Linoleum and vinyl flooring share a number of characteristics. They look similar and are both resilient flooring. Because of the similarities between the two products, it’s easy to see why consumers get confused. Oftentimes, people often think that linoleum and vinyl flooring sheets are the same thing.

While linoleum is often used as a synonym for vinyl sheet, these are two entirely different materials. In fact, they exhibit some very different characteristics. The following guidelines will help you distinguish between the flooring materials.


Linoleum is made from natural components, which includes limestone, wood and cork floors, tree resin, and linseed oil. Vinyl flooring, on the other hand, is manufactured using man-made materials like petroleum.


Since linoleum is composed of natural, renewable products and is biodegradable, there is no risk of inhaling the toxic fumes that are often associated with vinyl flooring. This is a great choice for environmentally conscious homeowners.
Vinyl flooring is made from non-renewable resources, but many companies today use environmentally safer finishes and materials to significantly reduce VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) that may be released in a living space.

Water resistance

Because there are no biological nutrients in vinyl flooring, it is completely waterproof. It cannot be harmed when exposed or even immersed in water for an extended period of time.
Linoleum flooring is water-resistant, but not water-proof. It can be damaged when immersed in water for long periods. That said, you should think twice about installing linoleum in the basement or bathroom.


Vinyl flooring is considered as one of the easiest types of material to clean. It is extremely low maintenance. Regular vacuuming and sweeping is all that’s needed to maintain its appearance. Since it is waterproof, you no longer have to worry about it being affected by moisture.
Linoleum floors are easy to clean, but they require some maintenance. They tend to weather away and will show its age over time. Manufacturers recommend polishing or waxing linoleum floors in order to protect its surface.