The task of trying to decide on a flooring can be overwhelming and exhausting. There are so many options between tile, wood, linoleum, vinyl, and carpeting.  But for potentially wet areas like your kitchen or bathroom linoleum and vinyl can be a great inexpensive choices. You might have heard these two terms used interchangeably or thought they were the same. However, there is actually a difference in the materials. Both of these floorings are categorized as resilient because a heavy object dropped on them it won’t permanently dent them. So what’s the difference between these floorings? 


Linoleum is mostly used for commercial applications and was patented over 150 ago. Did you know that it is all natural and biodegradable? This is because it is made from linseed oil, pine rosin, limestone, cork flour, wood flour, jute, and color pigments. This allows for homeowners to use a green material without paying a fortune.  Linoleum gets installed over a clean, smooth, level surface. It is then cut with a utility knife, and secured with an adhesive. The downside to linoleum is that there aren’t as many color options as vinyl but on the other side it is relatively easy to care for. 


Vinyl was discovered by accident when an inventor was trying to develop a glue for bonding rubber to metal. Vinyl is a synthetic product containing toxic chemicals and is flexible unlike linoleum. However, it does offer the homeowner a wide range of patterns and colors while for the most part being inexpensive. It has a realatively simple installation process. It is important to remember that since vinyl’s patterns and colors are printed on the material it can get scratched easily and deep scratches will show. For a homeowner who wants a floor with relatively no maintenance vinyl is perfect. 


Two companies now sell the majority of the linoleum here in the US—Forbo Marmoleum and Armstrong Marmorette. It comes in sheets or tile form, in a wide variety of colors that can look just as great in a Craftsman-style home as a super modern one. One of the great things about sheet linoleum is that you can have it hand-cut in any design you like.