Are you planning to install laminate flooring in your home? It’s important to start with a good foundation. Read this article to learn about the best underlay for laminate flooring and get your flooring project started on the right foot!
You know a room comes to life with the right colours and finishes. It truly feels like home! Of course, your flooring is part of this package. A carefully chosen finish can make the entire room feel like a brand new space. Whether it’s a single room or the entire floor, you’ll be glad you invested the time and energy in installing the best underlay for laminate flooring to ultimately create beautiful laminate floors.
A lower cost option for flooring, laminate gives you the effect of high end finishes without the high price tag. You can select wood or stone in any colour you want, whether it’s a rich oak wood for a warm, welcoming feel or blond wood for a
Scandinavian style. Or choose a tile in any colour or style! You’ll get the look without the cold underfoot or worry.
Laminate’s big advantage is the easy maintenance and installation. But you will need to know some vital information before you start: choosing the best underlay for laminate flooring is a must!
Underlay has a very important job to play in a laminate flooring installation. Without it, you could run into problems. Or worse, you may have to replace your laminate because of damage! But before you run out to buy your supplies, you’ll need to make sure you have the right product for your project.
What is Laminate Flooring Underlay?
An underlay is a thin layer of a cushioning material placed underneath your flooring. It’s always a necessary step to include with your laminate flooring installation. Laminate is a very thin material (usually 6mm to 10mm in width). It needs underlay for cushioning and added protection. This makes it more comfortable to walk on – a must if you are installing your laminate in a kitchen or other high-traffic room!
Underlay is also used to absorb and muffle sound from traffic on the floor. It’s necessary for a proper installation of your laminate, no matter whether it is going on an upstairs level or down in the basement.
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In addition, underlay can also help even out slight variations in the subfloor. This will ensure your laminate is able to withstand the wear and tear of walking on it. Otherwise, it could suffer cracks and need repair long before you’re ready. Since you’re putting in all the work for a new floor, you’ll want it to last. Underlay will keep your laminate looking great for years to come.
The best underlay for laminate flooring is made up of a cushioning material that will keep your laminate in place on your floor. This prevents it from moving around and cracking or chipping. It also helps to protect it from moisture. This is especially important when your subfloor is made up on concrete.
Comparison of Different Types of Underlay For Laminate Flooring
Underlay for laminate flooring comes in many different varieties, each designed to make your floors last longer. It also makes them look great: straight and even and ready for all types of enjoyment!
But you’ll need to be sure you have the best underlay for laminate flooring in your room before you start. While any underlay will help, the one with the right properties will make your new flooring that much better.
Spaces with little sound to cover up, such as an upstairs bedroom, will find that a basic foam does the trick.
For a higher traffic area such as a kitchen or living room, you’ll need to choose a product with increased sound absorption. Most foam underlay will suit this purpose, but look for one that also boasts quiet floors for the best results. If the sound is a big concern, look for acoustical underlay. This usually comes in cork or felt. There is a higher cost for these types, but you’l be happier with the results. Plus, felt underlay allows heat to pass through, making it the right choice if you have underfloor heat with your laminate.
In basements or other spaces prone to moisture, your underlay will need a built-in moisture barrier. Most underlays offer this added protection, so look for one with a foil or paper layer that is included to protect your laminate.
If the floor is irregular or uneven, you’ll need a stiffer underlay such as fibre board. This offers excellent sound and thermal insulation. As a bonus, it’s very lightweight and easy to work with. This type of underlay may link together or float as individual pieces, creating a perfect subfloor to disguise any unevenness. It also will help protect against the noise of living with a built in moisture barrier.
How to Install Laminate Flooring Underlay in 8 Easy Steps
1. Preparation is, as always, an important first step. Assess the area where you’ll be installing laminate flooring. Are there any issues you can see, such as an uneven floor or damage? Make note of these spaces for later.
2. Next, remove the existing flooring. This could be wood, laminate, vinyl, or carpeting. Each layer needs to be removed until you are looking at your subfloor. Sometimes, you can go over an existing floor, such as wood. But carpet needs to come out before you start! Your subfloor’s material will depend on the type and age of your home, but this is usually concrete or plywood. Remove any leftover tacks, nails or staples so your floor is smooth.
3. Now, assess the floor more carefully. You’ll need to deal with any damage issues before installing your underlay. This includes unevenness, whether it’s from your house settling or a sign of other damage. Once it’s even, you can start with the next step: working out your underlay.
Tip: Make sure you have your supplies at hand before you begin. You’ll need the square footage to cover the floor of your room (or rooms) in your chosen type of underlay. Don’t forget to make sure you have your tools too. In this case, you just need a knife! You’ll be fastening your underlay to the floor along with your laminate, so you won’t need to work with hammer and nails.
4. Once your subfloor is clean, even, and ready to go, unroll your underlay. Start at one corner of your room. Follow the line of your wall and roll out the underlay as straight as you can. Shift it as needed, but keep the edges slightly away from your wall. Any time you use a wood product like laminate, you need to leave a space to allow your wood room to move. Weather causes your wood to swell and shift, and the underlay needs to let it do so! Otherwise, you may run into an issue with your wood splitting or bending – and that is never good!
Tip: Run your underlay in the same direction as your laminate will go. This allows for the best results as you protect your laminate and build up your sound dampening capabilities.
5. Check on how your underlay aligns to the wall. Once you’re satisfied, use your knife to cut your underlay at the other side of your room. Then, you are set to move on to the next step.
6. Roll out the next sheet of underlay. You must be sure that each sheet of underlay runs next to the previous without overlap. Your underlay needs to be as smooth as possible. So don’t layer up! Overlap will cause you problems later on as your floor is now uneven and prone to damage.
7. Once you have a few sheets of underlay set out, you should secure them with a piece of laminate. So you’ll need to have enough underlay on the floor to cover the length of your piece of laminate. Use this rough measurement as a guide as you work through, adding laminate as you can.
8. Continue working this way until your room is completely set, then move on to laying the rest your laminate floor!
When laminate floors are in your future, you’ll need to remember the very important step of your underlay. You can protect your laminate against damage, even out the subfloor, and dampen sound. This helps to improve the condition of your floors, so your home is a truly enjoyable place to live.
With these instructions, you can be confident in that you will choose the best underlay for laminate flooring in your home. Take it step by step to complete the job. Then, you’ll soon be all set to transform the look of your room with laminate flooring.
So if you have dreams of a nice wood laminate floor or something with the look of stone, make sure to start out with the underlay.
Too big of a job for you on your own? Remember that pros are available to help. They can assist with selecting your underlay or installing it – or even help you install your laminate!
Looking for more information on the cost of laminate flooring? Check out our handy flooring installation price guide!