An underlay is a thin sheet of sturdy material that’s installed on the subfloor to function as a base layer for the laminate floor. Although the subfloor offers fundamental support to the room, the underlay acts the foundation for the floor. It helps improve and protect the flooring and performs several functions. It helps level the subfloor, lowers sound transference, provides a layer of cushion to the laminate floor and also enhances the R-value of a floor.
It is important to choose the right underlay as it has a profound impact on your laminate floor’s feel and how the floor wears. Here are some tips to help you choose the right underlay for laminate floors.
Type of Subfloor
If you are installing laminate over a concrete subfloor, moisture is the prime consideration. Concrete is highly porous and allows water to seep through to your floor. As a result, the adhesive may loosen up, and mould may develop in due course. Pick an underlay that creates a vapour barrier thereby preventing moisture from entering the laminate floor. Combination foam underlay is perfect in such cases.
If you are installing laminate over a plywood subfloor, you don’t want to install an underlay that acts as a vapour barrier. Being a natural material, wood needs to breathe. A standard foam underlay is ideal for plywood subfloors.
The R-Value indicates the heat conductivity of a specific material. An underlay with a higher R-Value offers a higher level of insulation as compared to an underlay with a lower R-value. During winters, an underlay with a high R-value ensures that the floor is warm underfoot.
Some underlay varieties can prevent noise from travelling to the floor. Sound insulation is an important requirement in certain spaces where silence is crucial or in bedrooms where you want to create a peaceful environment. If sound insulation properties are important in a room, a cork underlay is ideal. However, if comfort and cushioning is a prime consideration, then opt for a standard underlay.
Certain underlay materials offer anti-microbial properties that ensure that your laminate floor stays healthy. Cork underlay is perfectly suited when you anti-microbial properties are an important requirement.
These days, several laminates come with built in padding on the underside. If you are purchasing such laminates, you won’t have to buy underlay separately. So check with your flooring supplier whether you need to buy underlay for the laminate floor you have purchased.
No matter what type of underlay you choose, Lifestyle Flooring UK offers a wide range of options. Explore our flooring store today to order the right underlay for your laminate floor.