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On your travels in doing research about wood flooring installations, you’ll notice that your success largely depends on the details, the little things.  What I mean by this is that to attain the great look and high-performance of a quality wood floor, it’s the support elements that are vital to long term success.

And this leads me to one of the unsung heroes of the successful wood floor installation; underlay.  Your choice in underlay performs a few unglamorous, yet extremely important, functions after you’ve laid down your solid hardwood floor, bamboo floors, engineered wood flooring, or laminate floor.  Here are the 5 reasons you need underlay for your wood floor installation.

  1. Underlay evens out minor subfloor imperfections.  An even subfloor is a key element to greater stability when it comes to your choice in wood flooring.  Although it is important that major dips and flaws in your subfloor be addressed prior to an install, a quality underlay can see to the minor ones to help ensure stability.  And stability, as you know, is what you’re after if you want your floor to last.
  2. Underlay helps to reduce noise. One of the issues with laminate flooring, and other floating floors, is the noise of footfalls.  This has improved as flooring products have evolved, of course.  But, for additional footfall noise reduction, your choice in underlay can be your knight in shining armor.
  3. Underlay helps keep your flooring warm.  One of the key elements to any floor covering is comfort.  And a big part of that is a warm floor.  A good underlay keeps the damp cold away from the floor board, and the resulting cold away from your feet.  And speaking of damp …
  4. Underlay aids in moisture resistance. This benefit is particularly true when you invest in an underlay with an attached vapor barrier.  Maybe it’s broken record time, seeing as I’ve talked about ways to keep moisture away from your wood floors at all costs quite a bit here on this blog. But, when you’re floating a floor over a concrete subfloor, this is one of the critical functions that underlay performs that can’t be undervalued. When it comes to moisture resistance, every little bit helps.
  5. Underlay acts as a cushioning agent. This circles back to the comfort factor, and may be the best example of a little detail that is so important in the long-term.  A good quality underlay can make the simple act of walking on your floor more comfortable, just by providing a subtle cushioning effect.  Since you’ll be walking on your floors a lot, you might as well get the best walking experience you can.  Your underlay helps with that.

Laying down underlay may not be the most compelling part of your project.  Yet, as you can see, the function it performs will allow you to enjoy your wood floors to a greater degree.  And enjoying the flooring you’ve selected is really the whole point, isn’t it?



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Rob Jones

Rob served as Editor-In-Chief of BuildDirect Blog: Life At Home from 2007-2016. He is a writer, Dad, content strategist, and music fan.