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How Much Does It Cost To Install Vinyl Or Linoleum Flooring?

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Vinyl and linoleum are common hard-flooring materials that share various similarities. In some cases, they are even thought to be interchangeable terms, and some stores will even list them as such. However, vinyl and linoleum are distinctly different, beginning with the materials used in their production.

Vinyl vs. Linoleum

The primary difference between vinyl and linoleum is the base material. Vinyl is a wholly man-made product that is manufactured with petroleum. Petroleum is not only not a renewable resource, but the energy required to extract it is significant. On the other hand, linoleum is made from a variety of natural and renewable materials. The primary ingredient in linoleum is linseed oil, which is an extraction from flaxseed. The rest of the materials can be comprised of a variety of natural resources such as cork, tree resin and wood flour. Despite these differences, part of the reason the two get confused at home improvement stores is because the costs of the raw materials for both are roughly the same.


Of the two types of flooring, vinyl is probably the easiest to install for a homeowner without professional help. For small areas, the vinyl tiles can easily be laid next to each other and do not require much after care. However, larger areas can get more difficult for the DIY homeowner as it requires larger sheets that need to be measured and cut precisely. Linoleum has a similar application with tiles being easier and sheets taking more precise attention. However, linoleum is extremely susceptible to moisture damage during initial installation. This means it needs to be treated adequately with a surface sealer after installation and before anything heavy is placed on top of it. This is an important element that often requires the expertise of a professional.

Options for Installing Floor Trim

You have three basic options for floor trim installation with your vinyl floor. You can remove and reinstall your current floor trim. This is naturally the cheapest option. You can install new floor trim to maximize the beauty of your new vinyl flooring. Or you can choose to install quarter-round trim, which may last longer than reusing your old trim, but shouldn't cost as much as a new full trim installation. Each homeowner may have different needs and preferences for the area where the flooring is being installed. Talk to a contractor about the price difference for each option and what each trim has to offer your home.

Decorative Trim Installation

The primary reason for installing floor trim is often the function of holding a flooring installation in place, but that doesn't mean decorative trim won't add a nice touch to your floor and walls. Floor trim comes in any number of colors or textures, including a nearly limitless number of wood finishes. Finding the right trim can act as an aesthetic transition from your vinyl flooring to your wall covering. Since you may need to replace the trim anyway, this is the perfect time to consider installing wainscoting. Hardwood floors can be prohibitively expensive for some homeowners. If this is the case, a new vinyl floor with decorative wood paneling can provide a new floor and a similar elegance to hardwood flooring for significantly less cost.


Because vinyl is made with petroleum, which is considered a non-renewable resource, this material is not as eco-friendly as linoleum. There have also been concerns about chemicals released from flooring after installation as well as concerns about the plants that manufacture vinyl. On the other hand, linoleum is biodegradable, made from both natural and renewable resources, and does not have any significant manufacturing concerns. Homeowners should decide if ecological concerns factor into the purchasing decisions of these flooring types.

Water Concerns

Vinyl is completely waterproof and is ideal for installation in areas that have a potential for wetness. This includes kitchens, bathrooms and cellars. It also means that flooring installed on a second level will not get saturated and leak onto the floors below. On the other hand, linoleum is considered water resistant but not waterproof. Flooding can easily ruin a linoleum floor. It is also susceptible to moisture damage and thus needs to be periodically sealed. Humidity is another possible cause of damage and excessive amounts can cause the flooring to curl in places. The potential maintenance and repair costs of these two types of flooring should also be considered.

Aesthetic Concerns

Both vinyl and linoleum come in a wide variety of prints and colors. However, the designs on vinyl are only on the surface layer of the material. Over time, the colors and designs wear down and fade. Linoleum is colorfast, which means that the colors and designs go through multiple layers. This allows the material to wear easily without losing its vibrancy. In terms of cleaning, both flooring types are easy to clean through sweeping, vacuuming or some wet cleaning. The only difference is that vinyl can be mopped and scrubbed at will, but linoleum should never be immersed in water and scrubbing is discouraged as well.

Additional Costs

Vinyl requires a smooth surface for adhesive purposes. Many vinyl floor applications are self-adhesive, but if the installation is to be over an existing floor or another surface that is not smooth, an underlayment will be required. This is usually about one layer of 1/4-inch plywood. The vinyl is installed over that. Underlay or extra adhesive can add costs to vinyl installations.

The extra costs in linoleum usually come from sealant. Linoleum needs to be sealed after installation and will need to be sealed regularly in the years after to protect it from moisture.

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Dorcas Lubega 9 months ago
This information was very helpful, thank you very much for it.  I will keep it in mind as I make my decisions.
james chambers More than 1 year ago
I just trying  to find what would be best for my bedrooms.I don't want carpet. 
Juan Quinones More than 1 year ago
I'm going to buy the linoleum I just want it to be laid down 
Carolyn Metzler More than 1 year ago
Terrific information for humidity filled bathrooms.
mary gaddy More than 1 year ago
I would like to know which one is more durable. Other than that is was very helpful.
Randall Martin More than 1 year ago
Nice, I like this. Very helpful .
Charles Carmody More than 1 year ago
need new outside deck or porch;  need inside carpet removed and replaced with a good looking vinyl flooring.
Charles Carmody More than 1 year ago
to make sure we are on the same page; looking for new outside porch or deck.  want to remove all in side carpet and replace with a good looking vinyl flooring. please try to make a close cost est.
sue shindler More than 1 year ago
Ineed linoleum of some type because the tile didn't stay on and we have dogs that pee on the floor sometimes.
claudia rosario More than 1 year ago
I'm looking for somebody to laid my vinyl planks on a existing floor down.

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