The Difference between Linoleum and Vinyl Flooring

We’re often asked about the difference between linoleum and vinyl flooring and most people believe that they are actually the same thing. Unfortunately, most people would be wrong! Whilst they do share some similarities, i.e. they’re both resilient and most come on a roll rather than tiles, they are inherently different. In this blog post, we’ll explain the difference between the two.

Linoelum flooring


Linoleum is made out of range of different natural materials. This includes things like wood, cork, limestone, linseed oil and tree resin. It was actually made as a result of trying to oxidise linseed oil into a skin and the accidental result was the very first linoleum. One the other hand, vinyl is made using materials such as fibre glass, felt and vinyl.

Due this difference in materials, vinyl is better suited for kitchens because it is more waterproof and doesn’t absorb liquids so easily.

Vinyl flooring


Both are these types of floors are fitted in a similar way. They are both very easy to install and involve laying them beside each other. However, because linoleum is less waterproof and therefore more susceptible to water damage it will need to be waxed and sealed after installation.


Each type of floor needs to be cleaned differently using different cleaning products. Both are very easy to clean and this is one of the main features that people usually look for when choosing a new floor. Linoleum needs a little more tender loving care than vinyl and it is a lot more sensitive to products that have a high pH level. Therefore, you’ll want to use something that has a more neutral pH level when cleaning linoleum.

Ecological differences

Linoleum is much better for the environment because it is made from natural sources. Moreover, it doesn’t need a lot of energy when it is manufactured and it is very light and easy to transport. Finally, it is also biodegradable so it can easily be recycled. On the other hand vinyl is manufactured using non-renewable materials and the manufacturing process can cause environmental problems.


Vinyl flooring is considerably cheaper than linoleum and in some cases it can be more than 50% cheaper. However, the lifespan of each of these flooring types has to be taken into consideration. Linoleum can last nearly twice as long as cheap vinyl flooring and if you think about this life cycle, the two work out to have a similar price.

Design Options

The patterns on vinyl are printed and this means that you can have virtually any design, colour or even an image printed directly onto the surface. There is a protective layer on top of the design, but once this has worn down, the design will then begin to wear down.

One the other hand, linoleum is colourfast and the patterns are not just printed on top but they are present throughout the different layers. This will limit the design capabilities, but it will not fade as it wears down.

Linoleum and Vinyl

As you can see, there are some significant differences between these two types of flooring. When you’re considering which type of flooring to use, think about all of the points listed above. Both products come with their advantages and disadvantages, so take a moment to think about what you want in a floor.

The price works out to be very similar, although vinyl is cheaper, it will need to be replaced sooner and the pattern will fade in time. The more expensive linoleum will last a lot longer and it doesn’t fade with wear and tear, so it will look nicer for longer.