Floor coverings: laminate or linoleum

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In this article we will compare the two most popular types of flooring – linoleum and laminated panels. We will tell you about the working and operational properties of each of the materials, as well as their similarities and differences. You will learn how to distinguish a reliable coating from a weak one by marking.

Floor coverings. Laminate or linoleum

What is laminate and what is linoleum

Laminate. This is a simplified “popular” name for rectangular pressed fiberboard panels. They have a four-sided locking system, each company has its own (often patented). The outer (contact) plane is covered with a wear-resistant water-repellent layer based on melamine resins, the method of its application is similar to paper lamination – hence the name. A separate panel is called “lamel”, which also influenced the “popular” name of the material.

Floor coverings. Laminate or linoleum

Linoleum. Seamless sheet obtained by pressing and rolling PVC raw materials. There are also “natural” types, but their cost is quite high and comparable to a parquet board. It also has a wear-resistant coating and, depending on the type, an integral substrate – felt or isoprene, which increases the heat and sound insulation properties of the material.

Floor coverings. Laminate or linoleum

General requirements for laminate and linoleum

For use in everyday life, safety for human health should come first. To date, no cases of harmfulness of both materials have been noted, since licensed industries have been forced to comply with the strictest requirements for the environmental friendliness of their products for more than 15 years. Products of famous brands, for example, IVC or Tarkett linoleum, are absolutely safe for humans and pets.

All floor coverings are divided into classes (recommendations with specific requirements for the operating mode).

The packaging of the flooring always has a two-digit number. The first number – 2, 3 or 4 – denotes the belonging of the room in a general sense. It automatically assumes the thickness of the material:

  • 2 – household, residential apartments and houses. They have the least wear resistance and impact resistance. The premises are used periodically with long breaks. Laminate thickness – 6 mm, linoleum 2–2.5 mm;
  • 3 – commercial (offices, offices). Permanent use of premises only by people. Laminate thickness 7–10 mm, linoleum 2.5–3.5 mm;
  • 4 – production facilities. Vehicles (electric cars and rohly) can drive over the surface, a heavy load can be installed, the fall of weights is allowed. Laminate thickness from 10-12 mm, linoleum 3.5-4 mm.

In general, this figure can be considered a reflection of the mechanical strength of the material..

Floor coverings. Laminate or linoleum

The second number – 1, 2, 3 or 4 – denotes the intensity of use, reflects the occupancy of the premises and the intensity of contact with the coating. This indicator is revealed during tests on a grinding machine called “tiber”. It is the number of revolutions of the tiber that shows how abrasion-resistant and durable the coating is:

  • 1 – from 6,000 to 10,000 tiber revolutions;
  • 2 – from 10,000 to 18,000;
  • 3 – from 18,000 to 25,000;
  • 4 – over 25,000.

Coatings with an indicator below 6,000 rpm of the tiber are not considered flooring – this is the “one” in the first two-digit number. It is more a wallpaper or applique decoration than a floor material..

So, for example, grade 21 (household with low abrasion) will say that this is the weakest material suitable for a pantry. Grade 24 is a thin “household” material with a good protective layer – suitable even for the kitchen, provided the base is flat. Grade 32 – commercial with medium traffic – can be used in the corridor, vestibule and stairs. Grades 34, 42–44 are suitable for the garage, gym, and in general are designed for waiting rooms and shopping centers, warehouses.

Other indicators: noise insulation, thermal conductivity, fire resistance – are characteristic of both materials and there are special varieties with a pronounced feature. For example, insulating and dielectric linoleum or soundproof laminate.

So, we found out that during operation, both materials meet the same requirements and standards. Now let’s highlight the differences between them..

Features of coatings


Working properties. Linoleum is afraid of frost, prolonged bends. During storage, load on the roll from above or long-term storage of the roll in a standing state is unacceptable. To transport a roll 3-4 meters wide, you will need a special transport (remember this when purchasing linoleum in bulk).

Performance properties. This material does not tolerate cuts, scratches with sharp metal, and punching through furniture legs. On the other hand, water ingress into such a cut will not lead to a “catastrophe” in the form of deformation of the coating area. The coating is completely insensitive to water – the synthetic base and the coating do not absorb water.

Styling feature:

  1. Linoleum is sold in running meters. Therefore, when purchasing the linoleum you like, you run the risk of buying a few meters of excess material, which will remain when trimming to the format of the room.
  2. In case of inaccurate trimming or an error in marking, the sheet will have to be changed entirely, or glued by “cold welding”. The same applies to damage after installation during use..
  3. Linoleum does not tolerate cracks, specks or steps on the base. The slightest defect will come out over time.
  4. The correct installation method – with glue – significantly increases the reliability of the coating.

Floor coverings. Laminate or linoleum

Output.Linoleum is best used when replacing or creating a new, completely smooth base. Trimming in place and laying on glue is a guarantee of reliability, but a damaged or worn area cannot be replaced (or a lot of skill and special tools are required). Best suited for areas with intensive wet cleaning or wet areas (up to showers).


Working properties. Conveniently stored – in stacks up to 2 m high and transported in the trunk of a car. Overhead loading allowed during storage.

Performance properties. Relatively stiff lamellas are not pressed through by furniture, and it is more difficult to cut laminate flooring than linoleum. The main problem during operation is sensitivity to moisture and air humidity. The pressed material can absorb moisture.

Styling features:

  1. Each lamella can be purchased individually and very accurately calculate the estimate. This is especially convenient for partial repairs – only a few lamellas can be replaced by purchasing them separately.
  2. In the event of a mistake during installation, there is no significant damage – the lamella damaged from one edge can be used in another place.
  3. The “dry” method of laying allows you to replace one lamella or section without disassembling the entire coating.
  4. Rigid lamella “swallows” shells and small irregularities in the base (in contrast to linoleum, which requires a perfectly flat plane, without “humps” and “pits”).

Floor coverings. Laminate or linoleum

Output.Chipboard is suitable for clean and dry rooms with a minimum risk of accidental spillage of water – these are bedrooms, living rooms, corridors, storerooms, gyms.

As can be seen from the analysis, materials for the home have the same properties. There are only three main, fundamental differences:

  1. Reaction to water and moisture. Laminate is “afraid” of moisture, but linoleum is not. Linoleum does not allow water to pass through – if it gets under the sheet, mold will quickly form and the base will begin to rot (if it is wooden). Laminate will absorb moisture and collapse on its own, but at the same time retain the base.
  2. Possibility of “painless” site replacement. The lamella can be replaced with your own hands entirely without consequences, but when replacing a section of linoleum, seams will remain (plus you will need a special tool and a professional master).
  3. Laminate can be calculated accurately (up to 0.1 m2), while linoleum will have to be bought in running meters.

Having weighed these pros and cons, you can choose the option specifically for your premises..

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