Underlay-why, where and what you need to know!

When buying laminate or engineered flooring, you will be asked what type of underlay you would like. This can be a daunting one to answer, as some of it is your own choice, and sometimes you will need to take certain factors of your space into account. Here we have broken down the most common questions and sorted the guff to give you our guide to underlay!

Do I REALLY need underlay?

The short answer is YES!  Underlay helps protect the floorboards, evens out minor imperfections in the subfloor, prolongs the life of the floor, makes the floor easier to walk on, improves sound absorbing properties……. I could go on and on. The take home message is: 2mm foam at a minimum, for underneath floating laminates and engineered floors. Without it, your boards will wear unevenly, and take a bit more of a beating, as there will be nothing to absorb and cushion from impacts. They will also transmit too much noise, which is ok upstairs but could drive your downstairs neighbours doolally.  So, its always a good idea to get a suitable underlay. but which one to choose?  Read on to find out!

Do you have underfloor heating?

  • If YES, you do have underfloor heating you have two main options. the first is to use regular foam: this will block some heat transmission but is not recommended for long term use. A better option is specifically designed underlay that allows the quick transfer of heat to the floor. It is suitable for a wider range of temperatures and will be better for heat transfer through to your rooms.
  • if NO underfloor heating is present, you can use almost any underlayment you like-see more specifics below!






How much noise will travel through your floor?

Right, underfloor heating covered, lets talk about noise.

Underlay plays a huge role in blocking or allowing noise to travel through your floor. If you are putting a laminate in an upstairs bedroom, a good sound reduction underlay will prevent noise transmission of up to 21 dB. We recommend a heavy foil and wool lined rubber under lay called Acoustica- this is thin at 1.5mm thick, but it is very very dense, and we have found it to be the best underlay for upper floors. For extra soundproofing, cork underlayment can be used with other underlay, just remember this will add to cost and to the height of your floors!


Water, water everywhere…

If you are worried about dampness before a floor installation, call us, as we can check the moisture content quickly

and easily! Very often, older buildings can benefit from some damp proofing and better insulation in underlay. For this we recommend a foil lined underlay such as Comfort silver. This 3mm thick PE foam underlay offers good warmth and eases any levelling imperfections in the floor.







How deep is your love Floor?

The last thing you need to condsider when choosing underlay: floor height. Usually this is not a major issue, but it will come in to play if your room has a fireplace or external doors. Internal wooden doors can be cut to fit a deeper floor, but PVC doors cannot, so always worth checking your heights! Fireplaces often have a set in for flooring at a particular height: if the floor plus underlay passes this height you may want to neaten the edge with a scotia trim around it.

It is tempting to pick the thickest underlay you can get your hands on- but its not always the best policy. If using a laminate tha is 10mm or under, an underlay that is too thick will have too much spring underfoot, and can damage boards under heavy items…. Not ideal.

Instead, keep the thicker, pillowy underlays for under think (12-14mm laminate boards) or under engineered or semi-solid wooden boards. These will last longer with a sturdier underlay underneath.


Thats all for our need-to-know underlay guide! As always, if you have questions please feel free to contact us at 021 4374285 or drop us an email at info@tgtilesandflooring.com!