Linoleum flooring: is vinyl a better option?

Linoleum flooring and vinyl are often mistaken for each other, but there are actually a number of key differences between them, which can be important when considering options for your commercial flooring solution.

What is linoleum flooring?

Developed in the 1850s by Frederick Walton, linoleum flooring is made from natural ingredients like linseed oil, pine rosin and cork dust, with a burlap or canvas backing.

What is vinyl flooring?

Vinyl flooring is a more current solution compared to linoleum and is often seen as its successor in modern flooring. It is a widely produced synthetic plastic polymer, sometimes made from a few layers of different synthetic materials. Vinyl flooring is widely used in commercial and industrial environments.

Look and feel

Both vinyl and linoleum flooring are available in a variety of styles. The latter is suitable for creating large patterns or blocks of solid color, but does not have as many variations as vinyl flooring.

With vinyl, options are far less limited. Using modern printing technologies alongside a number of other techniques, vinyl flooring can be made in almost any style. Rolls of vinyl as well as LVTs (luxury vinyl tiles) can even mimic the appearance of natural materials like wood and stone.

Vinyl flooring is notably softer underfoot compared to linoleum. Altro Serenade contains a cushioned layer, which provides high levels of underfoot comfort while helping with impact sound reduction.

Durability and maintenance

If you’re looking for a hard-wearing flooring solution for commercial use, both linoleum and vinyl are well-suited. However, Altro vinyl flooring offers more durability and greater water resistance compared to a linoleum floor. This is partly due to linoleum’s natural construction, as the materials are more susceptible to wear and tear when compared to vinyl.

Vinyl flooring is also impermeable, making it ideal for use in wet rooms and areas that are subject to constant moisture. Linoleum is far less suitable for this purpose, as the seams will require resealing periodically to prevent water damage. For these environments, we would recommend Altro Aquarius.


When searching for flooring options that are suitable for environments with a high slip risk, vinyl far exceeds linoleum.

As the inventors of safety flooring, we subject our flooring to rigorous testing to ensure it is compliant with the requirements of multiple industries. We engineer Altro vinyl safety flooring to be incredibly slip-resistant, making it an ideal choice for a number of commercial environments, from wet rooms to hospitals, and from offices to commercial kitchens. For lower slip risk environments, Altro also has a number of smooth flooring products.


Both vinyl and linoleum flooring are relatively easy to install, although vinyl flooring offers a wider variety of installation options.

Usually, linoleum is manufactured in the form of sheets, which require full-spread adhesive and can be stiff - making it potentially difficult to work with. It also needs immediate sealing after installation, or it will not be as durable.

Vinyl flooring is also available in sheet form, however, it is less stiff than linoleum, making it easier to install. Vinyl flooring is also available in LVT form. Because it’s easier to install, vinyl is also better suited to confined spaces, and is often favored by professionals. We can also offer adhesive-free products, which provide a whole range of benefits, from reduced downtime to 100% recyclability.

Linoleum vs vinyl: Conclusion

While linoleum flooring is a suitable option for many situations, you will often need to adhere to strict safety standards when choosing your industrial and commercial flooring solution. Altro vinyl flooring products offer a durable and safe solution, which can be tailored to your specific needs.