Vinyl vs Lino: What’s the difference?

Confusion often arises surrounding the differences between vinyl and lino flooring and a question frequently posed is; “Are vinyl and lino flooring the same product?” The simple and straight forward answer is no – but let’s take a look in more detail to provide a more in-depth explanation:

Difference 1: Material Composition

The primary difference between vinyl and lino flooring is their base material. Vinyl is not a natural substance but is a synthetic man-made revolutionary material.

In the 1920’s, scientists developed a plastic resin called Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) that is now commonly referred to as ‘Vinyl’. This versatile and durable plastic is made up of a combination of ethylene, from natural gas and chlorine, based on common salt, and due to its property make-up, vinyl can be made to be flexible or rigid, clear or colourful, thick or thin, making it a perfect material for flooring.

Pink vinyl flooring in a childrens bedroom

Lino, otherwise known as ‘linoleum’ is a floor covering made from natural materials such as linseed oils, pine resin, ground cork dust, wood flour and mineral fillers. It is naturally anti-bacterial and biodegradable and is a perfect choice for anyone looking for an “eco” floor for their home. Colour pigments are often added to the materials in order to create a particular style of lino and jute is also introduced to give the flooring backer strength and dimensional stability.

Difference 2: Style & Design

In recent years, vinyl has become utilised more and more throughout entire households rather than just being used in kitchens and bathrooms. This is primarily down to the wide variety of styles and designs that are now available. You are able to tailor it much more to your room and it comes available in a wide choice of colours and styles including tiles, plain, wood, stone and mosaic.

Black & white chequered tile vinyl flooring in a kitchen area

Nowadays, lino is much harder to source than vinyl, and generally does not have as many design options when compared to vinyl flooring. Most lino is in plain, block colours rather than patterned or tiled. The colours used in the design of lino, however, go all the way through the material meaning there is typically a longer “wear life” than vinyl, in which the colours and patterns are only stamped on the top surface layer of material.

Lolita mosaic tile effect vinyl flooring in a bathroom

Difference 3: Installation

When comparing the two types of flooring in terms of installation, vinyl is arguably the easiest and more cost effective to install without the real need for professional help. For smaller square shaped rooms in your home, i.e. a home office, the process of vinyl installation is relatively simple, however, when it comes to the larger rooms with more obscure shapes i.e. the kitchen, it can get slightly more difficult for the DIY homeowner as it requires larger sheets that need to be measured and cut precisely. If you are thinking of installing vinyl yourself, make sure you read our vinyl flooring installation guide first.

Man laying flooring

Fitting lino, on the other hand requires a lot of skill and a steady hand. Those without previous experience using this kind of adhesive will find that the task gets very sticky very quickly. Unlike vinyl, the DIY route is usually not an option, which means bringing in a professional fitter and subsequently receiving an installation bill, thus increasing the cost for the lino option.

Difference 4: Maintenance & Repair

The reason why vinyl flooring is such a popular choice for many homeowners is due to its low maintenance up-keep. Whether you opt to sweep, vacuum or mop the flooring in order to keep it sparkling clean, the vinyl flooring will not be affected by moisture, mould or mildew.

Although also relatively straightforward to clean, due to its natural properties, lino flooring becomes more sensitive to cleaning products than vinyl flooring and therefore as a result requires slightly more maintenance and care.

Woman cleaning flooring in rubber gloves

If you’re using detergent and water to clean something that vacuuming won’t pick up, it’s best to use natural detergents. It is important to mention that lino flooring is water-resistant and not waterproof, therefore an acrylic coating should be applied annually to protect it from excessive moisture and to prevent mould accumulating.


Whether you decide to choose either lino flooring or vinyl flooring, there is an abundance of high-quality options for both types. They are both renowned for being types of ‘resilient flooring’ and are great options for homeowners looking to update their home interior.

Get a selection of both vinyl and lino to try out for yourself, order free samples today to make your mind up on which one is best for you.