Aren’t Vinyl and Linoleum the Same?

Vinyl and linoleum are both very resilient flooring materials and can provide you and your family flooring which is attractive, comfortable underfoot, easily cared for, and slip resistant.

They both come in a large variety of colors and patterns, but are manufactured very differently. Vinyl flooring is made from polyvinyl chloride, a type of plastic made from oil. Linoleum is made from natural linseed oil, wood fiber, limestone, resins and some colored pigments, all compressed onto a layer of jute, a natural grass. Let’s look at these flooring choices in more detail.

Vinyl

Today’s unique vinyl manufacturing processes can replicate the look and texture of tile, stone and wood grains, providing you with a beautiful floor at a very reasonable price. Vinyl is manufactured in one of two ways and comes in sheets that are six or 12 feet wide as well as tiles from 12 to 18-inches in size.

Inlaid – This process uses solid colored vinyl chips laid on top of a carrier sheet which are then bonded through the use of heat and pressure. The process is generally used to produce geometric patterns and designs. A clear “wearlayer” is placed on top of the chips for ease of care and maintenance.

Printed, or rotogravure – A pattern is printed on the vinyl’s core layer and then a clear “wearlayer” is applied.

For both the inlaid and printed vinyl flooring, you are walking on the wearlayer, not the patterned layer. This wearlayer is vital to the performance of your vinyl floor. When shopping for vinyl, look for a urethane or enhanced urethane wearlayer. These both hold up best under foot traffic.

Asphalt driveway sealers, Kool-Aid, plant food and marking pens are just some of the items that can really stain a vinyl floor which has a low end wearlayer. Buying a vinyl floor with a better wearlayer will benefit you for many years to come.

Vinyl flooring has the flexibility of being able to be installed over many different surfaces such as plywood sub floors and concrete as well as over existing floors of wood or linoleum. Whatever the surface, it needs to be smooth and free of bumps, seams and raised nail heads.

Linoleum

This flooring has been around for more than a century and has a natural resistance to bacteria which makes it a logical choice for bathrooms, kitchens and children’s rooms. It comes in a wide array of bright and lively colors and is an excellent choice for an active lifestyle. The color goes entirely through the material making it more resistant to noticeable wear. Linoleum can be purchase in rolls which are six to 12 feet wide or in 12-inch square tiles.

Like vinyl, linoleum can also be installed over many different surfaces such as plywood sub floors and concrete as well as over existing floors of wood or old linoleum. Whatever the surface, it needs to be smooth and free of bumps, seams and raised nail heads.

Both vinyl and linoleum are excellent options for flooring in your dream home. They bring an almost endless variety of patterns and colors to the design table while offering you a cost effective option.