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 major types of underlayment you can expect to find most commonly associated 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 type of laminate flooring underlayment available. It is a thin, foam padding usually measuring 1/8 inch thick, and is available in different roll sizes.
This type of underlayment for laminate flooring does not have a built-in moisture barrier. It is best for areas where you expect minimal moisture. However, you can use it in conjunction with a plastic sheet if moisture is expected in any capacity. You should not use foam underlayment for use with laminate flooring as it provides a minimal level of sound reduction.
Combination underlayment is essentially the same as a standard foam type for laminate flooring, but comes with a moisture barrier attached. This prevents moisture from seeping into your laminate from underneath. Install in areas where higher levels of moisture are expected, such as basements. Its thickness is the same as a standard foam type and sold in various-size rolls.
Acoustical/Sound Dampening Underlayment
This type of laminate flooring reduces the hollow sound from walking on a laminate floor. It is available in a variety of materials like cork and felt, and comes with a moisture barrier most of the time. Acoustical underlayment without a moisture barrier attached should be installed together with a moisture barrier placed directly over the subfloor.
Vinyl backed is a practical option for installations 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 home or office. Talk with a knowledgeable BuildDirect product expert for more advice on the best laminate underlayment to use in your flooring installation.