Vinyl & Linoleum Flooring Information and Buying Guide

buying-guideVinyl and linoleum flooring are very popular types of home flooring because they are cost-effective, attractive and come in a an unlimited number of colors, patterns and styles to suit almost every house. These affordable flooring options are easy to care for, and they stand up to water very well.

One of the most appealing characteristics of vinyl is that it can be formed to imitate wood flooring, tile flooring, natural stone flooring and virtually anything else. Secondly, it costs much less than those other products. It’s a wonderful choice for homes with small children because it stands up well to spills and toys, and it is softer than wood, stone or tile.

This guide to linoleum and vinyl flooring  was written to give you detailed information you can use to decide if vinyl flooring or linoleum flooring is the right choice for your home. In addition to this buying guide, we have detailed guides to linoleum & vinyl floor prices, installation of vinyl and linoleum, as well as maintenance and care for after its installed.

Wear and Durability

You’ll get 8-20 years from these flooring choices depending on the quality of the material and where it is installed. For best results, keep the flooring clean. Grit on it acts like sandpaper as it is walked upon, so sweep and mop regularly.  Placing mats at each entry door for foot-wiping is a good idea. Clean the mats frequently, as well as under the mats, to keep them from becoming abrasive to the floor.

Materials, Lengths and Patterns

Most vinyl flooring is PVC plastic flooring. The base layer is often fiberglass or felt for strength, followed by an inner core layer of PVC and an outer layer of PVC that forms the decorative layer. The process of applying the print to the top layer of plastic is called rotogravure in which photoengraved plates and rotary press are used.

Linoleum was first made from linseed oil, wood flour or cork dust and canvas as early as the late 1800s. It lost popularity in the 1960s but is now back and better than ever. Linoleum flooring is appealing for many of the same reasons vinyl flooring is, and is often chosen by conscientious homeowners who want an ecofriendly product. Linoleum flooring Is waxed to maintain its appearance; vinyl flooring is a no-wax flooring

As noted, one of the key reasons vinyl flooring is so popular is the incredible number of styles and patterns available. There are fewer linoleum patterns, but still enough that make it worth considering, especially if you want a green flooring product for your home.

Vinyl is typically made in 12’ rolls, but you will find it from 6’ to 12’ depending on where it is to be installed. Vinyl planks and vinyl tiles are also available. Tiles range in size from 12” to 18” square.

Interested in luxury vinyl plank flooring? Check out the pros and cons.

Leading Brands and Current Trends

There are dozens of good vinyl flooring and linoleum flooring brands. The leaders in the industry include Armstrong, Congoleum, Konecto, Karndean, Mannington, Stainmaster, Flexitec, Tarkett, Shaw, Endurance and NAFCO.

The return to linoleum is a trend in itself. It is a very green building material, so is getting attention from homeowners, designers and builders who are concerned about reducing their home’s impact on the environment.

In terms of pattern, the look of hand scraped wood is very popular. The look harkens back to an age when all wood flooring planks were cut and shaped by hand. In keeping with this trend, patterns simulating wider planks – another characteristic or flooring from the 18th and 19th centuries – are being chosen by more homeowners than ever.

In a different vein, pastel colors in flooring are gaining attention and starting to show up in more patterns.

Vinyl & Linoleum Flooring FAQs

Q: Is vinyl flooring installation a DIY project?
A: It certainly can be, though it has its challenges. Installing vinyl tiles is easier than installing sheet vinyl flooring.  If you have solid skills, you can give it a try yourself. See our Installation of Vinyl & Linoleum Flooring Guide for the details. If you want to ensure the best look, hire home flooring pros to do the job. Vinyl and linoleum flooring costs less to install than most other flooring types. It may be worth getting several estimates in order to compare costs and decide whether installing it yourself is worth your time and effort.

Q: Is vinyl flooring green?
A: It’s not as environmentally-friendly as linoleum, but it does use byproduct of oil production, and the process of making the flooring is fairly energy-efficient. Linoleum is still made essentially the same way it was manufactured more than 100 years ago.

Q: How much does linoleum and vinyl flooring cost?
A: You’ll find complete information in the Vinyl & Linoleum Flooring Price Guide, but you can expect to pay $2-$6 per square foot.

Q: What is the most durable vinyl flooring?
A: Look for products with an enhanced urethane coating on the top layer.

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