Laminate flooring underlayment (or underlay) is a thin sheet of material installed on top of the subfloor to act as a durable base for the top layer.
There are various benefits of laminate flooring underlayment as a properly selected underlayment provides support to the flooring. The cushioning provided by your floor’s underlayment can help even it out, creating a solid foundation for laminate material.
Underlayment absorbs noise, protects floors from moisture, and improves their R-values. When looking for an underlay for your laminate floor, consider the type of subfloor—the two most common types of subfloors used in homes are concrete and plywood.
Concrete subfloors are known for their superior durability and sturdiness. However, they are porous, which makes them susceptible to moisture damage. If you have a concrete subfloor, look for an underlayment designed to create a protective barrier between moisture and laminate flooring material.
Plywood is a natural material. It is slightly porous and needs more air exposure than concrete. If you are looking for underlayment for a plywood subfloor, steer clear of underlayment options with a vapor barrier that can trap moisture.
Once you have developed an in-depth understanding of the material used in your subfloor, start evaluating your underlayment options.
The four most common types of laminate flooring underlay materials include: basic foam, combination style, felt, and cork.
Basic foam underlayment is ideal for plywood subfloors. It is usually made of polyethylene or polypropylene. Polypropylene does not have a vapor barrier, making it ideal for plywood subfloors.
A combination style underlayment includes a foam layer and water vapor barrier layer. Combination style underlayment are usually used for concrete sub floors.
Cork can sometimes be used as an underlayment material for laminate flooring. Cork is more expensive than many other underlayment materials. Cork’s main benefit is that it reduces noise in the installation area. Never use cork in rooms that get wet often unless additional plastic layers are installed.
Felt is heavier and easier to work with so it’s no wonder many installers consider it the best underlayment material for laminate flooring. It is known for its superior sound absorption and heat retention properties. However, felt has a few drawbacks as it’s not effective at fighting moisture and is more expensive than many other underlayment materials.
Are you looking for laminate flooring in Sonoma? Rugworks is a top-rated flooring company in Sonoma. We are committed to helping our customers make informed flooring decisions. Our team will educate you on current flooring trends and the pros and cons of different types of flooring options. To discuss your requirements with our team, call (707) 935-0648.