Vinyl and linoleum floor tiles are both resilient flooring options that have been available for about the same length of time. For this reason, many people get the two materials confused, thinking that they are interchangeable. Vinyl and linoleum are two completely different products, however, with different looks and characteristics. Learn the differences between them so that you can choose the right one for your home.
Vinyl is a man-made product comprised of chips of polyvinyl chloride or PVC – yes the same material that makes the plastic plumbing pipes that run through your home. The chips are fused together in varying thicknesses using a high degree of heat and pressure.
Vinyl tiles are the same color all the way through the product, which is helpful if they scratch or get nicked, but they cannot be repaired once they get damaged.
Most vinyl tiles are installed with adhesive below them, although some brands are available as floating floors. The adhesive that sticks down a vinyl tile tends to grow stronger over time, which can make these tiles very hard to get back up again.
Some modern forms of vinyl tiles are made to look like stone and other materials, and many can even be grouted to give them a more contemporary look.
Linoleum is largely made of natural materials including linseed oil, pine rosin, cork dust, wood flour, and minerals such as calcium on a natural backing of canvas, burlap, or jute. Like vinyl, the color goes all the way through the product. Unlike vinyl, if a linoleum tile gets a cut or gouge, you can fix this by sanding down a loose tile and mixing the loose particles with wood glue to fill the hole.
Linoleum tiles are also usually installed with an adhesive that grows stronger over time, making them hard to get back up.
Unlike vinyl, however, linoleum does not discolor over time, and while it may have a strong linseed odor soon after installation, this does not last long.
Both types of tile are long lasting, durable resilient flooring materials that are also fairly inexpensive. Both have been making a comeback of late, so take a second look at them both for flooring in your home.