Underlayment is a vital addition to your laminate floor installation and serves many functions. It adds a level of comfort to laminate floors, provides soundproofing qualities, and protects the flooring from moisture. It also ensures that the installation surface is perfectly level.
Here are some of the main types of underlayment that are most commonly used with laminate and other types of wood flooring. Each has different characteristics and will add a specific benefit to your flooring project.
Laminate Underlayment Options
Standard Foam Underlayment
This is the most common laminate underlayment available. This thin, foam padding usually measures 1/8 inch thick, and is available in different roll sizes.
Foam underlayment does not have a built-in moisture barrier. It’s best for areas where you expect minimal moisture. However, you can use it in conjunction with a plastic sheet if moisture is expected. You should not typically use foam underlayment with laminate flooring, as it provides minimal sound reduction.
Combination underlayment is essentially the same as a standard foam type, but comes with a moisture barrier attached. This prevents moisture from seeping into your laminate from underneath. Install it in areas with higher levels of expected moisture, such as basements or kitchens. Its thickness is the same as a standard foam type and is sold in various-size rolls.
Acoustical/Sound Dampening Underlayment
This type of underlayment reduces the hollow sound from walking on a laminate floor. It is available in a variety of materials like cork and felt, and usually comes with a moisture barrier. Install acoustical underlayment without a moisture barrier attached together with a moisture barrier placed directly over the subfloor.
Vinyl-backed is a practical option because it comes in an easy-to-install tile form. It lays flat during installation and provides noise-proofing qualities. The seams must be sealed, though, if moisture-proofing is a priority.
For any project, it is best to ask the opinion of experts who can help you make the best choice for your space. Talk with a knowledgeable BuildDirect product expert for more advice on the best laminate underlayment to use in your flooring installation.