Linoleum and vinyl floors often get mistaken for each other by people who are in search for sheet flooring that has a good appearance and a long life. Both these flooring types are indeed long-lasting and tough, and can be installed almost anywhere. However, there are some significant differences between the two. These differences are in terms of:
All the types vinyl floors including vinyl sheet, luxury vinyl flooring, vinyl tile, and rigid core hybrid flooring are manufactured in layers. These layers include:
- The top wear layer: It is a finish (like urethane) which protects the floor against stains and scratches.
- The image layer: It can look like stone or hardwood, or a solid colour or pattern. Some of the vinyl floors have a texture that matches with the image, making stone and wood styles look more real.
- The core layer: This layer basically determines how water and dent resistant the vinyl floor is. Depending on the vinyl product, the core layer may also add some rigidity. Some vinyl floors are flexible before they’re installed (such as vinyl sheet which comes in form of a roll) and some are much firmer (such as rigid core flooring, where tiles or planks snap together).
- Attached Underlayment: There are some vinyl floors that have an attached underlayment. This adds cushion and makes the floor quieter underfoot.
One the other hand, linoleum floors are made in an entirely different way. These floors are mix of natural (renewable) materials like linseed oil that comes from flax seeds, cork powders, jute, tree resins, and wood flours. The design of these floors is not on any image layer, rather it is embedded throughout in these materials. Moreover, linoleum floors may require an additional protective seam sealant.
- Style & Designs
While both linoleum and vinyl can be used in residential interiors, vinyl has gained more popularity in recent years due to its style selection, ease of installation, and easy maintenance. Also, because with vinyl you have the option of getting a floor that looks like natural stone and real hardwood, many people are installing vinyl floors in every room of their house (even bedrooms and living areas.). Linoleum, on the other hand, has become less popular over the years, especially for residential use. Linoleum floors have been around for more than a hundred years and used to be quite common in homes. However, as more realistic-looking and durable options have emerged, these floors are no longer the primary choice of homeowners. They’re still an excellent choice for areas that require long-lasting floors that can resist heavy wear and tear. This is why you can still see them installed in schools, hospitals, and commercial areas.
Vinyl flooring is available in a variety of types like vinyl sheet, luxury vinyl tile, vinyl tile, and rigid LVT. And among these types you can find a wide variety of colours and styles from which you can pick the one that goes perfectly with your home interior. Linoleum does not have the same style versatility. However, it can be a great choice if one wants to get a floor with large patterns, blocks of colour, or embedded designs. Also, as linoleum is dyed, you will have a wide range of colours, from subtle to bold to choose from.
- Water Resistance
Linoleum is made using a mix of natural materials which are more susceptible to damage from moisture and cleaning products. So the seams have to be directly sealed after installation then periodically re-sealed. If it is not sealed, the floor loses its resistance to water and can curl up from the edges. As this floor is vulnerable to humidity and moisture, its installation in wet areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms is not recommended.
On the other hand, vinyl floors (especially vinyl sheet, LVT, and rigid core hybrid floors) are waterproof and do not require any sealant or ongoing maintenance. Therefore, these floors can be installed in any area on any level of the house.