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  1. #1
    Peter louis's Avatar
    Peter louis Guest

    Default linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Hi, guys, I am new in this industry. I tried to find linoleum floor in local store. I have not found any. Can anybody tell me how to tell the difference between this 2?
    Thanks a lot

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  2. #2
    Byron Brubaker's Avatar
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    Wink Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Linoleum color is usually same on bottom or all throughout, vinyl just on top. Vinyl will melt with a hot match, linoleum won't.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  4. #4
    Peter louis's Avatar
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Thank you guys. But how can we tell during the inspection? We can not remove or rip the flooring. we can only watch the surface.


  5. #5

    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Linoleum has not been generally used in flooring for many many years. You would have to go back to the 1950s to find it commonly used in residential settings. Most flooring is some sort of vinyl composite material and not linoleum.

    Jeff Zehnder - Home Inspector, Raleigh, NC
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    I would not bother trying to identify the difference, simply refer to the flooring as "sheet goods" flooring, which is what both are (both come in sheets which are then laid down in sheets).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Zehnder View Post
    Linoleum has not been generally used in flooring for many many years. You would have to go back to the 1950s to find it commonly used in residential settings. Most flooring is some sort of vinyl composite material and not linoleum.
    That is frankly untrue. Linoleum tile and sheet goods have continued to be and are still commonly used today in residential. Those with certain allergies, and green building designers actually seek it out. Armstrong and other Linoleum sheet and tile manufacturers would be quick to dispute your statements.

    Where you are less likely to find linoleum since the "formica" and similar products were developed, is applied on countertops and food preparation surfaces.

    Linoleum and similar products have increasingly taken a jump in use with asbestos concerns of homeowners related to the mastic and vinyl tiles which still sold TODAY are allowed to contain asbestos, and with greener "more healthy" and sustainable building materials and cleaning products.

    As mentioned the color, pattern, and depth are through and through, unlike printed coverings. It is akin to the difference between pergo and an engineered wood floor or solid wood plank flooring for durability, sustainability, beauty, ease of maintenance, repair, hygenic properties, etc.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 06-10-2010 at 09:46 AM.

  8. #8
    Philip's Avatar
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    That is frankly untrue. Linoleum tile and sheet goods have continued to be and are still used today in residential. Where you are less likely to find linoleum since the "formica" and similar products were developed, is applied on countertops and food preparation surfaces.

    Linoleum and similar products took a jump with asbestos concerns of homeowners related to the mastic and vinyl tiles which still sold TODAY are allowed to contain asbestos, and with greener "more healthy" and sustainable building materials and cleaning products.
    Linoleum with asbestos is still legal today?


  9. #9
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Philip View Post
    Linoleum with asbestos is still legal today?
    Lino with acceptions of certain asbestos paper backed was to my knowledge NOT known to contain asbestos. Vinyl and compo tile and the mastics to apply them, as well as leveling compounds are legally allowed to contain asbestos and are marketed with same even today. The EPA's attempts at regulating bans for such were not successful and overturned.

    Not all that long ago samples of your basic 12x12 vinyl tile (less than $1.50 a tile) were tested and found to be greater than 5% friable with microscope, burn tests produced higher percentages. Nothing prohibits their sale, use, or installation in federal law.


  10. #10
    Byron Brubaker's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter louis View Post
    Thank you guys. But how can we tell during the inspection? We can not remove or rip the flooring. we can only watch the surface.
    If you can make an indentation with your thumbnail it's probably a vinyl material, they're usually softer.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Quote Originally Posted by H.G. Watson, Sr. View Post
    ... are legally allowed to contain asbestos and are marketed with same even today. The EPA's attempts at regulating bans for such were not successful and overturned.

    Many building products today contain asbestos. Asbestos was not "banned" as many think it was or are taught it was.

    Concrete, in many cases, even contains asbestos.

    Ever cut through a concrete slab? Chipped up or broken up a concrete slab? You just made that asbestos friable.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor


  13. #13
    Michael Farha's Avatar
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    The linoleum is usually hard & vinyl is soft to the feel. I always reach down and use my fingernail to test it if sight does not work. Jerry is right about what to write but in Okla. our rules require us to describe the floor. So, some may think that means the type of flooring (carpet, linoleum, vinyl etc.).


  14. #14
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Farha View Post
    So, some may think that means the type of flooring (carpet, linoleum, vinyl etc.).

    Separating "sheet goods" into linoleum and vinyl would be like separating "carpet" into plush or Berber ... you are simply breaking down the category of "sheet goods" down into subsets.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Separating "sheet goods" into linoleum and vinyl would be like separating "carpet" into plush or Berber ... you are simply breaking down the category of "sheet goods" down into subsets.
    True enough, but I like to tell people if the flooring may contain asbestos. The black glue is particularly noxious, AFAIK.
    I installed commercial lino floor tiles in a few bathrooms with that black glue. So the tiles may have been fine, but the glue was loaded with asbestos.

    We always called that cheap sheet flooring "Linoleum" but it could have been vinyl in actuality, because the patterns would wear off. AFAIK, it contains enough asbestos to make it hazardous to remove. I advise people not to try peeling it off. I now tell them I'm not sure if it's vinyl or lino. I warn them not to grind or sand it, stuff like that.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 06-22-2010 at 09:50 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: linoleum vs vinyl floor

    There is also a new type or flooring that's been around for a few years that's called Marmoleum. It's similar to linoleum in texture and durability but is made of all natural materials. It's the new "green flooring". I see it quite often in my area.


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