Best Underlayment For Laminate Flooring
Laminate flooring must be laid appropriately on top of a good underlayment, which is essential for providing support and protecting the flooring from moisture damage. The majority of underlayment is made up of two layers: a cushioning felt layer and a vapor barrier that shields the flooring from moisture and mold growth.
A high-quality floor underlayment adds cushioning, dissipates sound, and preserves your hardwood, tile, or laminate flooring from water damage and wear and tear. We have evaluated floor type compatibility, ease of installation, quality, and overall value, as well as various factors such as moisture or vapor barrier, material, and a few other qualities. And we’ve come up with the best underlayment for your laminate flooring.
Why Should You Use Underlayment With Laminate Flooring?
Even though most homeowners never see it, underlayment is a vital aspect of every flooring installation. It’s also something you’ll see beneath practically every major kind of flooring.
Choosing the best laminate underlayment is a key step in the flooring installation process. It aids in determining the flooring’s longevity as well as conserving your investment by eliminating the need for regular repairs and upkeep. Some luxury flooring comes with an attached pad and does not require an underlayment; still, choosing the right one is important.
Underlayment improves subfloor defects, provides sound absorption and moisture protection, and provides the finest thermal insulation under laminate flooring. The underlay, on the other hand, may vary based on its intended use, such as in a basement with a laminate subfloor, over concrete, or plywood.
Best Underlayment For Laminate Flooring.
1. Roberts Super 360 sq. ft. Felt Cushion Roll for Laminate Flooring
This thick felt underlayment prevents sound from moving from upper to lower floors with its strong sound-damping properties, earning an impressive STC rating of 66. Because it absorbs sound, this underlayment will reduce noise in the space and attenuate sound transmission to adjacent rooms.
This underlayment also gives laminate flooring a cushioned sensation and acts as good insulation, keeping the floor warm in the winter. It’s also made from crushed recycled fibers using a special heat process. As a result, sound absorption and transmission are both effective.
The moisture barrier produced by the film overlay protects the flooring against mold growth. This underlayment is simple to set up without gaps owing to a 3-inch overlap between pieces.
- Type: Combination
- R-Value: 0.59
- 3mm in thickness
- STC: 66
- IIC: 67
- Moisture control with built-in film overlay
- For total covering, there is a 3-inch overlap.
- Can be utilized on a variety of flooring types and levels.
- In comparison to other underlayment’s, it is costly.
- There is no glue included.
2. First Step 630-Sq. ft. Roll Laminate Underlayment
First Step is a low-cost, high-performance laminate floor underlayment.
This Roberts product is one of the greatest all-around underlayment’s for laminate flooring, with many layers that provide protection, comfort, and sound insulation.
The Styrofoam bead layer is at the heart of this underlayment, serving as a cushioning system between the subfloor and the underlayment while also allowing for air movement, which helps prevent mold formation. This product is thick enough to cover slight flaws in the subfloor as well as seam discrepancies.
A large adhesive strip makes installation simple, allowing for a 4-inch overlap and preventing any holes that could let moisture pass through. This underlayment also functions as a sound barrier, making it appropriate for use on upper levels. Each roll covers an area of 630 square feet.
It performed similarly to the Felt kind in terms of STC and IIC, therefore there is no substantial difference here. Mold is prevented and the floor is protected from wetness by the constant air flow provided by the Styrofoam beads.
- STC: 67
- IIC: 68
- R Value: .40
- Thickness: 3mm
- Designed for airflow and mold prevention.
- Covers 630 square feet of underlayment flooring
- Easy installation with adhesive strip and 4-inch overlap
- Concrete slabs and wood subfloors on or above grade are the only options.
3. Bestlaminate 3in1 Vapor Barrier Flooring Underlayment
Bestlaminate’s underlayment is a good deal, because of its affordable price and several layers. While not as thick as other more expensive underlayment’s, it provides adequate cushioning to act as a buffer between floating floors and subfloors at 2 millimeters. It also has a vapor barrier, so it may be used on concrete or wood subfloors.
Installation is simple thanks to built-in self-adhesive strips that allow for optimum overlap between each strip. Keep in mind that because it is thinner, it will not have the same sound-damping properties as other underlayment’s. This makes it more appropriate for lower floors than second stories or condos. This underlayment comes in rolls of 100 square feet.
- Type: Standard Foam
- R-Value: 0.15
- Thickness: 2 mm
- Suitable for concrete and wood floating floors and subfloors.
- Vapor barrier is built-in
- Strips with self-adhesion
- Rolls are 100 square feet each.
- Sound barrier may be reduced.
4. Gold 200sqft 3mm Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Premium Silent Underlayment, 200 Sq Ft
This underlayment offers protection, comfort, and sound absorption in three layers, making it one of the best combination underlayment’s available. It has a 3-millimeter thick layer that adds comfort to laminate flooring while also leveling uneven parts and gaps in the subfloor.
This larger layer acts as an effective sound buffer and provides a superior insulation barrier, making it perfect for upper floors, apartments, and condos. This underlayment is suitable for moisture-prone locations since it has a built-in vapor barrier.
The sheets are lined up using peel-and-stick adhesive and a printed grid, making installation simple. A broad lip provides sufficient overlap between parts, preventing gaps. This underlayment comes in rolls of 200 square feet.
- Type: Combination
- R-Value: Unlisted
- Thickness: 3 mm
- IIC: 72
- Low-cost underlayment
- Extra thick for sound absorption and temperature regulation
- For installation, grid lines, tape, and glue are included.
- Over 200 square feet of coverage
- No double moisture barrier is included.
5. QEP 72003Q 1/4-Inch, 6mm, Cork Underlayment
This cork underlayment is thick enough to act as a sound barrier while also smoothing out irregularities in the flooring. Keep in mind that a cork underlayment must be thicker than felt to give enough cushioning; yet, because cork isn’t as soft as felt, the extra thickness will still provide the support that a floating floor requires. This underlayment is 6 millimeters thick and has an STC rating of 61, making it suited for both upper and lower floors.
It also works well as an insulator, keeping the floor warm in the winter while reducing loss of heat through the floor. It’s simple to install: either lay down or glue down. Its higher thickness also prevents defects and cracks from transferring from the subfloor to the laminate flooring. This premium cork underlayment is available in rolls of 25 feet.
- Type: Cork
- R-Value: 0.47
- Thickness: 6 mm
- STC: 61
- Thicker than average underlayment
- Designed to regulate temperature
- Installation on the main and above floors is possible.
- Many types of flooring are compatible with it.
- Cork’s moisture resistance is low.
- Coverage is limited (100 square feet)
What to Look for in Underlayment for Your Floor
It’s essential to understand the numerous types of floor underlayment, the costs associated with different types, and which type is ideal for your floor before deciding which type to install in your home.
Foam, rubber, cork, rubber cork, and felt underlayment are some of the most common floor underlayment materials used in professional and DIY flooring installations.
Foam underlayment is one of the most popular underlayment solutions due to its low cost, ease of installation, and versatility. Some items even come with built-in adhesive strips to help with installation.
If sound absorption and insulation are priorities, rubber underlayment is a great alternative. Rubber offers excellent insulating capabilities and can be laid over wood or concrete subfloors without trouble, albeit it is less adaptable than foam.
Cork underlayment absorbs sound better than most other underlayment materials, it is frequently utilized in condo floor constructions. It’s also a good decision for the environment. Remember that cork is sensitive to water damage, so it should not be used in a bathroom, kitchen, or any other flood-prone region of the house, such as the basement.
Rubber cork underlayment combines the greatest qualities of both rubber and cork to make a highly effective floor insulation solution. Rubber cork underlayment is flexible and water-resistant, but it can stain vinyl. Despite the water resistance of this material, it is nonetheless recommended that a vapor barrier be installed to improve the floor’s endurance.
Felt underlayment is often denser than foam, it is an excellent sound absorber. Furthermore, because felt is usually created from recycled fibers, it is a green solution that also helps to insulate the home. A vapor barrier is even integrated into some felt underlayment products.
Soundproofing Underlayment Factors to Consider
Airborne noise refers to sounds that travel through the air. Sound is a mechanical wave that travels through physical stuff (air). There is no sound without air.
STC stands for sound transmission class.
The letters STC are always displayed on soundproof underlays.
STC rating is a laboratory-based standard measurement. It determines how effective a substance is at reducing airborne noise. The difference in sound intensity (in deciBel) between two rooms is measured. The material is used to create a barrier between the two rooms, such as a wall or a floor. The greater the loss intensity, the better the material’s noise reduction performance, and consequently the higher the STC rating.
Impact Insulation Class is abbreviated as IIC (IIC). Simply said, the IIC is an impact sound equivalent of the STC. In one room, a tapping machine is used to determine it. The sound levels released by the tapping machine are measured in the receiving chamber and then converted into an IIC rating. The IIC number indicates how well the material dissipates impact noise.
How We Selected the Most Effective Laminate Underlayment’s
The best underlayment’s for laminate flooring are determined by their kind, thermal rating, thickness, sound absorption, compatibility with numerous surfaces and floor types, and other special qualities included by top companies, according to our research.
Standard foam was the most popular type among users when looking for the best laminate underlayment’s because of its versatility and price. Cork and combination alternatives, while less common, provide enough soundproofing, thermal insulation, and are simple to install. For concrete and/or wood subflooring or floating floors, the offered alternatives have R-values ranging from 0.15 to 0.59 and thicknesses ranging from 2 mm to 6 mm.
The aforementioned underlayment’s have built-in self-adhesive tape, substantial square footage, built-in vapor and moisture barriers, and mold resistance for ease of installation.
What Happens If Laminate Flooring Is Installed Without Underlayment?
Laminate flooring necessitates the use of underlayment. Underlayment permits the floor to float, avoid creaking while also providing stability and ensuring that the plank locks are firmly supported. Skipping underlayment might cause the flooring to get damaged.
How Do You Install Floor Underlayment?
Clean the sub-floor surface and inspect for any damage before installing floor underlayment. Repair any problem areas by making sure the subfloor is totally flat and free of protrusions such as nails or screws. Roll out the first strip of underlayment and tape it down.
Work from the left to the right, making sure that adjacent rows are not overlapping. Tape the parts together to keep them from moving. Overlay the underlayment with the flooring.
Conclusion on Best Underlayment For Laminate Flooring
As you can see, you have a lot of choices when it comes to the best laminate flooring underlayment. We suggest that you determine which qualities you require from your underlay and how it will be used before making any decisions.
Choosing the right underlay for your laminate flooring can make your flooring look better, last longer, and offer a variety of other benefits. So, while you have the option to not use an underlay, there are more considerable reasons to oppose it. The benefit is that the pros outweigh the cons. There’s no reason not to use underlay to preserve and cushion your laminate flooring. Check the manufacturer’s instructions as well.