Welding Vinyl vs. Linoleum Sheet Flooring

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You’re about to start welding your sheet flooring material and you suddenly realize that there might be a difference between welding vinyl and linoleum flooring. Fortunately, this article will help you weld both materials effectively. To simplify this article let’s start by grouping the materials into the two most common materials you will weld.

Any vinyl, pvc, and similar flooring will be grouped into vinyl. Similarly lets group linoleum, marmoleum and any other similar organic material into linoleum. Vinyl sheet flooring is made of mostly synthetic materials. While linoleum is made of natural ingredients such as linseed and cork dust or wood flour, backed with jute fiber.

Material

The first thing is to know whether you are welding vinyl or linoleum. The best way to find out is to break a small piece off and crumple it in your hands. If it breaks and brittles – it is likely an organic material such as linoleum. Also, take a look at the back of the material. If you see a jute backing you are likely dealing with an organic material. If the material simply bends when you crumple it or has a felt, fiberglass, or no backing you are likely dealing with vinyl or a similar product.

Jute backing

Welding Rod

Now that you’ve uncovered what material you are welding, let’s talk about the type of rod you will be using. Not all rods are meant for both types of materials. Think of vinyl welding rods as strips of the same material you are installing. So when you weld with them it will become one solid sheet on the floor. Linoleum welding rods on the other hand are more similar to hot glue. When you weld with linoleum welding rods you are filling the groove to seal the gap. For this reason it is extremely important to have something for the filler to grab on to, such as the jute backing which we will talk about next. A quick way to tell the two rods apart is to pull on opposite ends of it. If it breaks easily it is likely a marmoweld rod (pictured below.) If it is difficult to break it is likely a vinyl welding rod.

Marmo Rod

Grooving

When you are grooving vinyl keep in mind that you want to weld two thirds in depth and not the whole way through. The welding rod will weld into the groove and fuse with its surroundings. We recommend grooving with the Master Turbo Groover. This will give you the ability to groove the perfect depth and get the most ideal groove for the rod to fuse effectively.

Grooving on Vinyl

Linoleum is a very unforgiving material when it comes to grooving. Since the filler doesn’t actually fuse with the material it needs something to hold on to. That’s where the jute backing comes into place. The jute backing serves as a net for the filler to wrap around to secure itself in position. The way you groove it is the trick here. Grooving it by hand is possible, however you will quickly realize that you will be going over the same section 3-4 times just to break through and go deep enough. Once you do go deep enough, you must make sure that you are not too far above the juke backing so you can access it. At the same time  make sure you are not too deep past the jute backing so that you break through it, because then the filler won’t hold on to it. If you don’t weld to the jute backing the welding rod will slip right out, which means you will have to come back for a repair job. Below is a picture of a proper groove to the jute backing with our patented Marmo Groovers.

Marmo Groovers

Another caution we advise about is breaking or chipping the walls of the groove. Linoleum is an organic material which breaks and brittles very easily so aggressive hand grooving could be a problem. We recommend using the Turbo Marmo Groovers. This two-pass system lets you glide through the job with ease. Also, the two-pass system creates a groove that has clean walls and lands just above the jute backing where it needs to be for a solid hold.

Welding

Welding on vinyl can be done well if you keep in mind the three basics of floor welding: the angle, the speed and the heat of your welding gun. When welding vinyl simply keep feeding the rod through your welding nozzle and it will fuse to the gap as it welds. You simply have to make sure you are moving at the right speed, height and that you are not burning the ground. You should see a bead or “wash” on the sides of your welding rod as you weld. This means that the rod is fusing well. When welding on vinyl it is important to use a nozzle that is appropriate for your job. If you are welding on heat sensitive material then using a generic speed tip might scorch the flooring material around your weld. You want to always make sure the heat is appropriate for the type of vinyl material and that you are welding straight into the weld as you go. To weld with assurance, try welding with the Turbo Precision Nozzle. You can weld at the max temperature and rest assured that you won’t scorch the ground edges.

Precision Nozzle

Welding linoleum is different in that you are not fusing the gap closed; you are filling it with your welding rod. When you weld organic materials the most important aspect to consider is that if you did not groove properly down to the jute backing, then you are not going to get a good weld. You should also see the “wash” on the side of your welding rod when welding this material. Keep in mind that you might have to weld slower for better results.

Skiving

Skiving vinyl is simple. Just wait until the welding rod has cooled off and skive in two passes. The first with the trim plate and the second without.

Quarter Moon Knife Trim Plate

Skiving linoleum can be tricky. First you have to skive off the first pass when it’s warm and the second when the rod has cooled down. If you did not groove properly and are now trying to skive don’t be surprised if the welding rod comes out. This is because the rod had nothing to hold on to when it was welded. This means that you have to go back and re-weld that spot.

To make life easier you can use the Turbo Plane and skive both passes at once when both materials have cooled down. (see below)

Turbo Plane Turbo Plane

We hope this basic guide helps you when you end up working with different materials. This stuff can definitely be tricky if you don’t have experience in it. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or contact us directly. We’ll be responding to all questions. Thanks!