocking nature of flooring, it as never caused separation of the flooring boards themselves. 


GREAT advice on the template and cutting tools. I was thinking for sure that I would screw it up if I tried to cut it in situ. 


So with linoleum and this type of plank flooring, it would probably crack over time? Again, I never even considered that. 



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What does everyone else think about the possibility of the linoleum cracking between planks? I don't have any first hand experience with that happening but I think it's a possibility as the linoleum ages and gets harder. 

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11 hours ago, JFranklin said:

Linoleum is used in many houses over wood plank floors and holds up well.

That is true. I didn't consider that. I think linoleum was in use before plywood. There is a woven burlap backing in the linoleum I used. 

Edited by Tom Boehm (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

So it sounds like linoleum is okay over planks then?


I would think that any cracking would be somewhat dependent on traffic as well. As I currently have no grandchildren, and no one but me is interested in driving my woodies, I would assume that the traffic in the deck area would be minimal. 


Also, if and when it cracks, it would not be a huge deal to replace it. I would imagine that may happen after I'm dead, so I won't be too concerned about replacement at that time. I'm committed to eliminate worrying once I'm dead. 


I think I'm going to go with the linoleum. Thanks very much for the information regarding templates and cutting- that is VERY helpful. I'll order it from Tony, as he seems very nice and helpful. 

Edited by blind pew (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Got the linoleum from Tony yesterday. I have some time off scheduled next week, so will go to the farm and install the linoleum and do some more work on the woodie. 


Tony is very nice. Oddly, he sent me a check for $40 yesterday, with a note saying the shipment cost was less than he had anticipated. Most people would have just pocketed the cash and no one would have known. It's nice to see there are good, honest people around!


Thanks for the tips on the installation. The leveling, templates, and pointers on adhesive are going to be very helpful. I hope to get the inner fenders and all the interior ash trim installed as well during the trip. 

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