Thursday, September 06, 2007

Linoleum vs. Vinyl



It is important not to confuse linoleum with vinyl flooring. The main difference between the two materials is that linoleum is made of linseed oil and is biodegradable. Vinyl on the other hand is a synthetic material that releases volatile organic compound.

Linoleum has gained popularity in the recent years due to concern over indoor air quality. When linoleum is installed with low-emission adhesives, it releases almost no harmful chemicals.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nothing could be further from the truth! Linoleum, contrary to popular belief, is NOT readily biodegradable (what do you think the wear layer is over the top of that linseed oil/wood flour combo? Acrylic - which is s type of plastic, which is made from oil, and is most definitely NOT biodegradable). In fact, a LCA study published in 2000 by a Swedish university concludes that it is more environmentally friendly to INICINERATE linoleum rather than send it to the landfill. Even though doing so means emissions of dioxin and heavy metals into the atmosphere.

Lower VOC emissions? Please. Linoleum has proven to be far higher in VOC emissions (and unpleasant odor) than vinyl flooring alternatives. Check out GreenGuard for more on that, or any number of studies online - like greenbuilding.com for example.

It is so sad that this sort of misinformation continues to be perpetuated, and a huge disservice to people who really are interested in making the best environmental building material choices.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank the anonymous writer on his/her information regarding the true facts on Linoleum vs. vinyl.
I will check out the links that he gave and do further research.
I appreciate him/her taking the time to inform others from the truth. there is so much information out there and it's hard to separate the facts from myth when you start from scratch and someone is looking to make some mone.
Again thank you for the info. and for backing up your statements as well.

Cindy said...

Comments by anonymous are not entirely true. There are companies that manufacture Linoleum flooring that is green and biodegradable, low VOC and is NOT made with acrylic but with Tree rosin. For the real facts and not those of someone who hasn't taken the time to look check out www.greenfloors.com. These floors actually qualify for LEEDS points.

Anonymous said...

Look, if you think vinyl is a green material, you probably will not pass the LEED exam.
There are many states working to ban the use of vinyl in their public buildings.

See below
"On May 14, the Attorney General's Office...basically rejected the idea that vinyl is an environmentally benign material."
http://albany.bizjournals.com/albany/stories/2003/06/02/story4.html

Anonymous said...

sounds like "anonymous" works for a vinyl floor producer.

Linoleum from one company in particular utilises a water based finish and can be added to landfill and has the LCA studies to prove it . The bottom line for me- lino is produced from renewable resources that grow in the garden. Vinyl is a byproduct of crude oil. Time will settle this debate.

Oh and if you could point us to any cradel to grave LCA's on PVC flooring that would be much appreciated the only LCA's available are based around production not raw material sourcing and processing!

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Anonymous said...

The first Anon claims are 100% false. the "Swedish study" cited by vinyl sellers does not exist, it is a hoax claim. Also what greenbuilding.com makes clear is that vinyl flooring is one of the high emitters of VOC you can find in a home and linoleum the least.
And the wear layer of 95% of linoleum product sis ROSIN, ie tree resin, not acrylic. And no dioxins and or heavy metals, ZERO, are present in linoleum.
In terms of the indoor environment, as well as post use disposal, linoleum is one of the safest products you can put in your home and vinyl is one of the least.

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