November 20, 2019
Most homeowners often reach a crossroad when it comes to choosing the right floor type for their home, in particular the battle between Vinyl Vs Linoleum.
Despite being two completely different types of materials, there are many similarities between the two.
From affordability and maintenance to aesthetic appeal, durability & stability, and application, both floor types manage to tick all the right boxes.
But between the two, how do you know which floor type is the better choice for your home?
In this article, we explain the key differences between Vinyl and Linoleum flooring and compare characteristics to help you decide which floor type will be best for you.
1- The Materials
Over the years, vinyl flooring has become the people’s choice not only for its versatility but also its endless design possibilities. The fact that you can achieve an authentic wood-look or stone tiled floor in any room of the house says a lot.
It’s also extremely durable and waterproof, making it an excellent flooring option for rooms with moisture such as the bathroom, laundry and kitchen.
These days, vinyl can now come as easy-to-install tiles and planks, known as Luxury Vinyl Tile/Plank, as opposed to your old school vinyl sheet, which was much harder to install and replace. However, there are circumstances where sheet vinyl is recommended over tiled/plank, which we will explain further on in this article.
Vinyl is a synthetic material and is created using 4 main layers: Wear Layer, Decorative Image, Vinyl Core, and Under Layer, with the core of it being made from polyvinyl chloride resins.
Key Benefits of Vinyl Flooring
- Easy-to-clean and low maintenance, just needs a regular sweep and vacuum with the occasional mop
- Well installed vinyl is virtually waterproof, making it the perfect floor type to use in a bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, restaurants, hospitals and schools (especially sheet vinyl)
- Is warm, soft and comfortable underfoot and does not get cold in winter, unlike wood, ceramic and tiled floors. Some vinyl sheets and tiles can also have a padded underlayer for added comfort.
- Extremely durable, made to last and can withstand areas of heavy foot traffic, perfect for living rooms, hallways, bedrooms — pretty much anywhere, both residential and commercial.
- Luxury vinyl planks and tiles are extremely easy to install and 100% DIY if you wanted to. Vinyl sheet on the other hand is a little more complex and may require the help of a professional.
Of the two floor types, linoleum was once all the craze and up until a few decades ago, where it was revered for its natural qualities and affordability. Linoleum is largely comprised of linseed oil, a naturally occurring substance that has been extracted from flax seeds, mixed in with other sustainable materials including, cork dust, wood flour and rosin.
Linoleum is an environmentally-friendly floor type made from renewable materials, making it far more sustainable than vinyl.
However, these days, with luxury vinyl sitting on the throne, you may only find linoleum used in medical centres, schools and hospitals. That being said, one should not be too hasty to rule out linoleum as a flooring option in their home without comparing its characteristics first.
Key Benefits of Linoleum Flooring
- Has acoustic properties, making it ideal for apartments, hallways and upstairs areas
- Linoleum is soft underfoot and can be a safe choice for children
- It’s slip resistant and can be used in kitchens, laundry rooms and other areas where there might be water
- Linoleum is environmentally-friendly, sustainable and made from renewable materials, meaning it can be recycled
- If properly cared for, linoleum can last up to 40 years
- Easy-to-clean and low maintenance, just needs regular sweeping, vacuuming and an occasional mop
- Does not produce harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC)
2- Appearance and Style
Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a competition when it comes to comparing the visual aesthetic of vinyl vs. linoleum, with vinyl as the clear winner in this department.
One of the largest benefits to vinyl flooring is its endless design possibilities and the ability to be able to authentically replicate natural wood, concrete, marble and stone.
For a more authentic finish, most homeowners would install tiles or planks to achieve a textured and grout-like end product. Whereas with vinyl sheet — harder to install and comes in a 12-foot-wide roll — will need to be cut to fit the shape of the room.
However, different circumstances may favour sheet vinyl, such as a medical centre, or hospitality for waterproofing factors.
Once upon a time, vinyl flooring that was exposed to UV rays for an extended period of time was susceptible to fading, but thanks to the advancements in vinyl technology, there are now fade resistant properties.
Linoleum on the other hand, is extremely limited in its design options. Despite being around for more than a century, and was once the most popular floor type in homes, it has failed to keep up with the increasing hype and demand for realistic-looking modern flooring.
Where it may lack in design choices, linoleum makes up for in creating large patterns with embedded designs or blocks of colour. Because linoleum is dyed, you can choose from a wide range of colours, from subtle to bold, making it an easy choice of flooring for schools and hospitals where there is a need for consistency.
- Limitless customisable design choices
- Replicate natural floor materials with an authentic finish, including concrete, stone, marble and wood.
- Limited design options
- Susceptible to colour change
3- Durability & Stability
Vinyl and linoleum are both resilient floor types, with high durability and stability, but there are some key differentiating factors that contribute to their longevity, including the maintenance of each floor type and its waterproofing.
Vinyl is a non-porous material that is highly water resistant and does not require any sort added of sealing or protection. Sheet vinyl in particular, is completely waterproof and is an excellent option for high moisture areas that are prone to spills, including schools, hospitals and restaurants. Vinyl planks and tiles on the other hand, are only waterproof to a certain extent because of the seams where each panel/tile connected together.
Vinyl is a flexible floor type that is easy to maintain, can withstand heavy foot traffic and won’t warp, crack or buckle from moisture.
Unlike vinyl, linoleum requires a protective acrylic or wax coating to prevent moisture from penetrating the surface and requires a little more maintenance upon installation to protect it. It’s susceptible to moisture damage and if installed on an uneven substrate it may cause long term durability issues such as warping, bending and cracking.
When it comes to maintenance and cleaning because linoleum is susceptible to water damage you will need to be careful on how you attempt to clean it. Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners and water, instead, sweep or vacuum it regularly. Tougher stains can be removed using a small amount of detergent but will need to be dried immediately to prevent moisture from seeping into the floor.
Linoleum will also require periodic resealing, just like the one received when it was first installed, to maintain its water-resistant properties.
- Much more water-resistant and ideal for wet environments
- Does not require a sealant
- Can withstand heavy foot traffic
- Easily maintained and cleaned
- Susceptible to water damage
- Requires an additional protective layer to be applied
- Withstand heavy foot traffic
- Cannot be cleaned with harsh chemical products or water
4- Cost and Longevity
Vinyl Flooring Cost
The cost of vinyl flooring will vary depending on the quality, pattern and style, whether it be luxury vinyl planks and tiles, or vinyl sheet.
- $16 – $30 per square metre for budget vinyl
- $35 – $45 per square metre for standard quality vinyl
- $45 – $60 per square metre for vinyl tile flooring
- $55 – $90 per square metre for vinyl plank flooring
Linoleum Flooring Cost
Similar to vinyl, the cost of linoleum will vary depending on the quality and style, sheet or tile.
- $55 per square metre for standard linoleum
- $70 per square metre for high quality linoleum installed