Linoleum and vinyl appeal to many homeowners partly because they are springier and absorb impact better than other flooring. Color, pattern, cost, and ease of care also affect consumer decisions. Linoleum and vinyl products offer faux wood and tile looks that are much less expensive per square foot than the real materials. But some property owners want creative color block designs ranging from stripes and chevrons to crazy quilts.
But what is the difference between linoleum and vinyl products? Although some people accidentally use the terms interchangeably, there are significant distinctions. These include materials, eco-friendliness, maintenance, and cost. The experts at Floor Coverings International Libertyville share the differences between linoleum and vinyl so that you can make an informed decision when deciding on the perfect new flooring for your home!
Some questions surround the date that rubbery, linoleum-type flooring first gained a patent. However, most sources cite Englishman Frederick Walton as the inventor. In the mid-1800s, he was experimenting with materials to create a waterproof varnish when he discovered the rubbery quality of hardened linseed oil.
To make the substance less sticky, he mixed it with wood and cork dust, basic materials still used in linoleum today. By in the late 1800s as production spread to the U.S., it was being used for flooring and wall coverings. Walton coined linoleum from the Latin words linum (flax, from which linseed is derived) and oleum (oil). Today, the product’s basic ingredients are the same except for the addition of tree resins.
Vinyl is made from petroleum products including polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Vinyl flooring emerged at Chicago’s Century of Progress Exposition in 1933. It was the result of decades of experimentation with materials such as rubber and asphalt, both of which produced flooring in limited styles and patterns.
The popularity of linoleum began declining more than 25 years ago as less expensive vinyl flooring became more dominant. However, due to current interests in green construction, linoleum is reentering the market as an all-natural alternative to vinyl, which is based on non-renewable resources.
One major advantage of vinyl flooring is that it is nearly impervious to water. So moisture seldom damages it either from above or below. It’s also easy to clean with a quick mopping.
In contrast, linoleum is water resistant but not impervious. Damage particularly can occur between the seams of linoleum floor tiles. Although waxing is no longer standard practice, linoleum can be protected from water and chemical damage by periodically sealing it with polishes formulated for the material. Basic maintenance involves sweeping, vacuuming, and light mopping with water.
Invention is ongoing. Product researchers continue to improve existing flooring and seek new materials. And consumer taste will keep on changing and circling back to old favorites, especially ones that are modified for environmental sustainability. If you’re ready to install vinyl, linoleum, or any other flooring type in your home, give the experts at Floor Coverings International Libertyville a call! We proudly serve the greater Libertyville, Gurnee, Mundelein areas. Schedule your free in-home consultation today.
Photo Credit: Vagnergamba