Linoleum vs. Vinyl Flooring

It’s no secret that there are a large variety of flooring options available, which can make it easy to get lost in the specifics of how one type of flooring differs from another. One common flooring question we often receive from consumers is: what’s the difference between linoleum flooring and vinyl flooring? While linoleum and vinyl look very similar, there are distinctive differences between both flooring materials.

MaterialsLinoleum flooring

Linoleum flooring is made solely from raw, all-natural and biodegradable materials – including linseed oil, wood and cork flours, and tree resin. Vinyl flooring, on the other hand, is a synthetic product that is made up of vinyl, a combination of chemicals including ethylene and chlorine, and other additives (like felt, fiberglass, and dyes). For this reason, linoleum may be the preferred flooring material for consumers who are environmentally conscious.


While cleaning linoleum flooring requires slightly more maintenance than vinyl floor, both are relatively easy to care for. For linoleum flooring products, periodic sweeping or vacuuming is required. Because of linoleum flooring can be sensitive to certain cleaners, be sure to look for neutral detergents when mopping is needed. To maintain its shiny surface, an acrylic coating must be applied to your linoleum flooring material once per year (with some linoleum requiring occasional waxing).

Vinyl flooring, however, is extremely low maintenance. Considered one of the easiest flooring types to clean, vinyl flooring can withstand normal sweeping and vacuuming as well as mopping. With vinyl flooring, you won’t have to worry about damaging the floorboards as they are not affected by moisture, mold, or mildew.


Our flooring professionals are pros at installing any flooring product, but vinyl flooring is considered to be the easier option out of the two (especially if you’re looking for a DIY flooring project). Whether in tile or sheet form, you don’t have to worry about sealing or waxing with vinyl flooring. Plus, it’s water-resistant!

While linoleum flooring installation is typically not considered a complicated process, certain precautions are needed. Any seams between the linoleum tiles must be as thin as possible to prevent water from traveling underneath the flooring material. In addition, one installation is complete, it’s important to apply a water sealant coating to prevent any possible water damage.

Vinyl flooringPrice

While linoleum flooring isn’t expensive, it typically costs more than vinyl. On average, linoleum flooring costs anywhere from $2.00 – $5.00 per square foot where vinyl flooring prices span anywhere from $0.50 – $2.00 on average.

When determining which flooring product to install in your home, consider both the price and predicted life spans. For example, though vinyl flooring is cheaper, it doesn’t last as long as linoleum flooring.

Life Span & Durability

Speaking of life spans, linoleum flooring can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years, while vinyl flooring typically lasts anywhere from 10 to 20 years. Because of this, linoleum is considered more durable than vinyl as it has similar properties to ceramic flooring and hardwood.


The colors used in the design of linoleum go all the way through the material – meaning there is a longer “wear life” compared to vinyl flooring, where colors and patterns are only stamped on the top layer of tile. However, many consider vinyl flooring allows for greater design freedom because of its array of available patterns and colors. Just remember that because the design is only stamped, the “wear layer” is much thinner than linoleum flooring. Once the wear layer wears through, the design will, unfortunately, be gone.

Other Properties

One of the most distinguishing features of vinyl flooring, when compared to linoleum flooring, is that vinyl is completely waterproof. Depending on which room your new flooring material will be installed, it’s important to consider how much moisture that area receives. For example, vinyl flooring material would probably be a better choice than linoleum flooring material for a bathroom, so you don’t have to worry about sealing and waxing. While vinyl flooring beats linoleum in the water-resistant category, linoleum flooring carries its own benefits including being stain resistant, fire retardant, antimicrobial, hypoallergenic and antistatic.

Whether you decide to go with linoleum or vinyl tile flooring, there are plenty of beautiful, high-quality options for both types of flooring material. Because they’re both considered types of resilient flooring, both linoleum and vinyl flooring are great choices for homeowners looking for affordable, comfortable and practical flooring products.

Made your decision? Contact a flooring professional near you today.


Source: Armstrong’s The Floor Board blog, World Floor Covering Association, The Craftsman Blog,
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