Laminate flooring is considered a modern and convenient option for homes. It is also one of the easy-on-the-pocket floor options with a good variety for each one’s choice. An important decision that comes with choosing laminate floors is choosing the type of underlayment. Underlayment is a vital part of your laminate installation. It is even more essential in laminate as it performs a number of functions. Laminate floors tend to be a little hollow and produce sound when walked upon. Underlayment helps muffle that sound and prevent that hollow feel. It makes it more comfortable to walk on. Another function of the underlayment is to absorb moisture and make the floors last longer. Subfloors tend to have dents and bumps and so the underlayment ensures that the laminate surface is even.
There are different kinds of underlayment available in the market. This article will give you an idea about each type.
Standard Foam Underlayment: This is the most common type of laminate underlayment. It is thin and has a barrier for minimum moisture. This is used in areas where least moisture is expected. However, if you aren’t sure about the levels of moisture then you can use it along with a plastic sheet. It provides only basic sound reduction. It is usually used over plywood subfloors.
Combination Underlayment: This is pretty much the same as standard foam underlayment, except slightly more expensive. It comes with an attached moisture barrier which prevents a considerable amount of moisture from seeping through your laminate floors. This can be used over concrete and plywood subfloors.
Acoustical Underlayment: This comes specifically to dampen the sound of laminate floors. This usually also comes with an attached moisture barrier, or else should be used with an additional moisture barrier. It is available in cork or felt. The cork underlayment is the most expensive option. It is anti microbial but does not feel very comfortable to walk on.
Vinyl backed Underlayment: This is a convenient option as it comes in the form of tiles and is very easy to install. The seams must be perfectly sealed in order to prevent moisture seepage.
A new variety of laminate flooring in the market comes with padding built on the underside. This does not require an additional underlayment to be installed. It is also possible to install this type directly over the subfloor.
Now that you know the types, you only have to choose the right one according to your subfloor and laminate floors. Other factors to consider are the area in which you will be installing your laminate floors. The moisture levels and the amount of traffic that the floor will be subject to, also comes into perspective. Heat resistance against under floor heating is also very important. The material’s capacity to transfer heat is known as tog rating. A low tog rating for your floor and underlayment is considered better. But you also don’t want to over insulate. Don’t hesitate to ask for your dealer’s advice on the best underlayment option for you.