Everything you need to know about laminate underlays

Everything you need to know about laminate underlays

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Have you heard that old joke, what does a Mexican put under his carpet?

Underlay, underlay!

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:

2020-08-05T01:39:31+08:00

About the Author:

Ian is a renowned floor covering expert in product knowledge and installation. He is specialized in all types of floor coverings for many years and his knowledge in the industry is exceptional. Feel free to ask Ian any floor covering question you may have.

4 Comments

  1. Nayana Nilmini Deveni Guruge November 24, 2019 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Hi we have installed laminate timber floor to our up stair, unfortunately we can hear big noice from upstair, walking sound is annoying. how do we fix this. they use green colour 2mm under lay.

    thank you.

    • Ian Minotti November 24, 2019 at 11:40 pm - Reply

      There could be a number of reasons for the excess noise.
      1. Is the sub-floor concrete or a timber frame? If timber the noise will be a lot more
      2. What thickness laminate did you use for an upstairs area? We would suggest a 12mm minimum.
      3. A 2mm green foam is probably not the best to choose for an upstairs area. We would have a suggested a 2mm rubber underlay which is much denser and absorbs noise a lot more.
      4. Hopefully your installers checked that the floor was also level before installing your laminate. If it was not there could be air pockets that allow the noise to be louder.
      Hope this helps.

  2. Sohel August 19, 2020 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Ian,
    Your articles are really informative. Thanks for sharing this.
    I am in a dilemma that whether I should put my money – to make a water resistant laminate floor or thicker laminate floor for building my residential property. Can you please suggest on this?
    Secondly, appreciate if you would just give us a tentative price/sqm for laminate, water resistant laminate, waterproof hybrid, and vinyl floors.
    Thanks

    • Ian Minotti October 12, 2020 at 8:26 am - Reply

      Apologies for getting back to you late.
      All products you have mentioned are an asset to any residential property. Sometimes it comes down to look, colour and feel.
      At Parrys … Prices of Vinyl Plank range from $17.90m2 up to $49.90m2.
      Prices for Hybrid range from $34.90m2 up to $52.90m2.
      Prices for Laminate range from $17.90m2 up to $46.90m2.
      Come in and see us at one of our 5 stores across Perth.

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