Carpet underlay thicknesses – which do I need?
Shopping for carpet underlay? Who knew there was so much choice?
If the broad range of different underlay types wasn’t confusing enough, there’s also a wide selection of carpet underlay thicknesses to choose from. And we appreciate that it’s enough to leave you scratching your head, wondering whether ‘thickness’ really matters and which you should buy.
We’d like to get one thing clear from the start – underlay thickness does matter. Getting it right can make a huge difference to the final look and feel of your new flooring, having a significant impact on its underfoot comfort, sound and heat insulation, and longevity. So it’s certainly worth doing a little “research” and making sure you choose wisely.
Every home flooring project is different, and to determine the best underlay thickness for your specific requirements, you’ll need to consider several factors, including:
- where exactly the underlay will be laid
- the shape of the room
- whether you have underfloor heating
- personal comfort preferences
- your budget
But to set you on the right track, here we’ve created a quick guide – which outlines different areas of the home and the carpet underlay thickness we recommend for each.
Carpet underlay thickness buying guide
Lounge or bedroom
For new flooring in a lounge, living space or bedroom, we typically recommend a carpet underlay at the top end of the thickness scale – around the 12mm mark.
Such ‘thick’ underlays are regarded as the gold standard for domestic projects. They’re the most luxurious option available – and as a result, they do come with a higher price tag. But for rooms in which comfort, warmth and durability are paramount, we believe it’s a worthwhile investment.
Our No.1 choice is Wilsons Plushwalk 12mm - available for £6.99 per m2.
Measuring 12mm thick and made from high-grade memory foam, this feels super-soft and incredibly cushioned underfoot. Perfect for when you get home from work, kick off your shoes and want to relax! What’s more, it significantly improves heat and sound insulation – adding to the cosiness of the room with a 3.3 TOG rating and reducing impact noise by a massive 48dB.
Stairs and hallway
Due to the twists and turns of a staircase, and the awkward shape of most hallways and landings, thick underlays can be pretty difficult to fit in these areas. Therefore, for such projects, our advice is to opt for a medium carpet underlay thickness instead.
Thick underlay may be the gold standard, but those measuring 10-11mm are a great compromise. They’re thick enough to provide an excellent level of comfort and warmth, and capable of withstanding high levels of foot traffic. Yet ‘thin’ enough that it’s easy to handle and install the underlay – even for a DIY novice!
Our recommendation is Wilsons Plushwalk 10mm – priced at £6.50 per m2.
This is made from the same premium memory foam as Plushwalk 12mm. As such, it still offers excellent underfoot comfort and impressive levels of sound and heat insulation. But as it’s 2mm thinner, it’s much easier to fit in tricky areas of the home.
Home office and spare rooms
Looking to update the guest bedroom on a budget? Or maybe you want to turn the box room into a ‘work from home’ office, without blowing a full month’s pay? For projects where ‘price’ is more of a priority than ‘performance’, a carpet underlay measuring 6-9mm may be ideal.
As you might expect, thin underlays do feel slightly less cushioned underfoot – and they don’t quite match the qualities of medium and thick underlay thicknesses in terms of their TOG rating, sound insulation, etc.
However, they do still enhance the look and feel of the carpet. Available for an affordable price, they’re a great way to keep costs to a minimum. And thanks to their lightweight construction, they’re quick and easy to install yourself – also saving you the expense of a professional fitter.
A good option is Wilsons 28oz Wool Carpet Underlay. It may only measure 8mm thick, but it’s richly packed with wool fibres, therefore providing outstanding levels of underfoot comfort. Priced at just £2.53 per m2, it’s a durable long-lasting product that offers great value for money. For added bonus points, it’s eco-friendly, too.
Contact our experts for further advice
If you’re still unsure of the best underlay thickness, you’re welcome to get in touch at any time. Our in-house experts know everything there is to know on this topic and we’re always happy to help. Once we know a bit more about your home project, we can point you in the right direction and advise on a suitable thin, medium, or thick underlay for your specific needs.
- Alex Illidge