How green a product is should probably be assessed over the lifetime of the floor and not so much by its content at the time of manufacturing.
A vinyl floor that requires no stripping and waxing may be greener than a Linoleum floor that requires continuous stripping and waxing ( provided they actually do it ).
Your right Brian, this is more true in a commercial application than residential.
That is a very good point and well said. Actually I have been thinking about that particular topic the last few days and would like to start a new thread about that in a week or so. I just would like to take a little time and think about how to discuss what is really green.
As far as proper care of linoleum floors I think there is still a lot of confusion. We here in America are still in love with our high gloss finishes on floors. We think that if it is not shiny with that wet look it is not clean. The manufactures have been trying to change this but I do not feel it is working.
The word wax is actually the wrong word to use now. Most floor top coatings are refereed to in the industry as finishes or polish. I use to know the exact differences but must confess have forgotten most of it.
The finish or top coat on linoleum or any floor for that matter is design to protect against abrasion from dirt and grit. Without it damage to the floorcovering will occur rather quickly.
The initial cleaning and care requirements between residential and commercial applications would be the same but the long term care would be greater for commercial as you are all aware. What the manufactures are trying to get away from is the heavy build up of multiple layers sealers and finishes on floors. That is when the heavy stripping and cleaning has to occur so you can restart the process all over again. I remember a major grocery chain that use to use a eight step process of floor care. After the initial scrub and cleaning of the vct
they would apply four coats of sealer with additional four coats of finish. Their floors looked fantastic but this method is extremely costly over time. Just think of the time it takes when you have to strip all that old finish off to refinish the floor.
In the health care area what I have been noticing that after installation if they clean the floor and put one coat of finish on the floor and then regular scrubbing with a red pad the floors look great. Its just getting them to do the scrubbing part that I find hard. A lot of times with our hurry up world the janitorial staff is not given time to do this. They usually only have a short window of time to get the room cleaned and disinfected before the next patient arrives.
The one very important aspect to remember with linoleum is to use the right cleaning solutions that are ph neutral and design for linoleum. I have seen the effects of using the wrong cleaners that are high in ph and the best way to discribe it is they fried the floor. You will understand what I mean the first time you see this.