Choosing the best underlay for laminate flooring
Our online range of ‘laminate flooring underlay’ currently features over 20 different products.
The question is – which should you buy?
Whilst all of these products will significantly enhance the look and feel of your new laminate flooring, they each have a unique set of qualities and properties. And rather than simply adding the first one you see to your ‘basket’, there are a few important factors that you need to consider.
First and foremost, where do you plan to install the laminate?
This can have a huge impact on the right product for you.
Laminate underlays vary greatly in terms of their features. Some are designed to provide maximum warmth and comfort, making them a great option for a lounge or bedroom. Some are particularly durable and hard-wearing, making them suitable for busy areas, such as a staircase or hallway. Whilst others have an in-built vapour barrier and are ideal for use in a bathroom or kitchen.
Think carefully about what you need the underlay to do and choose a product accordingly.
2. Concrete vs. plywood
Next, establish whether the subfloor is made from concrete or plywood.
Concrete is a porous material. Over time, it can allow moisture to seep up and into your laminate flooring – eventually leading to warping, mould and mildew. To help prevent this, you will therefore need an underlay with an in-built damp proof membrane or vapour barrier.
By contrast, wood is a natural material that needs to breathe. Adding a damp proof membrane can trap moisture, subsequently damaging your laminate. And if your subfloor is made from plywood, a fibreboard or foam laminate underlay – without a vapour barrier – is usually a better option.
3. Subfloor imperfections
Are there any significant cracks or bumps on the surface of the subfloor?
If so, you will need to invest in a laminate flooring underlay that can successfully smooth these out. The greater the damage, the thicker the underlay you will need. Ideally, to ensure the best possible finish for your new laminate, we recommend a product that measures at least 6-7mm.
Different underlays offer a different level of thermal insulation. And when it comes to choosing an underlay for laminate flooring, for most projects, the higher the TOG rating the better.
The only exception to this is if you plan to install laminate flooring with underfloor heating. In such circumstances, a high TOG rating can actually do more harm than good – creating a ‘heat barrier’ between the room and your heating system. The better option, in this scenario, is to buy a specially-designed thermal underlay – which has a very low TOG rating and will maximise heat transfer.
5. Noise reduction
Last but not least, is noise an issue?
Laminate flooring is notoriously loud. And, if you wish to install it in ‘quiet’ areas of the home – such as an office or bedroom – it’s worth investing in an underlay with good sound insulation. Preferably, you should look for a product that can reduce both impact and airborne noise by at least 20-30dB.
Which is the best underlay for laminate flooring?
Detailed information on the best underlay for laminate flooring can be found in our recent blog.
But as a general rule, always start with the assumption that you should buy Royale Professional Sonic Gold 7mm Underlay. This is a superior top-of-the-range product, which ticks all the right boxes (in terms of thickness, insulation, damp-resistance etc.) and is available for an incredibly competitive price. That’s why, it is now our no.1 recommendation for most laminate flooring projects.
Of course – depending on the factors outlined above – in some circumstances, an alternative product may be more suitable. For example, Royale 7mm Fibreboard is more appropriate for plywood subfloors and Thermo Pro X is ideal for use with laminate and underfloor heating.
Therefore, if you’d like a little advice on the best laminate underlay for your specific needs, please feel free to get in touch. We know the products in our laminate range like the back of our hand and, by asking a few simple questions, we can offer a tailored recommendation for your project.
- Carl Smith