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Linoleum vs. Vinyl Flooring

August 23, 2013 2:24 pm    Posted by Kim Lefever    Comments (2)

In Customer Service, we often get the question, “Are vinyl and linoleum the same thing?” The answer is no. While linoleum is often used as a synonym for vinyl sheet, it’s more accurate to say that they’re both resilient floors – meaning they can restore their shape. Their only similarity is that linoleum and vinyl both come in sheet goods (on a roll rather than tiles).

Choosing Between Linoleum and Vinyl
I’m in the planning stages of my kitchen renovation, and I’ve considered all of the floors Armstrong makes. Right now, I’ve narrowed it down to linoleum and vinyl sheet. Vinyl sheet offers amazing visuals and the easiest maintenance. So why is linoleum on my short list? All the colorful options! While vinyl floors come in a wide range of colors, linoleum takes advantage of the entire spectrum of color. See the options here.

Both linoleum and vinyl are easy to clean, but linoleum will require a little more care. The cleaning products you use will be different too. Linoleum is more sensitive to cleaners and strippers that are high in pH, so always look for neutral detergents like Armstrong’s recommended linoleum cleaners. For vinyl sheet, we recommend no-rinse Armstrong Once ‘n Done Resilient & Ceramic Tile Cleaner.

Manufacturing Ingredients
Few people know that linoleum was discovered by accident back in 1861 when linseed oil oxidized into a skin from a can of paint. This leads me to one of the biggest differences between vinyl and linoleum. Linoleum is made from natural components like linseed oil, tree resin, wood and cork flours, limestone, and pigments. It even comes with a jute backing. Its ingredients provide it with that unique scent, evoking memories of schools and kitchens of yore.

Vinyl is manufactured using vinyl, felt, fiberglass and dyes. All of Armstrong’s vinyl sheet floors carry the FloorScore Certification seal. This certification means that they meet low emission levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for safer indoor air quality.

The Linoleum “Bloom”
When shopping for linoleum, be aware of linoleum’s “bloom”. The bloom is a yellowish cast to the floor that is a temporary by-product of the manufacturing process. To find out if the floor you choose is right for your home, take a sample home from the retailer or home center and expose it to sunlight to see the true color of the floor. Keep in mind, your linoleum flooring may arrive with the same “bloom” as the sample. But over time, this bloom will disappear with exposure to a light source.

Back to my kitchen floor, while vinyl is still a possibility, I’m leaning towards linoleum because I’m excited about bringing home a floor that will add a lot of color to my kitchen.

This post was written by Rebecca Fisher. Rebecca is a Commercial Techline Representative She has been with the company since January 2010, and has also worked as a Customer Relations Technical Services Representative. She loves to research information for her customers. Away from work, Rebecca enjoys spending time with her family and pets.