Many of the same qualities may be seen in vinyl and linoleum, two forms of resilient flooring materials. Due to the similarity of the materials, many people use the names interchangeably. The distinctions between linoleum and vinyl, on the other hand, are surprising in number and significance. It’s important to weigh all of the pros and cons before making a final decision on your resilient flooring.
What is Linoleum Flooring?
Linoleum flooring is made from all-natural materials, including linseed oil, rosin, broken down wood, and others. The all-natural, non-toxic qualities of linoleum are a major marketing factor.
Linoleum flooring is manufactured from all-natural ingredients, such as linseed oil, rosin, broken down wood, and other things. One of linoleum’s most appealing features is that it is completely natural and does not emit any dangerous chemicals.
Linoleum is a time-honored flooring option that has been around since the 1800s. But in the 1950s, the classic linoleum kitchen (you know, the black-and-white checkered look) started to become less sought-after.
Why? Vinyl, on the other hand, was a brand-new invention. And it’s also less expensive. Thus, linoleum’s popularity dwindled, and people began to confuse the two products as one and the other.
Linoleum Flooring Pros
What are the advantages of a linoleum floor in a bathroom? Take a look at the following:
- Linoleum floors are made of linseed oil, a naturally occurring chemical produced from flax seeds. The linseed oil is then combined with wood flour, cork dust, and other naturally occurring, renewable components to create the final product.
- Linoleum’s low static resistance is due to the material’s biodegradability. It’s especially critical in commercial buildings, because static electricity can injure people and equipment.
- Linoleum is well-known for its cushioning and resilience as a floor covering.
- Linoleum flooring rolls naturally act as a heat insulator, so there’s no need for additional underlayment.
- Anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic, this material is a terrific option for the whole family.
- Linoleum flooring can last for up to 40 years with proper care and maintenance.
- Consistent pattern and color: The design is visible even in worn-down regions since the patterns and colors are present throughout the tile or sheet. You won’t have to be concerned about the color fading, but you may be limited in your design options.
Linoleum Flooring Cons
Is there anything to be concerned about with linoleum flooring? Some things to think about:
- In areas where water damage is an issue, such as bathrooms and kitchens, linoleum needs to be sealed regularly. Linoleum flooring can be seriously damaged by flooding and even extreme humidity.
- Due to its softness, linoleum can be easily scratched and gouged. Wearing high heels or furniture legs can scratch the surface if you don’t take care.
- It is recommended that linoleum be sealed at least once or twice a year. Linoleum needs to be waxed every two or three years if it doesn’t have a coating.
- Installing linoleum sheets is not a do-it-yourself project. Linoleum installation is often not a do-it-yourself project due to its brittle nature.
- Despite its long lifespan, linoleum can yellow over time if improper cleaning products are used or if it is not properly maintained.
What about asbestos?!
The usage of asbestos in linoleum was abolished in the 1970s, so don’t worry! Asbestos is no longer present in modern linoleum, so you can rest easy!
What is Vinyl Flooring?
Vinyl is a PVC-based flooring solution that is more resistant to wear and tear. Vinyl is a cheaper alternative to linoleum because it is made of synthetic material. There are a variety of vinyl flooring options, including vinyl planks, tiles, and sheets.
During the 1960s, it began to gain popularity, and it has only continued to develop since then. As well as being more affordable, vinyl features realistic stone and wood textures and patterns that aren’t possible with other materials.
There is a lot of interest in vinyl flooring because of its durability and comfort underfoot. It is covered by a wear-resistant surface layer that shields the printed image. Vinyl flooring comes in both waterproof and non-waterproof varieties. A core layer of WPC or SPC in waterproof vinyl planks and tiles is to blame for the durability of these products.
However, sheet vinyl is a little more difficult to distinguish from linoleum. The fact that both vinyl and linoleum can be purchased in sheet form is a common source of misunderstanding. There are considerable distinctions between linoleum and vinyl sheets, despite the fact that they appear to be the same.
The new generation of vinyl sheets can mimic the look of real wood, stone, and even decorative materials. Vinyl sheets now frequently include strong fiberglass backings, making them easier to install on your own because they may be floated over your floor without the use of adhesive.
Vinyl Flooring Pros
Are there any other benefits to vinyl flooring? Benefits of having a resilient floor include the following:
- Installing vinyl flooring yourself is a doddle thanks to the interlocking or “floating” design of most planks and tiles. You may also easily apply vinyl sheets with fiberglass backing by yourself.
- To clean and care for, vinyl flooring is a breeze. For the most part, you don’t have to do anything but enjoy your new floor! To maintain your vinyl looking like new, all you need to do is vacuum and mop it every now and then.
- Resilient vinyl floors are a must-have if you spend the most of your day on your feet. Compared to other hard floor kinds like tile, this one is more forgiving on your joints and feet.
- Vinyl now appears more like wood and stone than ever before, with a wide range of styles and colors to choose from. It’s possible to find luxury vinyl flooring in many different shades and designs.
- Options for water-proofing: We’re talking 100% waterproof here! You can soak your vinyl floors in water and they will not be affected.
Vinyl Flooring Cons
When it comes to vinyl floors, what are the drawbacks? Some things to think about:
- Installation is simple and may be performed by the average person. The environmental impact of production is greater than that of consumption: More energy and non-renewable resources are used in the construction of vinyl flooring, than linoleum.
- These flooring have a shorter lifespan, lasting only about 20 years on average.
- The image is merely a surface representation: Vinyl offers a wide range of design options, but the final look is only as good as the wear layer that is applied on top of the print. As the top layer wears away, the hue may change.
Linoleum vs. Vinyl Flooring: Major Differences
The first resilient flooring was linoleum. Linoleum was first patented more than 150 years ago after it was discovered that linseed-based paint created a solid, strong, but flexible coating on top of the paint. It was discovered that this material could be combined with other elements to make a durable and versatile building material—an ideal material for flooring—through experimentation. Linseed oil, a naturally occurring material derived from flax seeds, makes up the majority of today’s linoleum. Cork dust, wood flour, and rosin are mixed with this and pressed into sheets to be used as flooring material. What sets linoleum apart from vinyl is that it is made entirely of natural materials.
In kitchens and other utility rooms, linoleum was the flooring of choice from the late 1800s through the early 1950s. Linoleum has unusual wear characteristics since it is a solid material with no printed design layer.
In the 1920s, vinyl was discovered as a material. It’s not made of natural materials like linoleum; instead, it’s made primarily of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). In the 1960s, it became a popular alternative to linoleum flooring due to its lower cost. PVC vinyl is sandwiched between a felt or fiberglass backing and a wear layer that protects a photographic design.
Toxic chemicals used in vinyl production have prompted many eco-conscious consumers to express their concern about vinyl’s use in their homes. For further flexibility, vinyl contains phthalate plasticizers in addition to the PVC material. Carcinogens have been identified in some of the compounds used in its production. 1 To top it all off, the production process necessitates a big amount of petroleum and energy. In order to safely dispose of unwanted vinyl flooring, it is nearly difficult.
Linoleum is now being rediscovered by environmentally conscious consumers as a safer option to vinyl flooring because of all of these factors. Linoleum, once considered dated and out of style, is now back in style.
There are virtually limitless color, pattern, and picture options to choose from because vinyl flooring contains a printed design layer beneath the transparent wear layer This allows you to achieve some of the most vibrant and realistic effects of any flooring material. If the wear layer above the design wears through in time, so does vinyl flooring, which has a negative in this regard. When vinyl is old enough, it often exhibits shabby worn patches where the PVC core layer has worn through the vinyl.
Water and Heat Resistance
With a printed design layer beneath the clear wear layer, you can choose from an almost infinite variety of colors, patterns or images for your vinyl flooring. When it comes to flooring, this gives you some of the most colorful and lifelike effects possible. Because vinyl flooring is only as robust as the wear layer that covers the design, it is susceptible to wear over time. In places where the vinyl has worn down to the PVC core, it might have a shabby appearance.
However, linoleum is not impervious to water damage, and it needs to be resealed on a regular basis to prevent it from water ingress. Linoleum can be damaged by flooding, and extreme humidity can cause individual tiles or the corners of sheets to curl, depending on how much moisture is present.
Linoleum has a higher heat resistance rating than ceramic tile. Like vinyl flooring, linoleum does not typically melt when exposed to hot skillets or curling irons right away. Furthermore, unlike vinyl, linoleum takes longer to burn and produces fewer hazardous gases when a fire breaks out. 2
Best for Water and Heat Resistance: Vinyl Flooring
In comparison to linoleum, vinyl flooring does not need to be sealed on a regular basis. However, keep in mind that linoleum is a bit more resistant to heat damage than other flooring options.
Care and Cleaning
Keeping vinyl floors clean is one of the most straightforward tasks. There’s no need to worry about vinyl discoloring if you sweep and vacuum it regularly or mop it with any of a wide choice of detergents. Vinyl, which is impervious to moisture, mold, and mildew, may be simply wiped clean to maintain its appearance.
Schools, hospitals and other public facilities have long used linoleum because it is virtually as easy to maintain as vinyl. Regular sweeping and vacuuming should enough. Hand-cleaning stains with a rag and mild detergent is an option. Liquid linoleum-specific cleaners are recommended by manufacturers, as ordinary detergents may include high pH values that could harm the surface.
Best for Care and Cleaning: Tie
Linoleum and vinyl are both very easy to clean.
Durability and Maintenance
The design layer of vinyl flooring can wear away, revealing the solid PVC core underneath, because it is glued over the top of a solid PVC layer. No waxing or sealing is required on modern vinyl flooring because the wear layer is so strong.
The architecture of linoleum, which incorporates solid material throughout the thickness of the flooring, makes it a more durable flooring option. Vinyl flooring requires no special care, but linoleum requires regular sealing to keep it water and stain resistant. Unlike vinyl, linoleum is a bit softer and can be damaged more readily. However, minor damage is less obvious because there is no core layer to reveal it.
Best for Durability and Maintenance: Tie
Vinyl is easier to maintain because it doesn’t need to be sealed, although linoleum is more durable.
Underlayment for linoleum and vinyl flooring must be extremely smooth and flat, as these materials have a tendency to transmit imperfections in the underlayment to the surface.
In order to install sheet vinyl flooring properly, you’ll need to use a glue-down method. Cutting and sewing together huge sheets of fabric can be a challenge. Most individuals go for expert installation because it is relatively inexpensive. Vinyl tiles, on the other hand, are a go-to choice for do-it-yourselfers due to their ease of installation.
However, vinyl tile can be put with a fully bonded adhesive, but most varieties of vinyl tile today found at home improvement outlets are peel and stick. When it comes time to install, you just peel away the protective backing paper and begin peeling the tiles off of the backing.
There are some similarities between the methods of laying linoleum and vinyl, although the latter is far more difficult to deal with, necessitating the services of a contractor virtually universally. A sharp linoleum knife is usually all that is needed to cut sheets. Seams are welded together after the sheets have been applied using a glue-down bond. As with luxury vinyl and laminate planks, linoleum tiles and planks are also available in easier-to-install formats, such as “click-lock” connecting methods that let them float over a flooring without any adhesives.
Best for Installation: Vinyl Flooring
With vinyl flooring, you can work with it more easily because it is a softer, more flexible substance.
At big-box home improvement retailers, sheet vinyl flooring normally costs between $.50 and $1.50 per square foot, while tiles sell for between $1.50 and $3 per square foot. Specialty flooring stores can charge significantly more for high-end designs.
Linoleum is a more expensive option, costing between $2 and $2.50 per square foot for sheet material and between $3.50 and $5 per square foot for tiles. Designer fashions, on the other hand, have the potential to raise the price of a garment.
Best for Cost: Vinyl Flooring
Linoleum is more expensive, but vinyl is less so. Professional installation might cost up to $3 per square foot for either material.
Some of the cost difference between vinyl and linoleum can be accounted for by their respective lifespans. Vinyl is less expensive than linoleum, but it only lasts 10 to 15 years on average. When the top layer of vinyl flooring wears away, revealing the core, it retains its glossy appearance.
Linoleum floors can endure anywhere from 20 to 40 years or more, depending on use and maintenance. Linoleum, on the other hand, will age with time, becoming worn and dingy until it eventually needs to be replaced. A linoleum floor’s patina can be appealing to some individuals, while others find it unappealing.
Best for Lifespan: Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum flooring outlasts vinyl flooring in terms of sheer usefulness.
Vinyl sheet flooring is commonly sold in 6- or 12-foot rolls, from which lengths can be trimmed to suit individual projects. They come in squares ranging from 9 to 18 inches in diameter.
Rolls of sheet linoleum can be purchased in lengths of six or twelve feet. Linoleum planks are typically 48 inches long and 4 to 6 inches wide, like luxury vinyl planks.
Best for Size: Tie
When it comes to dimensions, neither of these flooring options has an advantage.
Vinyl flooring is commonly thought of as a low-cost option because it has no effect on a home’s resale value.
At first look, few prospective homeowners can identify the difference between vinyl and linoleum flooring. Linoleum, on the other hand, lacks the diversity of colors and patterns found in vinyl flooring. However, linoleum’s green nature can be a selling advantage for homebuyers who are environmentally conscious.
Best for Resale Value: Tie
Both materials are considered low-cost flooring options, and neither has an advantage over the other when it comes to resale value.
Comfort and Sound
When laid on top of a concrete subfloor, vinyl flooring can be chilly and harsh to the touch, making it difficult to walk on for long periods of time. In comparison to ceramic tile or laminate, vinyl is a bit quieter.
Linoleum is a softer flooring option that may provide more underfoot resiliency.
Best for Comfort and Sound: Linoleum
Linoleum flooring is slightly softer than vinyl flooring, making it more comfortable and quieter to walk on.
Vinyl is one of the most poisonous building materials on the planet. However, when vinyl flooring is burned, the many carcinogenic and poisonous chemicals that go into its production are released, and there is no way to recycle vinyl flooring once the old materials have been removed. For millennia, these items will linger in landfills, and burning them to dispose of them is not an option.
Linoleum’s “green” character is one of the most important differences—and one that can make all the difference to certain homes. Vinyl and linoleum are two very distinct materials. Linseed oil, a plant-based oil, is the basic ingredient, which is blended with other natural ingredients. A linoleum floor can last 40 years instead of being torn up and replaced every ten years, and when it is finally disposed of, the component materials break down harmlessly in the environment.
Best for Environmental Considerations: Linoleum Flooring
Here, linoleum flooring is the clear victor because it is created entirely from natural resources, unlike vinyl flooring, which uses harmful chemicals in its manufacturing process.
Several of the major brands that manufacture vinyl flooring also offer linoleum flooring. Linoleum is the sole focus of some businesses.
- Several of the major brands that manufacture vinyl flooring also offer linoleum flooring. Linoleum is the sole focus of some businesses.
- Linoleum flooring is available from a number of the same major vinyl flooring manufacturers. Other businesses just deal with linoleum.
- One of the most well-known names in linoleum flooring, Forbo (Marmoleum) offers more than 300 different options. DIY-friendly linoleum planks and tiles with a click-lock installation system can be found here.
How to Tell If You Have Vinyl or Linoleum
Both linoleum and vinyl are types of resilient flooring, but there isn’t much in common between the two of them. The main difference between vinyl and linoleum flooring is that linoleum is a natural product developed in the 1800s, whereas vinyl was developed in the 1950s. Vinyl flooring surpassed linoleum in popularity following its introduction, but linoleum is making a comeback because to its environmental benefits. These floor coverings can be distinguished by a few simple characteristics.
Embossed Vs. Embedded Color Pattern
Vinyl is a very new building material compared to linoleum, therefore it’s unlikely that your kitchen’s original floor covering is vinyl if your house was built before 1950. Look for indicators of wear if you have any doubts about the covering’s age relative to the house.
The top layer of vinyl flooring is polished to protect the embossed image layer below it, which is made up of several layers of vinyl. It’s like the difference between engineered hardwood and actual wood, in that respect. The pattern on vinyl fades as the material wears.
linoleum, on the other hand, has an underlying pattern that extends throughout the material. Because of the way linoleum is embedded, unless a hole develops, the design will stay intact.
Natural Vs. Artificial Pigments
Frederick Walton, the inventor of linoleum, observed that dried linseed oil made a long-lasting film; the Latin words “linum” (flax) and “oleum” (oil) were combined to form the name “linoleum” (oil). In order to give it color, he employed natural pigments such as rosin, limestone powder, powdered cork, and wood dust. Natural colors, like those used in the dyeing of handcrafted oriental rugs, have a subdued, earthy appearance.
As with rug factory-made hues, vinyl is more bright and artificial-looking. Even though linoleum has an oil basis, the colors are further muted and typically have a yellowish hue because of this.
Linoleum Flooring Fire Test
Walton’s process for making linoleum is still in use today. Using a mixture of linseed oil and resin, a cement is rolled into sheets, baked for 21 days, and then cured.
Vinyl, on the other hand, is made by extruding plastic in the same way as PVC water pipes are made. An easily-melting substance is the result of this process. Contrary to popular belief, linoleum does not burn. In addition to being fire retardant, the resins and linseed oil drying process make it stain-resistant and hypoallergenic.
Other Distinguishing Features
The availability of linoleum tiles is a more recent development than the availability of vinyl tiles, which has been available in both tile and sheet form since its introduction. As a result, if you have vinyl floor tiles in your kitchen, they are likely to contain asbestos.
Even if you’re still not sure about your sheet flooring, you can check its cross section in a doorway by lifting up the edge of the flooring a bit. When it comes to thickness, vinyl is rarely greater than 1/8 inch, although linoleum can be as thick as a quarter of an inch. Linoleum has a jute backing, while vinyl sheet flooring typically has cloth backing.
Is vinyl or linoleum better?
Vinyl sheet is a better solution for bathrooms, kitchens, and mudrooms than linoleum. Cork and wood-based linoleum is particularly vulnerable to water damage. Vinyl sheet flooring, on the other hand, thrives in places with a lot of moisture.
How is linoleum different from vinyl?
Flooring created from all-natural resources, such as pine rosin and linseed oil, can be found in linoleum products. Linoleum flooring is made by combining these components and laying them on a jute backing. The resin polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used to make vinyl flooring.
Does linoleum last longer than vinyl?
Vinyl is generally less expensive than linoleum in the short term. However, keep in mind that linoleum can last up to twice as long as vinyl, depending on the type, manufacturer, and volume of traffic. Linoleum, on the other hand, does wear out over time, especially if it isn’t well maintained.
Is linoleum more expensive than vinyl?
Linoleum is significantly more expensive than vinyl. If you want a vinyl kitchen countertop, you’ll pay $790 to $1,600, whereas linoleum costs $600 to $2,400. Since both of these materials are frequently used in flooring, you may expect the price of putting in new floors to be comparable.
Is linoleum slippery when wet?
When a linoleum floor becomes wet, it becomes even more slick. A slippery linoleum can become more slippery over time if it is exposed to dust, cleaning agents, wax, or floor polish.
Is linoleum waterproof?
Linoleum is water-resistant, but it can still be damaged by moisture, thus it needs to be sealed on a regular basis to prevent leakage. Linoleum can be damaged by flooding, and extreme humidity can cause individual tiles or the corners of sheets to curl, depending on how much moisture is present.
What is linoleum flooring called now?
In most cases, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has taken the place of linoleum or lino as a floor covering material.
Is vinyl flooring good for living rooms?
It’s easy to clean and maintain, just like LVT, which makes vinyl roll an excellent choice for living rooms and bedrooms.
Can you use a steam mop on linoleum?
Steam mops safely clean linoleum floors when properly used. Cleaning using a steam mop eliminates the need for harsh chemicals. Dirt and filth are removed with the help of steam generated by hot water.
When used appropriately, steam mops can be used to clean linoleum floors without causing any harm to them. The usage of a steam mop allows you to clean without using any harsh chemicals. It removes filth and grime with the use of hot steam.