Before you begin installing your new floors, whether the material is tile, hardwood floor, or vinyl flooring, you will have to consider which underlayment to install. Your beautiful new floors need to rest on something after all, so selecting the finish is only half of your end product.

There are several types of underlayment to choose from, and we’re here to help you learn the basics of underlayment: what underlayment is, which type of underlayment you need and why you need it.

What is Underlayment?

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “subfloors” before. To avoid any confusion, underlayment is not the same thing as subfloors, since it can be safely removed. Subfloors are permanent and should never be removed except in cases of damage or remodeling. Subfloor refers to the bottom-most structural floor underneath everything else that is installed for the final, finished floor.

Underlayment is a layer between a subfloor and a finished floor that facilitates leveling and adhesion.

Which Underlayment is Right for My Project?

For Stone, Glass, Ceramic & Porcelain Tile

  • Hardboard
  • Particle Board
  • Oriented Strand Board (OSB)
  • Plywood

For Wood & Laminate Floors

  • Standard or Upgraded Foam
  • Combination of Film and Combustion Foam
  • Cork
  • Felt

For Vinyl Floors

  • Particle Board
  • Standard Foam
  • Plywood

Why Do I Need Underlayment?

Underlayment is arguably the most important aspect of any flooring project in both residential and commercial settings. Without proper selection and installation of underlayment, even the most resilient product can be vulnerable to failure. The main benefits of installing underlayment are:

  • Underlayment provides a smoother surface for the finished floor than the subfloor.
  • It gives the entire floor more stability by adding more material to the entire structure
  • It provides a better place for the finish flooring to stick, rather than just the subfloor
  • Quality underlayment will also prevent moisture from penetrating from the subfloor to your finished floor, extending your floor’s overall lifetime
  • Reduces noise transmission in floating, laminate or vinyl floors.

More questions? Feel free to comment below or contact us.