Roll with it! Covering the henhouse floor with vinyl, linoleum, or marmoleum

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A step up from painting the floor of your poultry house is covering it with vinyl, marmoleum, or linoleum flooring. These materials are exceptionally durable and will resist standing moisture far longer than even the best exterior paint. I’ve heard from several people who’ve used our chicken coop plans that they’ve added linoleum, marmoleum, or vinyl to the floors and love it.

Here are a few pictures of chicken coops where the floor of the henhouse is lined with a durable flooring material:

Tony J. (Portland, Oregon) lined the floor of his Garden Ark portable chicken coop with vinyl flooring left over from another project.

Tony J. (Portland, Oregon) lined the floor of his Garden Ark portable chicken coop with vinyl flooring left over from another project.

Bill G. lined the floors and walls of his Garden Coop with vinyl flooring to make cleaning up after his chickens easy.

Bill G. (San Francisco Bay area, California) lined the floors and walls of his Garden Coop with vinyl flooring to make cleaning up after his chickens easy.

The cost factor

As with many of the decisions you’ll make when building your own chicken coop, this one may come down to cost. If you have a scrap roll of flooring material or some vinyl tiles leftover from another project, putting those to use in your chicken coop is a good plan.

But if you have to buy these products new — also factoring in any adhesive you might need — the cost may far exceed the cost of a quart or gallon of paint. And even that may go beyond what’s required to keep your backyard chickens healthy, happy, and laying eggs.

Tips for covering your chicken coop floor with linoleum

  • Avoid using the self-stick tiles. They don’t often adhere well to a bare plywood coop floor. And they expand/contract at a different rate than wood, exacerbating the problem of poor adhesion. The roll type (wall-to-wall) flooring is better.
  • Look around for remnants or scraps of vinyl or linoleum at flooring stores or “rebuilding” centers. Don’t worry if the pieces you get don’t match. Once you lay bedding down overtop, no one will notice.
  • Staple the material down around the edges of your chicken coop floor to keep it from curling up and to prevent bedding from getting caught in the gap at the edge.
  • Use moulding or 1×2 lumber to cover the gap at the edges for a more finished look and feel.
  • Still plan to cover it with bedding (straw, wood shavings, etc.). Even though a durable floor resists moisture, it does nothing to stop odors or flies. A few inches of carbonaceous bedding will catch the chicken’s poop and start the composting process. It’ll also help keep your chickens from sliding around.
  • While our backyard chicken coop plans call for raised henhouses, not all chicken coop designs are the same. If your hen house floor will be subject to both chicken and human foot traffic, durable flooring is an especially smart idea.

Have you lined the floor of the henhouse on your backyard chicken coop? What about other flooring options (tile, metal, marble, gold leaf. . . )? Leave a comment with any tips or suggestions.

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9 Responses to “Roll with it! Covering the henhouse floor with vinyl, linoleum, or marmoleum”

  1. missy rogers says:

    I put linoleum down on the floor of my chicken coop. Now the chicks are sliding on it. What can I do to stop the sliding. I have about 4 inches of shavings on it.

    • Missy, it’s better if there’s some texture to the flooring, as fresh bedding can be slippery atop a smooth surface. If you have an issue with this, try scuffing the surface with coarse sandpaper. I’ve noticed that as bedding material gets used it stays put better. Many people have success with a sand floor as well. Hope this helps.

  2. Karen says:

    We used old vinyl flooring from various people, (love FREECYCLE!). Makes cleanup so much easier. Just nailed it down. Then today, we heard a comment about vinyl flooring letting off toxic fumes, and “you can’t claim your eggs are organic, I certainly wouldn’t buy eggs from anyone with vinyl flooring”… (we feed only organic, and the chickens free range all day). So, anyone have any thoughts on that?

    • Karen, linoleum is a natural product, so no issues there. New vinyl flooring does off-gas VOCs (volatile organic compounds), though it’s my understanding that this takes place primarily in the first couple weeks after installation. This could be a problem if vinyl is installed in a poorly ventilated area. Given that you’re using old flooring and that most properly built chicken coops allow plenty of ventilation, I think it’s safe to say you’re in the clear.

      It could be that the issue for the person you overheard is more about the overall environmental impact of vinyl — there are concerns about how it is produced, worker safety, and what chemicals are released when it is burned. If these are the concerns, then by giving it a longer life, you’re turning a negative into a positive. It’s each person’s call, of course. You can read more about the vinyl debate here and here.

      I’m not sure whether you’re actually going for organic certification, but if you review the rules for the USDA National Organic Program, you won’t see vinyl mentioned as a problem material. PVC (polyvinyl chloride, one type of vinyl) is listed, however, as not suitable for use as a mulch cover.

      Hope this helps.

  3. Mleduc34@gmail.com says:

    Hi, all. I am new to the chicken thing, and I am having a good time. I just finished my coop. After installing tile for 27 years it seem fitting to tile my coop, so I tiled the walls and floor. I also installed a floor drain as well as warm floors (in-floor heating) and, yes, epoxy grout. It makes cleaning easy.

  4. Dana says:

    I just finished working on an old raised 18×25 coop that I separated in two sections with a wall. The front 300 sq. ft. for farm storage and the back 150 for the chickens where the original chicken doors can be utilized. I had the thought of linoleum flooring thinking it would be far easier to keep clean and much more durable than painting the treated 3/4 inch plywood. I was thrilled to find these postings to learn my idea was already tested and true.
    What type of flooring would you say is the most durable since it’s such a small area I would rather front the cost to have the longest lasting flooring.
    Thanks:)!
    Dana

    • I don’t know, Dana. Hopefully, other readers will chime in with their experiences. Compared to the best paint, though, all these options will be more durable. But you might ask at your flooring retailer for a comparison among linoleum, marmoleum, and vinyl. It may depend on what other kind of traffic and moisture it will be exposed to beyond just chicken feet.

    • Dawn says:

      Marmoleum is a brand-name for linoleum tiles (as is Marmorette). ;)

      Vinyl is probably a cheaper option and the only one you’ll find in rolls at most home improvement stores (even if you specify you want lineoleum, because the term ‘linoleum’ has come to indicate a range of resilient-type flooring options in common parlance). Usually when people say they are using linoleum in a coop they mean sheet vinyl.

      Vinyl is made from pvc plastics with a soft backing, a printed decorative layer, and a clear wear layer on top, whereas linoleum is made primarily from linseed oil and natural fillers like cork or stone dust and its color is usually all the way through. Linoleum is also porous and needs to be sealed for proper maintenance, and though it has antimicrobial properties I’m not sure I’d use it in a coop where you’d have to clean it out every year or so, wash it down and re-seal it. Vinyl does not need sealing as it’s impervious to water (at least until it rips) and you don’t have to glue it down as you would with linoleum. You can also cut it larger and fold it up your walls for extra protection at the base of the wall, whereas tiling up a wall is a bit more work.

      Vinyl seems the easier and less time-consuming choice here; linoleum is the more environmentally-friendly option. Both should be installed a week or so before you get your hens in the coop because of off-gassing (the linseed-oil smell of new lineoleum, while not strictly harmful, may irritate people or animals who are sensitive).

      When shopping for vinyl you really want to pay attention to the wear layers on top of the flooring. They are what protect the flooring and thicker wear layers will last longer and perform better. That said, if you’re scavenging for scraps you just want something thick enough overall that it won’t rip like paper the second you fold or bend it to get it in your coop.

      Hope that helps someone! Personally I like the idea of linoleum as a nice green flooring option but I’d probably go with the sheet vinyl because it’s cheaper, there are few/no seams to worry about, and I can get remnants at Home Depot.

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