For the majority of people, the phrases “linoleum” and “vinyl sheet” are interchangeable. It’s common for people to think that these two types of flooring are interchangeable, but that’s simply not the case.
A common misconception is that vinyl and linoleum sheet flooring may be used interchangeably; however, this misconception can lead to poor purchase selections and an unsatisfactory final product in your home.
In the past, linoleum was the norm, but its time has come and gone. This is mainly due to the emergence of vinyl sheet, which is more durable, takes less maintenance, and can be found in a wide variety of current, trendy patterns and designs.
So, what are the main differences between these often-confused flooring options?
It was 150 years ago that linoleum was one of the first flooring materials to be discovered and used. Biodegradable and renewable elements, including flaxseed, cork dust, woof floor, and rosin, were added to the linseed-based oil paint.
To this day, linoleum is still created from natural chemicals, making it a popular choice for eco-conscious home contractors and builders trying to reduce their carbon footprint.
Rolls of linoleum are available in widths ranging from 6 to 12 feet. Sizes range from 48 inches long to 6 inches high, and the width is 18 inches.
Linoleum was widely utilized in hospitals and schools and in the home’s kitchen and bathroom as early as the 1800s.
When hardwood, tiles, and vinyl were brought into the market, this popularity fell away. Since people are more concerned about their impact on the environment, eco-friendly materials for construction like linoleum are on the rise.
We’ll take a closer look at it later.
Linoleum was supplanted by vinyl in the 1920s, and by the 1960s, vinyl was widely used in commercial and residential structures as a less expensive alternative to hardwood flooring.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is used to produce vinyl flooring’s core. A durable wear layer on top of the fiberglass backing serves as a protective layer.
There are 6 to 12-foot rolls of vinyl sheets that can be sliced into smaller pieces based on the intended use of the vinyl sheet. There are planks in 486 18 inches and tiles 9 by 18 inches.
Vinyl, unlike linoleum, is produced from synthetic elements and cannot be recycled. Despite this, vinyl has a longer lifespan and will last longer before it needs to be replaced, which reduces the environmental impact.
Linoleum Vs Vinyl Flooring Differences
When you’ve learned the fundamentals of linoleum and vinyl flooring, it’s time to assess how they stand up against each other.
Vinyl and linoleum are vastly different when it comes to design flexibility. Design options for linoleum are pretty limited.
Linoleum can achieve a simple but sometimes vibrant color selection as a dye product rather than a real wood or stone look.
It’s also possible for linoleum to turn yellow or bloom, which is commonly referred to as the “yellowing” of the product.
A wide range of options is available when it comes to customizing and designing vinyl, which makes it ideal for any type of interior design project.
Both vinyl and linoleum can be created from a variety of different materials, yet they are fundamentally different. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and fiberglass are synthetic and non-recyclable materials used in vinyl production.
The natural ingredients used to make linoleum, on the other hand, include cork dust, wood dust, linseed oil, rosin, and other components that can be recycled into new products.
Linoleum is an excellent option if you seek a flooring material with a minimal environmental impact. It is essential to keep in mind that your linoleum flooring will age faster and may require early replacement if you dislike the look of old linoleum floors.
Regular sweeping, dusting, or vacuuming of linoleum is recommended. The use of harsh chemical cleaners should be avoided at all costs.
Using mild soap and warm water is the best way to clean your kitchen. Linoleum should be resurfaced at least a few times a year to ensure its long life.
Tile floors must not be exposed to significant amounts of rainwater or other liquids. Sheet linoleum can be patched with similar patterned material. It is possible to replace damaged tiles.
Vinyl flooring’s surface layer is usually resistant to wear, but vinyl flooring will deteriorate and need to be replaced with time.
Replacement of broken or worn-out vinyl tiles is as simple as swapping them out for new ones, which is only a problem if the old tiles are no longer in production.
You can repair sheet-type vinyl damage by applying a liquid seam sealant to the surface or cutting two material pieces and sewing them together.
Water & Heat Resistance
Vinyl flooring can be laid in moist locations, such as basements and crawl spaces, because it is nearly impermeable. Felt is used as a backing layer in older vinyl, which is vulnerable to water damage.
Newer vinyl has fiberglass support, which is impervious to mold and moisture. There are fewer seams in sheet vinyl, which makes it better at resisting water penetration into the underlayment.
Linoleum is water-resistant, but it may still be damaged by moisture; thus, it needs to be sealed regularly to prevent leaks.
Linoleum can be damaged by flooding, and extreme humidity can cause tiles and corners of sheets to curl, depending on how much moisture is present.
Linoleum is more heat-resistant than other substances. When heated by hot curling irons or skillets, linoleum does not melt as quickly as vinyl flooring.
Moreover, linoleum does not burn and generate hazardous vapors as readily as vinyl does in the event of a fire in the home.
When deciding on a flooring option, it is essential to consider how easy it is to install. Most difficult-to-install flooring requires the services of a proficient installer, which raises the overall cost to you as a consumer.
Planks, tiles, and sheets are all forms of linoleum and vinyl. A floating floor, or interlocking vinyl and linoleum, has a medium to low level of installation complexity.
Both sorts of products can be installed on your own if you have handy rudimentary skills. Gluing down linoleum, vinyl, and sheets is when the installation variations are most apparent.
The glue-down sheets of linoleum, which are a considerably stiffer material, are challenging to work with and usually necessitate the services of a professional installer.
On the other hand, Vinyl sheets are a lot more flexible and easy to use. Glue-contained sheets are DIY-friendly vinyl flooring alternatives.
Durability & Stability
Vinyl and linoleum begin to differentiate themselves from one other when it comes to durability. However, in terms of maintenance, each flooring product has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Linoleum requires additional upkeep after installation because of its vulnerability to moisture damage, but both flooring types are easy to maintain.
Unlike wood, vinyl flooring is non-porous, making it resistant to higher moisture levels and spills. Linoleum is starting to offer tile possibilities, but it is only available as a sheet product most of the time, making the installation process a little more complicated than putting luxury vinyl plank and tile.
To preserve linoleum from moisture, installers often seal it. Vinyl, on the other hand, does not require any initial upkeep. When it comes to flooring options, vinyl and linoleum both have their advantages and disadvantages.
It is possible for linoleum to bend, warp, and crack over time if it is put over an uneven substrate. On the other hand, Linoleum has a limited selection of cleaning solutions that can be used to maintain it.
Using a solution that won’t damage the flooring is essential when cleaning linoleum, which is constructed of natural materials.
Linoleum is typically protected from cleaning agents by an acrylic layer or wax. Vinyl does not necessitate this kind of additional upkeep.
When deciding between linoleum and vinyl flooring, you should also consider the comfort of your feet. Vinyl can be rough and cold to the touch when walked upon despite its durability.
When vinyl is put over a concrete subfloor, the sensation is more pronounced. There are several advantages to using vinyl, such as the fact that it is quieter than laminate.
Linoleum, on the contrary, has a softer feel but is also more durable and long-lasting. As a result, it’s an excellent choice for multistory structures because it’s quieter than vinyl.
It is important to choose a flooring product that will last for a long time with little or no repair or replacement expenditures while making your decision.
Between 10 to 15 years is the usual lifespan of vinyl. However, the flooring will keep its glossy patina throughout the lifetime, after which the wear layer will fall off, revealing the core.
Although linoleum is more expensive than vinyl, the longer useful life of up to 40 years more than makes up for the price difference.
On the other hand, the flooring will portray its age considerably more quickly. Some individuals appreciate the worn-out look of the earlier linoleum floor, while others find it unappealing.
To put it another way, vinyl is more affordable than linoleum at the outset. There aren’t any particular cleaning products or techniques required for vinyl flooring, although it’s always advisable to clean your floors with mild materials.
A more expensive flooring option, linoleum is more durable but is more challenging to install. The flooring also shows signs of wear and tear, necessitating more frequent cleaning and maintenance.
Both vinyl and hardwood are low-maintenance options, although vinyl is easier to keep clean. There is no need for any extra routine maintenance other than basic mopping or vacuuming.
When cleaning linoleum, you may need to use a specific product in order to avoid harming your floor, as stated by the manufacturer.
Regular mopping is ineffective because of the limited water capacity of the flooring. Linoleum floors should be sealed a minimum of twice a year.
In terms of real estate value, vinyl flooring is regarded as a low-cost option. There isn’t much of a visual difference between linoleum and vinyl flooring.
However, linoleum can be seen as less attractive from a design sense because of the limited palette of colors and patterns available.
However, linoleum’s green nature might be a selling advantage for environmentally conscious homebuyers.
Vinyl and linoleum are both durable floor coverings that can be installed in a variety of ways. However, you must balance their advantages and disadvantages before deciding which one is best for you.
Biodegradable ingredients are used to make linoleum, which is water-resistant, quiet underfoot, and easy to clean. It is, however, far more expensive, less water-resistant, and more likely to exhibit signs of wear and tear.
Old linoleum may have a yellowing patina, but if you don’t mind that and are more concerned about the environment, this flooring could be a suitable option for you.
Vinyl has a glossy finish, is less likely to be scratched or dented, and is available in a wide variety of patterns and textures. It’s easy to care for and doesn’t cost a lot of money.
When it comes to long-term value and aesthetic appeal, vinyl is the best option.
Jenny SteffensHobick is the full-time editor responsible for painting, flooring, bathrooms & home climate coverage at House Whirl. She is a home improvement expert with an eye for design and the skills to get the work done. She knows what turns a house into a home and has the advice and ideas to make upgrades easy and fun.