Carpet Underlay? Some Practical Advice from Experts

March 23, 2021

Underlay is just as important as the carpet you choose. When you buy a flooring solution, you will notice that the supplier also adds a quote for the underlay underneath the floor covering. Although not visible, the underlay is essential. Don’t skip this part or compromise on the quality. Trust us on this one.

So, you may wonder why the hype over carpet underlays? In this guide we answer the question, helping you see why it is essential. We also take you through the different types and give tips on how to choose the right underlay. Next time the flooring company adds an underlay to the quote, you will know why.

Click 👉 here to get in touch with your nearest Top Carpets and Floors branch for a quote on your choice of flooring solution.

Why Should You Install Carpet Underlay?

Carpet underlay is so humble in appearance, yet, so vital to improving the overall functionality of the floor covering. Let’s get into why the underlay and carpet go together.

Soft Underfoot and Dream Comfort

Unless the carpet has exceptionally thick backing, it will not provide a soft surface for your feet. The underlay creates the plush feel of a soft underfoot. Think of it as cushioning, which also helps to lighten the pressure on your feet and legs when you walk. With the soft cushioning effect, you will even be tempted to lie down and take a nap on the inviting floor surface.

Noise Insulation

Have you ever been so unlucky to have stayed on the ground floor of a double-storey wood cottage with no floor underlay? Even the light and dainty movement of a cat can sound like an elephant lives upstairs. Carpet underlay is essential for noise insulation. This is especially important for upstairs rooms where the sound of feet can echo through an entire house. Thick underlay is also vital for a sound recording studio or music room.

Temperature Control

Even a room with wall-to-wall carpeting can be cold because it lacks insulation. Just as roof insulation materials help to prevent the heat from escaping, underlay prevents the cold from the sub-floor from being emitted throughout the room.

Aside from creating a warm and welcoming feel with an effective underlay beneath the carpet, the underlay helps to reduce the electricity bill. The carpet is one layer against the cold from the sub-floor. Adding a quality underlay provides a second barrier, eliminating the need to spend more on heating the house or office during the winter months.

Longevity of the Floor Covering

Without cushioning underneath, the carpet takes the full weight of whatever is on top of it, especially on stairs. /effective underlay helps to absorb weight. Underlay helps to keep the fibre in tip-top condition for longer. Without underlay, the carpet wears out quickly because of direct friction with the sub-floor.


Reduce Allergies

The extra underlay helps the vacuum machine to suck the dirt out. Cleaning is easier and you benefit from more effective removal of dirt and dust, which can cause allergic reactions if left in the carpet fibre. With the Healthier Living treatment prior to carpet installation, all microbes are removed, and the floor is sanitised before the underlay is installed. This ensures an allergen-free foundation. Find out how you benefit from installing Spillguard waterproof underlay. Here is a short video on how Spillguard works.

You can also reduce the risk of permanent stains and mould build-up in the house or office with the Healthier Living installation. Find out more.

Now that you know the reasons why you should NEVER install carpets without quality carpet underlay, let’s explore the types available.

Click 👉 here to get in touch with Top Carpets and Floors for a quote on your choice of flooring solution.

Carpet Underlay Types

Just as there are several types of carpets, many varieties of underlay exist. Here are the basic types:


Although ranking amongst the most expensive types, the rubber under underlay is exceptionally durable. It has superb cushioning abilities. Two rubber types exist:

  • Flat sponge – used mostly in commercial environments where loop-pile carpets are installed because of its dense characteristic and ability to handle high traffic volumes.
  • Waffle – synthetic or natural rubber is moulded, and the product is then cured to create a waffle effect. It provides for a hard-wearing, but soft cushion. The softness creates a plush feel, making this a suitable underlay for luxury residential carpets.


Existing fibre is woven or interlocked to create a felt underlay. Two types exist:

  • Synthetic – polyester, acrylics, nylon and polypropylene materials, among others, are punched with a needle to create dense and firm underlays.
  • Natural – animal fur, jute, wool and felt are used to create a sheet of underlay. This type is rarely used today. 


It is less expensive than rubber. The underlay is mostly made from recycled materials, making it one of the environmentally-friendly underlay solutions. The three types of foam underlay are:

  • Polyurethane – two liquids are combined to create a sturdy foam for optimal cushioning.
  • Froth – liquid application to non-woven or carpet backs. This causes a chemical reaction that creates a dense substance suitable as an underlay for large pieces of carpet.
  • Bonded polyurethane – recycled sliced and cut foam of different sizes are combined using a bonding agent.

How to Choose the Right Carpet Underlay

The underlay is classified according to the materials and construction, thickness and density. It may seem the obvious choice to go with a thicker underlay, but that can be a huge mistake. If the underlay is too thick, it can lead to creases in the carpet.

Enquire from the flooring solutions provider about the recommended underlay for the particular carpet. Here is a short video on how to choose flooring underlay.

Get expert help here in choosing the underlay that protects against allergens.

The density determines the firmness of the underlay. The higher the density the more support it provides to the carpet, ensuring longevity. A medium density is perfect for a softer, yet, supportive underfoot. If the carpet is for a high-traffic area, such as a commercial setting, then you will want underlay with a higher density.

What’s Next?

Click 👉here to take the first step towards finding your dream carpet and underlay combination.