Vinyl and linoleum—they are like margarine and butter. Two names that are interchangeably used, but entirely different from each other. Both are resilient flooring products, but each material has its own merits and drawbacks. To make a better decision as to which flooring material stands out, you should know exactly what you are really getting. So, if you are confused about whether to pick vinyl or linoleum, then read further. As a Baltimore county Maryland floor company, we put together various categories and compare their characteristics to find out which type of resilient flooring material is best for your home.
Vinyl And Linoleum: What Are Their Differences?
Vinyl flooring was patented during the 1920s. It comes from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which makes it completely synthetic. During the 1960s, it surpassed the popularity of linoleum as a cost-effective flooring option. Due to technological advancements, today’s vinyl products are available in a wide array of finishes, textures, and designs. It can realistically mimic the look of natural stone and hardwood to better complement the style of your home.
There are different types of vinyl flooring products: sheet vinyl, vinyl tiles, and luxury vinyl. Sheet vinyl flooring is made up of thin flexible vinyl sheets joined securely and has a transparent wear layer and printed design. Typically, it is laid down in sheets of 6 or 12 feet wide. On the other hand, vinyl tiles have the same components as sheet vinyl; however, it comes in boxes of square pieces. Normally, it uses tiles of 12”x12” or 9”x9”. The third type of vinyl flooring is luxury vinyl. It has quite different features than vinyl sheets and tiles because it has a semi-rigid, thicker component. Luxury vinyl planks or tiles are typically installed as floating floors, which snap together at the edges and are laid on top of the underlayment without gluing it down.
Linoleum flooring represents the old generation of old flooring. It has been around since the 1800s and most commonly used in hospitals and schools. Linoleum is made up of all-natural materials such as ground stone, linseed oil, and cork or wood powder. Because it is all-natural, it does not emit any harmful toxins or chemicals. While it is true that it became less sought after during the 1950s, the present-day linoleum floors are more innovative due to modern manufacturing technologies. It can now offer a wide variety of colors and styles.
Which Is Better: Vinyl or Linoleum?
The difference between vinyl and linoleum flooring can be identified by its vibrancy. Vinyl flooring appears more vibrant. On the other hand, linoleum flooring has more earthy pigments. And because it has linseed-oil based, linoleum flooring has a yellow tinge. But the question is: which one is better? To find out the answer, let’s narrow things down a little bit.
Category 1: Look And Style
Thanks to technological advancements, vinyl flooring has more comprehensive designs and choices. The selections are limitless as it offers a world of options when it comes to styles, patterns, and textures. Given its large footprint in the flooring market, you can expect to see vinyl designs that will complement any décor inside your home. This provides you a great chance to find a pattern that gives exactly what you want, making it easier to personalize your style. Among these varieties include patterns with stone or marble effects and hand-scraped versions. It can also replicate the appearance and style of other floor coverings such as natural stone, marble, concrete, and wood. For design options and recommendations, you can always ask your Baltimore county Maryland floor company and get a free in-home consultation.
Linoleum flooring offers many potential combinations and design schemes to complement the interior of your home. Unlike laminate or vinyl flooring, linoleum is better at holding patterns and color because the dye is infused through it. There are also designs available that can mimic other flooring options such as natural stones and marbles. In choosing the best pattern or color, you can talk to a Baltimore county Maryland floor company for samples.
While modern-day linoleum flooring is versatile and offers a good variety of patterns and colors, it has limited design options. It is also prone to color changes, which is normally referred to as yellowing of the material.
Best Looking Material: Vinyl Flooring
Category 2: Price
When it comes to cost comparison, vinyl and linoleum are relatively head-to-head. Vinyl flooring installation is quite inexpensive. The costs of vinyl flooring installation and materials are averaging between $3.50 and $15 per square foot. This price typically varies depending on the quality and type. For example, sheet vinyl is the most affordable vinyl type with an average price of $2 to $2.50 per square foot. On the other hand, commercial-grade vinyl is the most expensive option with a cost between $3.50 and $5 per square foot. To determine the budget you need to allocate, we advise consulting your Baltimore county Maryland floor company and schedule a free estimate.
Linoleum flooring has comparative pricing to vinyl flooring. The average cost of linoleum is ranging from $2 to $3.50 per square foot, not including installation. Commercial grade linoleum flooring, however, is slightly higher with a cost ranging from $3.50 to $5 per square foot. What makes it more expensive than vinyl is the maintenance cost. It normally requires extra maintenance cost in the long run.
Best For Price: Vinyl Flooring
Category 3: Durability And Maintenance
Vinyl flooring has a durable protective wear layer, so it does not need a lot of pampering or extra caution to avoid any wear or damages. It is exceptionally tough and can stand up so well in normal wear and tear for a long time. Some manufacturers offer a 15-year warranty against any damage or premature wear. But with regular maintenance, vinyl flooring can last for 20 years or even more. Since this flooring material has a tough wear layer, sealing or waxing is no longer necessary. This makes maintenance a lot easier if you have vinyl floors at home.
Although most manufacturers offer up to 25 years warranty, linoleum flooring can even extend its lifespan for about 40 years. Created from all-natural materials, this flooring material is extremely durable, making it a perfect choice for high foot traffic areas such as the hallway, living room, or family room. However, linoleum is prone to moisture damage. Unlike vinyl flooring, it needs periodic sealing to maintain its look and functionality.
Most Durable: Linoleum Flooring
Least Maintenance Requirements: Vinyl Flooring
Category 4: Installation
Both vinyl and linoleum flooring need a flat and smooth underlayment since both products are thin and flexible. However, when it comes to ease of installation, vinyl flooring is less labor-intensive. It is much easier to install vinyl sheets or tiles over a subfloor without any improvements or modifications, provided that the subfloor is level and intact. It is important to level and smooth the subfloor or underlayment first, so it won’t compromise the floor structure and stability. If you will be installing vinyl flooring yourself, make sure to take an accurate measurement. Keep in mind that the rows and patterns are symmetrical within the room, then create a precise cut to exactly fit the space. If you need to trim any planks to fit the space, do so using a utility knife. Once done, remove the backing, then lay the planks or tiles.
Vinyl tiles or sheets can either be glued down using an adhesive or installed with a pre-applied adhesive when you remove a peel-off backing. However, luxury vinyl flooring is much easier to install. It has a click-and-lock system that allows homeowners to lay each vinyl piece together like a puzzle, creating a floating floor. However, if a DIY project is not your cup of tea, leave the job to your Baltimore county Maryland floor company.
Installation of linoleum flooring is almost similar to vinyl flooring, but linoleum sheet or roll is much tougher to install. It needs a lot of skill and experience to install linoleum because it requires precision cutting and knowledge about the adhesive application. To perfectly install this type of flooring, you must have a steady hand to cut the sheets and spread adhesive. This makes linoleum flooring a bad choice for DIYers. With this, you may want to hire a Baltimore county Maryland floor company to make sure that the installation is handled professionally.
Easiest To Install: Vinyl Flooring
Category 5: Lifespan
Although vinyl flooring is durable and can withstand normal wear and tear over time, it has a shorter lifespan than linoleum. Even with proper maintenance, this floor covering will last for about 10 to 15 years. Vinyl’s shorter lifespan has something to do with its structure. For instance, the spongy feel of the vinyl floor makes it more susceptible to cuts and gouges from sharp objects or heavy furniture. Vinyl flooring is more vulnerable to surface damages. Also, while it is true that vinyl flooring has a protective wear layer, it is still prone to discoloration, especially if it is in contact with rubber. In most cases, a low-quality vinyl floor product turns yellow over time. To remedy the situation, you can replace the damaged area with a patch or replace the entire floor. You may also consider using furniture pads underneath heavy furniture to prevent any surface damage.
Linoleum has been around for generations and is expected to stay functional for decades. When maintained properly, it normally lasts for 20 to 40 years, although it often comes with a warranty for 25 years. The lifespan of linoleum is relatively longer than vinyl flooring, and almost at par with tile and hardwood. However, linoleum may turn yellowish or darken when exposed to sunlight for a long period of time. This is called ambering, which indicates that the flooring material is showing its age by yellowing. To prevent ambering, you can opt for a factory-applied protective coating. Make sure to ask your Baltimore county Maryland floor company about it, so you can get better recommendations.
Longest Lifespan: Linoleum Flooring
Category 6: Cleaning and Repair
Vinyl flooring is reasonably easy to care for. It has fewer maintenance requirements as you only need to make sure that the surface is free from all the dirt and grit. Regular sweeping or mopping is all you must do to maintain its look. You can also use an approved vinyl cleaning product to keep it in great shape. However, vinyl flooring is quite challenging to repair. If your vinyl floor is damaged severely with a scratch or stain, the intervention is to either remove the affected area and replace it with a patch or replace the entire floor. If you can’t do it yourself, you can hire a Baltimore county Maryland floor company or contractor to do the job.
Like vinyl flooring, linoleum has minimal maintenance requirements, especially when sealed properly. While its protective top layer can ward off dirt and scuffs, it still needs regular cleaning and maintenance. You can clean the surface floor using mild, non-ammonia-based cleaning products. Regular sweeping or vacuuming removes any abrasive dirt that may damage the floor. If you see stains on the linoleum, you can hand-clean the floor using a rag and mild detergent solution. You may also ask a Baltimore county Maryland floor company regarding the best product to clean your linoleum flooring.
While linoleum is durable and quite easy to clean, it is very prone to damages. Because it is soft, it can get torn or dented by sharp objects, furniture legs, high heels, or any abrasive materials.
Best for Cleaning and Repair: Both
Category 7: Water Resistance
Present-day vinyl flooring is typically waterproof, making it a perfect choice for moisture-prone areas such as the basement, bathroom, and kitchen. Some vinyl has fiberglass backing, which is completely immune to mold and water damage.
While linoleum flooring is also water-resistant, it doesn’t stand up so well to moisture damage. You need to seal it periodically for added protection. If exposed to water for so long, like in the case of flooding, linoleum flooring will be damaged.
Best For Water Resistance: Vinyl Flooring
Category 8: Resale Value
Since it is one of the most budget-friendly flooring options in the market today, the value of vinyl flooring is frequently disregarded by potential home buyers. Most vinyl floor types such as vinyl tiles or sheets do not contribute to your home’s real estate value. However, luxury vinyl tile can be an exception. With luxury vinyl, it may create a great enhancement to your home’s interior, adding an increased value to your property.
Similar to vinyl flooring, linoleum doesn’t provide much impact to increase the resale value of your property. This hurts your chances of selling your home in the future. However, because linoleum flooring is eco-friendly, this feature can be viewed as a selling point for prospective homebuyers who prefer environmentally friendly flooring material.
Best For Resale Value: Both
Category 9: Environmental Impact
Vinyl floor, particularly older vinyl product, contains asbestos. It is also a byproduct of petrochemicals that emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds may cause health hazards to humans and can contribute to indoor air pollution. This is the main reason why the vinyl flooring industry is striving to create regulations and protocols to minimize the number of VOCs in vinyl. Industry certification such as FloorScore regulates the VOC content of flooring materials such as vinyl.
Linoleum flooring comes from a renewable source, so it doesn’t take up space in landfills. It is non-toxic and will decompose when disposed of, making it safe for humans and the environment. Because it has all-natural components, linoleum does not emit any harmful chemicals that can be detrimental to human health. Plus, it won’t contribute to any indoor air pollution.
Most Eco-Friendly: Linoleum Flooring
It’s Time To Talk To Baltimore County Maryland Floor Company Today!
If you think that the comparison of vinyl and linoleum flooring is helpful to you, there are a lot of interesting blogs here. In your quest to find the right flooring material for your home, it is always best to consult an expert in the flooring industry. Carpet Ready, a Baltimore county Maryland floor company, would love to partner with you on your next flooring makeover. Call us to schedule a free in-home consultation today!