When installing a floating flooring, whether it is vinyl, laminate, or hardwood, one important decision to make is choosing an underlayment. Simply put, an underlayment is a thin layer of cushioning between the flooring and the subfloor underneath. An underlayment is added for support during the installation by providing slight compression movement as the joints are locked together and keeps the rigid locking mechanisms from breaking. An underlayment can also help resist moisture, cover minor imperfections, and absorb sound. When opting for an underlayment, ensure that it is approved by the manufacturer or warranties on the product may automatically become void. Consult Rugworks, a hardwood flooring company in Santa Rosa, to insure you get the right type of underlayment for your installation.
A standard underlayment is usually a thin foam or rubber designed to simply give compression support for the installation against the subfloor. It does help smooth out any minor subfloor imperfections as well. The sound absorption of a standard underlayment is minimal and it does not provide any protection from moisture.
Moisture Barrier Modified Underlayment
Modified underlayment utilizes higher density rubber foam or fibers with a moisture barrier attached to offer superior sound reduction and to further protect the floor from moisture. They are often also treated to inhibit growth of mold and mildew. This of course, is on top of the benefits of smoothing out minor subfloor imperfections and allows for proper compression during installation as well.
Cork underlayment can be expensive but provides maximum sound reduction of underlayment on the market. Cork pad generally utilizes ¼ inch thick cork but is available up to 1/2 inch for top of the line sound absorption. The thickness varies depending on the level of protection you desire. Cork is naturally resistant to moisture without moisture barriers or treatments. Cork underlayment is recommended for upstairs floors or units where noise has been an issue and is extensively used by condo associations around the world. It is also a sustainable choice for the eco conscientious consumer as the trees are not cut down or killed during the harvesting of the cork tree bark.
Let Rugworks help decide the best underlayment based on what materials you are selecting. Our experts know what is going to work best for your unique installation. To talk to a hardwood flooring expert near you, call us at 707-935-0648 in Sonoma or 707-584-7847 in Rohnert Park.