Linoleum vs. Vinyl Flooring

Linoleum and vinyl flooring are both growing in popularity. Both of these floors are very easy to clean and require little maintenance. Also, both of these floor coverings are easy to install and inexpensive. Many subdivisions are using linoleum and vinyl flooring more and more. Just like tile, you can get any floor style effect that you want from linoleum and most styles from a vinyl floor. Most commonly, homeowners choose a wood or tiled floor look.

Because they look so similar, many people think vinyl and linoleum are the same thing. Linoleum is the flooring often wrongly called “vinyl”. They both come on rolls. Don’t confuse linoleum with vinyl flooring. They have different characteristics.

They both are durable and come on rolls but linoleum flooring comes in basically every color while vinyl is offered in less color variety. Because both linoleum and vinyl are such strong floors, they are the best for dogs, cats and other pets.


Another key difference with linoleum and vinyl is maintenance. Vinyl is pretty much maintenance free. Any cleaner will do on it – you don’t need to worry about anything bad happening to your vinyl floor when you clean it. Differently, linoleum is a bit more fussy when it comes to cleaning products. You have to be careful because some cleaning products that have a high pH will actually do damage to the floor.

Maintenance for both linoleum and vinyl is sweeping, vacuuming and using the occasional cleaner on the floors. For linoleum, a pH neutral cleaner is best. It is a good idea to use an acrylic coating once a year. It needs to be sealed because it is not a waterproof floor – only a water resistant floor. Vinyl is totally waterproof so it doesn’t need an annual coating application.

What Are Vinyl and Linoleum Made From?

Both types of flooring are made of completely different materials. Linoleum is more environmentally sustainable. This flooring is derived from natural and biodegradable ingredients. Linoleum is made from linseed, cork, tree resin and limestone. The smell of linoleum is also pleasant. In contrast, vinyl is not made of any renewable materials. It also uses a lot of energy to manufacture. Vinyl is made of synthetic materials. It is made of fiberglass, dyes and vinyl. Vinyl is a petroleum product. Many vinyl floors have VOCs that are emitted right after the flooring has been installed. In fact, a lot of linoleum offgasses formaldehyde.

Continue reading to learn about installing vinyl and linoleum floor coverings. Also you can read about the cost difference.

linoleum and vinyl flooring