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MarieW 08-14-2012 09:13 PM

Linoleum Discoloration - someone please help
Hi there flooring pros,

I'm not sure what to do, and really could use your feedback. Just outside the shower door in my upstairs bathroom, the white linoleum is showing a blob shaped yellowish discoloration, with a few small darker bluish spots throughout the blob. It is the approximate size of the floor mat we've had there, but with very irregular, blob-shaped borders. Because the mat is blue, I had always thought that the blue spots were from the dye from the floor mat bleeding onto the white linoleum. I have scrubbed the stains with everything under the sun to no avail. Upon further inspection, I now see that the stains could in fact be UNDER the linoleum, or in it, as it's almost like looking through foggy ice - the depth of the spots is further away than surface scratches etc.

There are NO other signs of water leak. The sheet rock just next to the shower is intact, as is the carpet just a foot over, there is no buckling or bubbling or raising of the linoleum, and the ceiling underneath appears normal.

We are hoping to put our house on the market soon and debating as to whether or not we should/could look under the linoleum with the fear of finding damage to the sub-flooring and discover a slow leak, which would not be covered by our insurance. Or option two, cover it all up with another layer of linoleum. This feels extremely unethical to me, but because we see no other signs of water leak (despite the YEARS of unchanging discoloration), I don't feel as if we're handing over an active problem to potential new owners.

I'm loosing sleep over this - is there anyone out there who can help me?


creeper 08-14-2012 09:41 PM

It is a common thing for your type of flooring to fade and yellow due to area mats. In this case I would say buy a nice new mat and leave it down for showings.

Its called buyer beware and its such a small defect that one can't say its unethical.

rusty baker 08-15-2012 07:00 AM

It's called "plasticizer migration" . When 2 pvc (vinyl) products are in contact with each other, the molecules can migrate from one to the other and cause permanent discoloration. It is a well known process in the floor covering industry. It cannot be cleaned off because the 2 pieces have bonded.

Plasticizer Migration
The advent of vinyl tile floors created a new problem in floor maintenance. All resilient floors containing Polyvinyl Chloride contain a flexing agent known as a plasticizer. Without this plasticizer, resilient tile would be as brittle and unflexible as a potato chip. Unfortunately for the first six months to a year that a new vinyl floor is laid, the plasticizer has a tendency to migrate surface. "

MarieW 08-15-2012 07:06 AM

Thanks @rusty baker. So with this being the case, do you see any problem in putting a new layer on top of it? Would a darker choice in the new layer camouflage this from happening again? We really just need to sell the house but not hand off a huge mess for someone else.

rusty baker 08-15-2012 07:24 AM

Vinyl flooring on top of vinyl flooring is common. As long as the bottom layer isn't cushioned vinyl and you account for the fact that the pattern may show through ( there are products you can use to fill the pattern indentations, and the new vinyl backed (IVC) vinyls don't show indentations) you should be fine.

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