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Renovation & DIY Tips

The Differences Between Linoleum and Vinyl

Vinyl Flooring Or Linoleum

Elastic floor coverings are extremely versatile and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. If we talk to someone about flooring, we are likely to hear terms such as PVC, vinyl, or linoleum floors being thrown around - often synonymously. This is also the case with PVC and vinyl. However, things are different with the linoleum, which uses entirely different raw materials for its production. Where do the differences lie exactly and when should you use which material? That is what we are going to answer in today’s blog post!

Linoleum - Durable flooring made of natural raw materials - these characteristics are typical of linoleum

It is hard to believe, but linoleum was invented over 150 years ago. Due to its enormously high resistance, you can still find it in modern production facilities or in the contract sector. The smooth and elastic floor covering, which one could lay, for example, in sports halls, consists of up to 98% natural materials. Composed of materials such as linseed oil, natural resins, wood and limestone flour and jute, which is often used to provide a flexible back, linoleum is a highly eco-friendly flooring. Forbo, one of the most important linoleum producers in the industry, even advertises CO² neutral production for some products. Thus, the traditional flooring fits perfectly with our current ideas of a sustainable and environmentally friendly manufactured product. If you stick to the example of Forbo, then linoleum is free of PVC, plasticizers and synthetic rubber.

Linoleum flooring

Vinyl Flooring

However, the main advantages of linoleum do not limit themselves to the ecological aspect. Due to its fairly smooth and durable surface, it is not only wear-resistant but, above all, easy-care. In addition, they are often bacteriostatic and are therefore very popular among people with allergies or when a bacteria-free environment is required. Furthermore, it offers all the benefits of today's flooring, is warm and comfortable, often soundproof, protects the corridor, is antistatic, can be combined with underfloor heating on a hot water basis and is also a flame retardant.

Application areas – When to resort to linoleum?

Linoleum characterises itself by having a wide range of applications, but it cannot be used everywhere! In principle, however, the use options range from private homes, through the contract sector, such as in offices or sales rooms, to industry. The aforementioned properties also make it one of the most popular floors in hospitals. Undoubtedly, the moist cleaning option is an advantage here, with which it is possible to clean the floor in no time at all. However, what you should seldom do is to lay linoleum in the bathroom. Although this is possible with the correct installation, we do not recommend it, because the dense material does not allow water to dissipate. If the ground has gaps at the edges, water can penetrate it. The same applies to the kitchen. In that case, you should resort to vinyl flooring.

Vinyl flooring – The choice for high humidity situations

Vinyl flooring is similar to linoleum in terms of shape and application. Its original name is PVC flooring.  PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride and processes as a soft variant in elastic floors. Therefore, the alternative term vinyl floor, which got into circulation only sometime later, came as a result. Due to the plasticizers used to make the PVC malleable and elastic, PVC became discredited. At that time, the plasticizers evaporated or caused toxic gases in connection with fires. Today, however, we use other plasticizers. Harmful plasticizers, such as phthalate, are banned nowadays, and EU directives ensure that harmful floor coverings are no longer commercially available.

Practical properties of PVC and vinyl make it a popular alternative

Vinyl fits almost everywhere, just like linoleum. It also has very high durability, which is why it is often used in the residential and commercial sector. Depending on the product, however, PVC is sometimes susceptible to scratching. So-called solid vinyl can even be used in damp rooms and is also popular in hospitals. Highly resistant to acids and alkalis, solid PVC is also suitable for laboratories or industry. Due to its elasticity, the thin material makes for a pleasant walking experience, even if the sound insulation is rather lacking. Due to a much larger market of PVC flooring, vinyl, sometimes also called design flooring, impresses with its unique and virtually unlimited design and décor selection.

Manufacturer of PVC & Linoleum – Who produces the best flooring?

The three largest and highest quality manufacturers of linoleum today are Tarkett, Gerflor, and Forbo. They all stand for eco-friendly production while offering numerous special solutions in the field of acoustics and safety, to top that off! There are also many varied designs that will help you to enhance your premises, no matter if you want chic wood or a stone look. However, since PVC and linoleum do not differ so much in their application, these manufacturers have not only specialized in linoleum but also use their expertise to produce numerous vinyl and design coverings.

Discover a great selection of suitable floors for your construction projects now at BRICOFLOR!

The market for resilient floor coverings is growing steadily. Of course, you will be able to find a large selection of high-quality products at BRICOFLOR. Whether you ultimately choose PVC or perhaps linoleum depends mainly on your own preferences. Linoleum is especially popular due to its sustainable production and utilization, which comes at a higher price. In humid rooms, you should resort to PVC, as linoleum performs poorly in these conditions. In addition, we recommend that you inspect the relevant datasheets for each product. By doing this, you will find out if the profile is ideal for your project!

Thank you and see you next time,

Your BRICOFLOR team