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What Causes Linoleum to Shrink?

Eileen Faust

Linoleum, a flooring product composed of linseed oil, rosin, cork, wood fillers and pigments bound to a backing, is growing in popularity since it is ecologically friendly in its production and long-wearing. But there are some things to consider when choosing linoleum for your floors; one of them is shrinkage.

Linoleum is a natural flooring choice.

How It Shrinks

According to Floor Covering Installer magazine, linoleum expands in width and shrinks in length when installed.

Why It Shrinks

Excess moisture can cause linoleum, which is porous, to expand and dry heat can cause it to shrink if the flooring isn't sealed. When it is installed, the adhesive applied to bond it to the subfloor causes it to shrink in length and expand in width.


Harsh cleaning chemicals can damage linoleum and cause it to shrink and crack. Linoleum should be cleaned with natural products and those cleaning agents recommended by the product's manufacturer.