When it comes to resilient flooring materials, there are no better options than linoleum or vinyl. For many people, when they hear these words images of cheap, cracking flooring that covered your grandma’s kitchen come to mind. These products have come a long way in terms of style in recent years, and they’re no longer stuck in the 1970’s.


Linoleum and vinyl are materials that are often used interchangeably or confused for one another, but they’re quite different. Here are all of the differences between the two.


Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum is an older product than people realize, first patented over 150 years ago. It was discovered by accident by English inventory Frederick Walton. Walton observed a sold but flexible film that formed on top of linseed-oil-based paint. After experimenting on it, he discovered it was the perfect material to cover floors and walls.


Many people are surprised to hear that linoleum is actually all natural and biodegradable. This makes it a great eco-friendly option for green custom homes. It’s also inexpensive, another bonus! It’s highly resistant to scratches and moisture, which is why it’s so commonly used in laundry rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens.


Linoleum must be installed over a smooth, level, and clean surface. Any imperfections will cause bumps. It’s not the easiest DIY materials, so we often recommend getting it professionally installed. It’s not as flexible as vinyl nor are there as many color options. However, it’s very easy to care for!


Pros: Inexpensive, resilient, moisture and scratch resistant, eco-friendly

Cons: Not DIY friendly, limited color and style choices, isn’t as popular these days


Vinyl Flooring

Amazingly, vinyl was also discovered by accident in the late 1920’s. Waldo Semon created it while attempting to develop a glue to bond rubber to metal. It became extremely popular in the 1960’s and 1970’s due to its easy maintenance.


Although the two materials are often confused for one another, they’re very different in terms of composition. Vinyl is a synthetic product made using chemicals and PVC resin. It’s more flexible than linoleum and comes in more styles and colors.


Although vinyl is cheaper than other flooring options, there are higher-end options too. Luxury vinyl planking and (LVP) and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) have become popular choices in homes these days, even custom homes. Vinyl is inexpensive, easy to care for, durable, water resistant, and these days look very nice. It’s easy to DIY install it too if you’re interested in that.


Pros: Multiple styles and colors, inexpensive, durable, water resistant

Cons: Seems cheap to some people, synthetically made