How to Repair Tears in Linoleum

Linoleum flooring is a popular floor covering for kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, high-traffic hallways and entryways. It's durable, easy to clean and comes in a variety of colors, patterns, tones and shades. This makes it extremely versatile, so if you decide to change your decor, your flooring will still work well.

Loft Apartment Kitchen
credit: Hinterhaus Productions/DigitalVision/GettyImages
Linoleum flooring is a popular floor covering for kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, high-traffic hallways and entryways.

Linoleum Repair

People are often very intimidated by the idea of fixing linoleum. Many don't even know that it's possible to repair a linoleum floor. Fortunately, repairing tears in linoleum is a fairly quick and easy process once you've gathered the right materials and products.

Whether the damage to your linoleum floor is a scratch, a hole or an entirely damaged tile, there's likely a fix for it. Linoleum is made of durable material, but it's by no means indestructible. Tears are common, and sometimes the damage is done by pets or furniture that necessitates removing a portion of linoleum and replacing it.

A good rule of thumb is to check and see whether the damage extends across more than one quadrant of the tile. If the answer is yes, you probably want to replace it. If the answer is no, you may be able to get away with a simple seam repair.

Fix Linoleum Floor Scratches

Linoleum floor scratches can be shallow surface area scrapes and scratches or they can be deep tears that go all the way down to the surface of the subfloor. Fortunately, this is a fairly common occurrence and most people can repair linoleum floor scratches and tears with the help of a seam sealer.

Dampen a soft cloth with water or with a diluted acetone cleaner or lacquer thinner. Make sure the cloth is just damp and not saturated. Next, use a hairdryer to heat the torn section of the linoleum. This will help it to expand slightly, making it easier to pull together and more likely to bond with the seam sealer or glue for linoleum repair.

Fill the torn area between each side of the tile with a small bead of seam sealer. Make sure the seam sealer is touching the entire tear area so it can bond it together. Place a section of newspaper on top of the seam, and place a heavy object on top of the newspaper while the seem dries. Leave the objects on top of the torn linoleum for as long as the seam sealer instructions indicate.

Patching Linoleum Floor

Sometimes you need to patch the floor to repair linoleum floor tears. A patch is used when the tear is large and can't simply be fixed with glue for linoleum repairs or when a piece of the linoleum is missing from the floor. It's a good idea to buy more linoleum than you need for your installation so that you have extra in case you need to make a patch down the road.

To patch linoleum, cut down an extra linoleum tile using an X-Acto knife so it's slightly larger than the tear. Lay the patch over the area of linoleum that has been damaged. To the best of your ability, make sure the pattern on the linoleum is aligned correctly with the area of damaged linoleum.

Cut a square out of the linoleum, being careful to go through the patch tile and the original linoleum underneath. Then, lift out the damaged piece of linoleum. Prep the bottom and sides of the patch tile with a layer of linoleum glue. Press the patch into place, and cover with newspaper and a heavy object for at least 24 hours.


Ashley Friedman

Ashley Friedman

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience working in the home, design and interiors space.