These days people often use these terms interchangeably, but there is a pretty major difference! If you are shopping at Lowe's then you are actually shopping for sheet vinyl.
Linoleum, also called Lino, is a floor covering made from materials such as solidified linseed oil, pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour, and mineral fillers such as calcium carbonate. The linoleum is then adhered with a backing most commonly made of burlap or canvas.
Sheet Vinyl is a layered construction of PVC plastics laminated to one of two types of backings; felt or fiberglass.
- Felt: Felt back vinyl must be installed with permanent adhesive so it sticks to the subfloor, otherwise it could curl up at the ends. It also needs to be stored in the room where it is going to be installed for 24 hours to let it acclimatize to the room conditions. An installation of felt back vinyl is not recommended for area with potential moisture issues.
- Fiberglass: Is the most popular choice in sheet vinyl today due to its simpler loose-lay installation. It can be installed with releasable adhesive or no adhesive at all, making it easy to repair should your floor become damaged. Fiberglass also doesn’t have the curling problem felt has, and it won’t shrink, crack or warp with exposure to handling or the elements. This type of construction provides a more resilient, cushioned feel underfoot and offers the most comfort!