10 Things to Know About Flooring Underlays

October 14, 2021

There are two industries wherein you will find the concept of underlayment – roofing and flooring. In floors, specifically, the term 'underlay' refers to the layer of material that can be found between the surface floor covering and the subfloor beneath it. Those looking to install new floors in their homes often forget that underlayment is just as an essential part of the project as what the floor cover is, and it will contribute to the performance of their floors in the long run.

1. You Get Different Types of Underlays

There are two main categories of flooring underlays, namely rigid and soft underlays. Rigid underlayments are securely fixed to the subfloor and add to the durability of the floor. They can be made from materials such as plywood and medium-density fibreboard. Soft underlayments like foam can be bought as rolls that are laid out beneath floor surfaces, which are heavy enough to hold it in place.

The thickness of flooring underlays is dependent upon the type of floor you are installing. It is usually required for floors such as laminates, carpeting, and wood products.

2. It Makes the Flooring Surface Smoother

Subfloor preparation ensures that the foundation structure beneath your floor is even and level. This surface must be flat to ensure that there are no crowns or depressions in your installation. Flooring underlays contribute to this flat smoothness which is a predictable base upon which to install any product. This is ultimately the goal as it means the product will perform optimally.

3. It Helps to Dampen Noise

Noise while walking on certain floors is a major issue for many homes and office spaces as the hollow click-clacking of heels or the scratching of dogs’ nails can be unpleasant. The right flooring underlays assist with noise reduction by deadening the sound of hollow footsteps because of the sound-absorbing cushioning they provide directly beneath the floor. It also prevents sounds from travelling between rooms and reduces structural noises in multi-level residences such as apartments.

4. Aids in Adhesion of Floor Coverings

Certain types of floors need to be bonded to the substrate floor and the right flooring underlays will allow for better adhesion of the products. Subfloors can expand and contract with temperature and moisture changes, and many floor types simply will not bond well to this surface without a form of underlayment beneath them.

5. It Offers a Barrier of Moisture Protection

A major benefit of flooring underlays is the protection it provides against moisture. Moisture is the number one enemy of a seamless floor installation. It can cause certain kinds of floors, especially those with any form of wood in them, to buckle, warp, and lose structural integrity. Some subfloors, such as those made from concrete, are more prone to emitting moisture, which is where a damp-resistant underlayment works well.

flooring underlays

6. It Creates a More Comfortable Feel Underfoot

Even though floors are meant to be hard and flat, a degree of cushioning is still more comfortable to walk on. This is especially true for homes with children, or those who enjoy walking around barefoot or in flat shoes. Underlays add a soft, comfortable feel underfoot which is a luxurious feature that many homeowners seek.

7. It Adds to the Longevity of Your Floors

Flooring underlays reduce wear and tear in a few ways. Firstly, it acts as a cushion beneath your floors that absorbs impacts. It also adds to the stability of the product, which means it won’t unnecessarily shift, flex or warp in ways it should not. The support and protection the right underlayment provides will, in the long run, keep the floor in better condition for longer.

8. It Helps to Insulate a Home

An additional benefit in terms of comfort is that underlayment contributes to the warmth and cosiness of the home. It acts as an insulator that keeps heat inside the home during those colder months, which will help you save on your household energy bills every winter. This is ideal for homeowners who do not wish to install carpeting in their homes, but would prefer a warmer atmosphere throughout the house.

9. There are Plenty of Affordable Options

Having the right underlayment incorporated into your installation will significantly improve the functioning of your floors and inevitably add to the quality and durability of the product. This means that it will last longer and save you on unnecessary, costly repairs from premature wear. It is a competitively priced solution that will save money, time, and effort in the long run.

10. You Will Have a Better Final Result

Skimping out on quality today means dealing with sub-par product performance in the future. For a seamless final result that looks great, feels great and lasts long – be sure to include the appropriate underlayment option in your floor installation.

We Will Take Care of Your Flooring Underlays for You

Fortunately, the task of choosing a product and underlayment, preparing your subfloor, and installing your floor are all services we can assist you with. For more information, do not hesitate to get in touch with us today.