Everything you need to know about laminate underlays
Have you heard that old joke, what does a Mexican put under his carpet?
But seriously, underlay is a vital part of any type of flooring, especially for laminate due to its composition. Choosing suitable underlay for your flooring project is important to make sure that your laminate will last for years to come.
What is a laminate underlay?
Laminate underlay is basically a thin, flexible sheet of resilient material that is installed on top of a subfloor in order to act as a base for the laminate. It is commonly made from thin polyethylene or polypropylene.
Underlay or underlayment is used to help protect your laminate boards by absorbing the moisture coming from the subfloor below. It also helps in minimizing footstep noises as it adds to the thickness of the laminate boards boosting their sound-absorbing qualities, plus it provides additional thermal insulation for your floor to help make your laminate more comfortable underfoot.
Do I need underlay for laminate flooring?
Yes, you will need underlayment for your laminate flooring to help protect your new laminate flooring from the damage that moisture in the subfloor can cause. The underlay will act as a moisture barrier and it will also make the floor more comfortable. But be sure to check what kind of laminate flooring you are purchasing, as some laminate plans or tiles now come with built-in underlay, saving you from the additional step of installing it separately. Your flooring consultant should be able to tell you if the underlay is part of the laminate or if you will need to install it separately.
Types of underlays available
There are different types of underlays, each with its unique features. With this in mind, it is important to consider some important factors before selecting the most ideal underlay. The type of the subfloor, noise reduction, your budget and your preferred use of the space should be key among the factors to consider.
The main types of underlay are foam, rubber and felt.
- Foam: This type of underlay was originally created as a cheaper version of rubber underlay which is considered the superior option. That being said, the construction of this type of underlay has improved over the years so it is now on par with its competitors. It most often comes in rolls and is relatively easy to install.
- Rubber: Is the most popular type of underlay and is suitable for a wide range of flooring options. It is durable, breathable and ‘springy’ so it feels great when you are walking on it! It can come in either sheets or rolls so you can choose what is easiest for you to use!
- Felt: A smooth and heavy underlayment that is made up of recycled fibres it has better noise reduction due to its density and weight. It is also an excellent insulator and a great floor cushion offering a more comfortable feeling. But it is often more expensive due to rubber and foam options becoming cheaper. Felt used to be the only type available but now it is mainly used in commercial buildings.
The best way to choose which underlay is best for your home is of course to ask an expert! But be sure to try and walk on any you might be choosing between, after all it is for your home and comfort!
Want to talk to one of our Parry’s flooring experts about what type of underlay would suit your needs? Give us a call or see us in store and we will help you pick the best underlay for you and your home.
Further reading about laminate flooring:
- Buyer’s guide to choosing laminate flooring
- How to prepare your floor before installing laminate flooring?
- Guide to installing laminate flooring yourself
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