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What are the Different Types of Kitchen Linoleum?

Harriette Halepis
Harriette Halepis

Kitchen linoleum comes in three different types. Those types include tile, sheet, and rug linoleum. Aside from cost, the main difference between each kind of linoleum has to do with application. While most consumers purchase linoleum based solely upon price, this is often regarded as a large mistake.

Tile linoleum is often a great deal less expensive than sheet or rug linoleum. Those shopping for kitchen linoleum based on price may be tempted to purchase tile linoleum, though this material will not last very long. In fact, tile linoleum has a tendency to curl around the edges giving floors an aged look. This type of linoleum will have to be replaced as soon as the edges start to curl.

Sheet linoleum is a popular choice for kitchens.
Sheet linoleum is a popular choice for kitchens.

Contrastingly, sheet linoleum is a great choice for kitchen spaces. This kind of material often gives off a polished appearance making it quite popular with homeowners and designers alike. While sheet linoleum is more expensive than tile linoleum, it is often worth the extra cost. Inlaid sheet linoleum has the same quality as inlaid wood, which makes it quite durable and stylish.

Linoleum won't trap allergens, like pet dander.
Linoleum won't trap allergens, like pet dander.

Rug linoleum is a type of sheet linoleum that mimics patterns generally found in rugs. While some forms of rug linoleum can be pleasing aesthetically, this kind of kitchen linoleum is rarely found. Since rug linoleum was largely used during the 1930s, it is difficult to purchase this material today.

Even though linoleum was once considered boring and unimaginative, this material has made a resurgence lately. Earlier kitchen linoleum patterns evoked lots of earth tones creating a drab look. Today's linoleum comes in many different colors ranging from bright reds to intense yellow hues. These newer colors have prompted a lot of modern interest in linoleum as an appealing flooring option.

Aside from the fact that modern kitchen linoleum is vibrant and unique, linoleum also happens to be an eco-friendly flooring choice. Since linoleum is made from organic matter, it is considered a form of renewable material. Homeowners that are eco-conscious have begun selecting linoleum over all other flooring materials based upon its green appeal.

In addition, linoleum is an ideal material for those people that suffer from allergies. In fact, linoleum is widely used within sterile hospital environments, since it does not attract allergens. Homeowners looking for flooring that won't trap animal hair, dust, or dander may want to consider linoleum. Modern kitchen linoleum styles and colors can be found in almost any home hardware or flooring store.

Discussion Comments


I had white sheet linoleum in my kitchen for many years. I didn't mind the material so much as I did the color. If it had not been white, I probably would have kept it longer than I did.

With kids and dogs, it was just too hard to keep it clean. It was also slick and my dog would sometimes slip and slide when she was really excited.

When we were ready to replace the linoleum we tore it up and replaced it with laminate flooring.

By this time the linoleum had lasted many years and was ready to be replaced. It wasn't hard to tear it off the floor and remove it.


I just put linoleum tiles in my kitchen, but I had no idea they were made from natural materials. Just another difference between linoleum and vinyl is that vinyl will have the pattern printed onto the material, whereas in linoleum the colors go all the way though. I have seen vinyl tiles before where the pattern got worn off of the top, especially under a kitchen chair.

I am wondering if anyone has any tips for removing linoleum flooring? In our old house, we had the rolled linoleum (or vinyl, I don't remember) flooring in the kitchen. We went to remove it, and it was an absolute nightmare. The adhesive was very effective, and it took forever to pull up the flooring. Even then, we still had patches where patches of the floor stayed attached.

We had some kind of scraper tool, but it didn't work that well. We finally ended up turning a blow dryer onto the spots and heating up the adhesive until we could remove it. It seems like there ought to be a better way. I'm just curious in case I ever have to deal with it again.


@jcraig - There are some pretty significant differences between vinyl and linoleum, even though they are usually used interchangeably. Like the article mentions, linoleum can be in either tile or roll form, as can vinyl. In the article, it also says linoleum is natural, whereas vinyl is manufactured with chemicals.

As a general rule, linoleum is more durable. It won't burn or melt, which means you can use it next to stoves and ovens.

Overall, I really like linoleum from the environmental standpoint and the fact that it is very durable, but that is reflected in the price. If you are ever looking to buy flooring, make sure you pay attention to the material that is used. Compared to laying ceramic floor tile, though, linoleum is a great bargain.


So, do I understand this right that linoleum can either come in rolls or tiles? We used to have the rolled stuff in our bathroom, and I always called it linoleum. When we remodeled, we replaced it with the adhesive tiles, and I have always called those vinyl. I guess my question then is what is the difference between linoleum and vinyl flooring?

Either way, I do really like some of the floor tile designs you can get with linoleum. They have really gotten sophisticated with it to the point where now some of the linoleum even has what looks like grout lines between the tiles. It can be hard to tell whether it is a solid sheet or individual tiles in some cases. I just like the tiles because you can replace individual pieces if needed.


@drtroubles - I guess it would really just depend on your confidence in your abilities. I think fitting it the right shape that would be the problem.

I have never really thought about it before, but how do you actually install linoleum flooring? It all comes in a big sheet, so you would have to be very exact with the way you laid it down and how you cut it to fit around cabinets and other obstacles.

The only thing I can really think of would be measuring the space the flooring is going to go into and then rolling out part of the linoleum and cutting it to the relative size. After that, you could put it into place without adhesive and trim the edges to fit correctly. It still seems like it would be difficult, but then again, I'm not very good with things like that.


@drtroubles - I don't think you and your wife will have any trouble installing linoleum times in your kitchen. Whether you get the peel-and-stick kind or the tiles where you must put down adhesive with a trowel it is still really easy to do.

I recently did my own bathroom tile installation and it only took me less than an hour. You can actually put new tiles right down over old ones, you just need to make sure that they are cleaned really well. Also, if you are going to remove the old tiles and have an older home, don't sand anything down. You may have asbestos in your home without knowing it and sanding can be really dangerous to your health.


Do you think it is a good DIY project to attempt to try linoleum tile floor installation?

My wife and I are renovating our kitchen and are looking to pull up the old linoleum sheets because they are starting to look dirty. We wanted to do ceramic tile floor installation, but it is just too far outside our budget right now.

We're both pretty handy and have installed simple wood flooring before. The kind you snap together, and it was easy enough. I am hoping that putting in new linoleum kitchen floors ourselves will be within our ability. We really want to save some money.

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    • Sheet linoleum is a popular choice for kitchens.
      By: Popova Olga
      Sheet linoleum is a popular choice for kitchens.
    • Linoleum won't trap allergens, like pet dander.
      By: sushaaa
      Linoleum won't trap allergens, like pet dander.