Linoleum Vs Vinyl Flooring; Similarities & Differences [Which one is Better?]

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Linoleum Vs Vinyl Flooring, differences and similarities

Linoleum flooring has been mistaken often as vinyl flooring. Despite the similarities, linoleum, and vinyl floorings are different types of flooring. Linoleum is more common in commercial areas and mostly in the kitchen. Vinyl is numerous in both residential and commercial areas. Both are resilient floorings and available in tiles and sheet roll designs.

Both linoleum and vinyl flooring are resilient, durable, maintains and retains shape, resistant to permanent dent, comfortable and forgiving underfoot. Linoleum is best for being eco-friendly and non-toxic while vinyl is more water-resistant, affordable, easy to clean, and maintains its appeal.

Linoleum Vs Vinyl Flooring, differences, similarities pros and cons

What is the difference & similarities between Linoleum and Vinyl Flooring?

Flooring is kind of a big deal of investment in your home, It’s what you see, walk on, and even interact with most of the time. It’s important to understand the benefits, advantages, and disadvantages of each flooring that you might have for another four or more decades.

Here we look at the similarities and differences of linoleum and vinyl to inform you as you take that bold step to install in your house.

Similarities of Vinyl and Linoleum Flooring

Vinyl and linoleum are resilient and high durable flooring option for your home available in tile and sheet roll option. The flooring is extremely durable when cared for and maintenance is done properly.

Vinyl and linoleum can last for decades when installed correctly and taken care of. Vinyl is known to last above 20 years and 40 years or more for linoleum flooring. The linoleum and vinyl can be grouped as an extremely durable flooring option.

The linoleum and vinyl are both scratch and dent resistant. This, however, calls for proper use and maintenance. Dragging furniture and walking with the high healed floor can still leave dents and damage both flooring types.

When installed indoor both tend to be fade and discoloration resistant. However, when installed on direct sunlight or exposed to it they may fade but on different levels.

Differences of Vinyl vs Linoleum Flooring

Comarison & Differences of Vinyl vs Linoleum Flooring

Fading on sunlight

Linoleum is prone to fading and gets visually worn out. Vinyl, on the other hand, is more resistant to fading for a longer period of time. Vinyl ranks better if its to be installed in areas that are susceptible to UV lights.


Linoleum is made from all-natural ingredients linseed oil (linoxyn), wood flour, ground cork dust, pine rosin, and mineral fillers (calcium carbonate). Vinyl on the other hand is made from synthetic products, a plastic produced when ethylene (crude oil) and chlorine (regular salt) are combined to form Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) resin that is not Eco- friendly. Linoleum is one of the greenest flooring options we have today.

Off Gassing Toxins

Linoleum qualify to be installed in a greener building. It made of natural biodegrade elements that don’t off-gas toxic fumes. Linoleum once installed does off-gas non-toxic gases for some weeks and then goes away on its own.

Vinyl on the other hand is made of synthetic materials that are glued together with adhesive. Vinyl flooring does off-gas toxin fumes that are to be dangerous and toxic. It’s good to note, currently there some manufacture producing almost non-toxic vinyl flooring. Linoleum wins as a greener non-toxic flooring.

See more on Is vinyl flooring toxic? and Ecofriendly flooring ideas

Feel and Look

Linoleum color is well embossed and goes all the way throughout the materials. Since it has all-natural color it tends to be prone to fading over time especially discoloration of the “Bloom” on the top layer. This also limits the availability of different colors and designs for linoleum.

Vinyl flooring has photographic mimics of the original flooring, wood stone, etc. The color is more resistant to fading and discoloration which also allows the availability of different colors, styles, and design options for vinyl flooring. Linoleum wins on color and natural look while Viny wins on designs and a variety of hues and textures.

Installation Method

Both floorings are available in tiles and sheet roll options. However, Linoleum requires to be installed on a flat, clean, and smooth sub-floor, which can best be done by professional installers for longevity. This helps to minimize the sub-floor imperfection that otherwise will be noticeable. Vinyl, on the other hand, is very DIY friendly and doesn’t require an underlayment always. Vinyl can be installed in different subfloor without complexity. Vinyl wins as DIY freindly.

Linoleum installation is a more complicated process compared to vinyl installation. In fact, while you can easily undertake vinyl installation as a DIY project, it’ll be hard to properly install linoleum floor sheets/tiles without the help of a professional. Cutting linoleum floor tiles so that they can fit to size is a labor-intensive process that requires time and manpower, since linoleum is a tough material. On the flipside, you’ll have little trouble cutting your vinyl floor planks to size as it’s a softer, more pliable material.

Water Resistant vs Waterproof

Linoleum is water-resistant and does allow one to wipe out water spills that could have seeped to sub-floor. However, Flooding in basements and areas with continuous water-moisture can cause warping and buckling or even de-lamination.

Vinyl is both waterproof and water-resistant. It’s an appropriate flooring for areas with a lot of moisture or even prone to flooding. LVP (luxury vinyl plank) flooring a good choice for a bathroom and laundry room compared with linoleum. Vinyl wins for being water-resistant and waterproof.


Linoleum requires a little more care to maintain its luster and shine look. Specific cleaners are good for use in cleaning the linoleum flooring-pH neutral cleaners are better. Vinyl flooring doesn’t require any specific cleaners. Any mild and neutral cleaner will do help maintains its shine.

It would be good to consider the pro and cons of linoleum flooring Vs pro and cons of vinyl flooring. It would help you address the unique needs of your flooring. In conclusion, both floorings are great for your home. If you looking for unique waterproof, water-resistant with different current designs, go for Vinyl flooring. If you are an old-school kind of person, with artistic eyes and ready to carry out regular maintenance to your floor, go for Linoleum flooring.


The linoleum tends to be more costly than vinyl flooring. Vinyl costs 2-4$ per sq ft, while linoleum costs 3 to 6$ per sq ft. When you add the required maintenance cost, the linoleum tends to be more expensive than vinyl floors. However, both floorings are still affordable. Vinyl wins as highly affordable especially considering its DIY friendly, which minimizes the installation cost further.

In terms of home value, both may have no substantial differences. However, the green nature of linoleum may increase the value where home owner appreciates or has good environmental awareness.

Comfort and Sound absorption

Linoleum is made of softer natural material that is more resilient to walk on. Vinyl flooring is hard and fairly cold underfoot, especially if it has a concrete sub-floor. However, luxury vinyl flooring is slightly less noisy than other hard flooring material like ceramic tile or laminate. Linoleum takes a win on sound absorption and comfort.

Durability and Longevity

Linoleum floor can last form 20 up to 40 years or even more with care and maintenance. However, it will show aging and weathering effcets as well as gradually looking older and older with time until it requires replacement or reinstallation. Vinyl flooring has a lifespan of between 10 to 15 years but maintain its glossy appearance until wear and tear expose is core and subfloor.

In addition, if you got pets and kids, vinyl flooring tends to handle pet mess, pee, muddy paws, and kid urine and accidental spills abetter than linoleum. Vinyl is somehow waterproof and easy to clean than linoleum floors.

Here a review video of Linoleum Vs Vinyl

Difference Between Vinyl VS Linoleum Flooring

Pros and Cons of Vinyl vs Linoleum

Has more variety in styles and looks to choose from.It has Shorter lifespan of about 10-15 years compared to linoleum
Easy to clean and mainatain, affordable cleaning options.The color and top layer mimics may fade as it wears out
It's DIY friendly/ Installation methodsProne to damage if poorly installed
Resilient, durable and comfortable flooringDoes not have natural look and style like wood
Water resistant and ideal for high moisture prone areasViny flooring off gas toxic fumes
Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum is made of natural materials that are non toxicSusceptible to water damage
Resilient, comfortable underfoot with good sound absorptionEasy to scratch and gouge; high heels or the furniture edges can damage the surface
Linoleum has both Anti-microbial and Anti-static propertiesLinoleum installation is not a good DIY project
Linoleum is a good heat insulatorProne to yellowing/ Discoloration
Long-lasting durable floor up to 40 years.It has limited design and color options which limit its application.

How to tell your floor is vinyl or linoleum

You can determine whether your floor is made of vinyl or linoleum by simply looking at the color patterns. Flooring boards with an embossed color pattern that disappears whenever the top surface wears out is most definitely vinyl flooring. Meanwhile, an embedded color pattern that runs through the thickness of the flooring planks is indicative of linoleum. This embedded pattern isn’t usually affected by gradual wear- as is the case in vinyl flooring.

Which one is better?

The better choice between vinyl and linoleum flooring depends on the homeowner’s personal preferences. For instance, if you’re in the market for a long-lasting flooring option that’s heat resistant and eco-friendly, you’re better off purchasing linoleum floor sheets/tiles.

On the other hand- if you prefer flooring alternatives that are easy maintenance, allow for multiple design options, and are pocket-friendly- we’d recommend investing in vinyl floor planks. All in all, there’s no better option between these two flooring materials-as long as you know what you want.

Which is better vinyl or linoleum flooring

To be truthful, both are uniquely resilient, and durable flooring with their own advantages and disadvantage. The better flooring there depends on your unique need you looking for. If you like natural and greener options go for linoleum. If you require easy to clean, affordable, and maintain flooring, look for vinyl flooring.

Vinyl or linoleum for bathroom

Vinyl is a better flooring option for the bathroom, laundry, and basement than linoleum. It’s able to handle water moisture better than linoleum, in fact, its both water-resistant and waterproof.

Linoleum Vs Vinyl how to tell

The best way would look at them side by side. Vinyl has an embossed pattern n the top layer and tends to wear over time for linoleum its patterns go deep through the material and don’t disappear with time. You can also tell the difference by looking at the color vibrancy. Vinyl will look vibrant since it’s made from synthetic materials. Linoleum tends to have natural earthy pigments picked from natural ingredients.

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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