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How long does underlay last?

How long does underlay last?

When it comes to installing a new floor, underlay causes a lot of confusion.

How long is it supposed to last? Does it actually need replacing, or can you save yourself a bit of money and get away with using the same underlay twice?

In theory, underlay is designed to last for up to 25 years or more. But it’s important to point out, this is the best-case scenario. In reality, many factors can affect its lifespan, such as the original quality and thickness of the product, the materials from which it’s made, the level of daily foot traffic and its exposure to heat and moisture.

In our experience – here at Carpet Underlay Shop – the older underlay gets, the less effective it becomes. And when you’re fitting new carpet, laminate, luxury vinyl tiles etc, it’s almost always worth investing in new underlay too.

 Taking up carpet to check the condition of the underlay


Still not sure if you should spend the extra cash?

To make your decision a little easier, here we’ve rounded up a few of the tell-tale signs that your existing underlay has passed its prime, and is ready for replacement.


5 signs you need to buy new underlay


1. General ageing

Start by asking yourself: when was the last time the underlay was changed?

If it was 25 or more years ago, the decision is made for you – it’s time to buy new. If it was less than 25 years ago, have a closer look and consider its overall condition. Does it look old and worn? If so, regardless of its official age or predicted lifespan, it’s worth taking it up and starting fresh.


2. Lack of support

A high-quality underlay that’s in good shape will feel soft and supportive underfoot.

So why not take a little walk across the floor? Do any spots feel a bit lumpy? Perhaps certain areas are thinner, and you can feel the hard floor underneath? If something doesn’t feel quite right, the chances are, the underlay has worn out and is in urgent need of replacement.


3. Visible damage

This one may be stating the obvious – but if there are any notable signs of wear and tear, it’s time to remove your existing underlay. For example, are there any visible stains on the surface? Perhaps a rip? Or frays around the edges? If so, it’s certainly worth buying new.


4. Defects in the carpet

Worn carpet underlay – that has deteriorated over time – can cause permanent creases, bubbles, and stretching in your carpet. Not only does this ruin the look, it also doesn’t feel great underfoot. So if you’ve started to notice these issues, it may be time to do some DIY and update both.


5. Smells

Last but not least, have you started to notice a smell? If you clean your carpet regularly – yet odours seem to linger – it could indicate that spillages and dirt have seeped deeper into the underlay.

In some cases, it could even be a sign of mould and mildew. Which means, it’s definitely time to buy new and perhaps invest in an underlay with an in-build damp proof membrane.


Our recommended underlays

Yes, most underlays are technically supposed to last for a couple of decades or more. But it’s worth keeping in mind, no matter how expensive or luxurious your new floor covering may be, its final look and feel will only ever be as good as the underlay underneath. So, to get the best results, it pays to buy new.

Detailed information on the best underlay for different types of flooring can be found in our previous blog. But to give you a quick summary here:


Recommended underlay for carpet


For carpets, we typically recommend Plushwalk 12mm Carpet Underlay.

This is available for just £6.99 per m2, making it an affordable option for most home DIY projects, and it boasts a range of excellent properties. For example, made from a luxury ‘bounce back’ foam, it offers a high 3.5 TOG rating, excellent sound and heat insulation (49dB) and supreme underfoot comfort.





Recommended underlay for laminate and wood

For use with laminate and wood, we usually suggest Royale Professional Sonic Gold 7mm Underlay.

Regarded as the gold standard, this is commonly chosen by professionals for high-end and modern architectural buildings.

Thanks to its unique ‘AeroFoam’ structure, it successfully evens out any imperfections in the subfloor, reduces impact and airborne noises by up to 37dB and has an effective in-built damp proof membrane. Yet despite its benefits, it’s priced at just £6.97 per m2.




Recommended underlay for LVT


Last but not least, for LVT (luxury vinyl tiles), Royale Vinyl Click Underlay is our go-to recommendation.

Made from toughened high-density foam, with a silver backing, this successfully reduces noise levels by up to 20dB and significantly improves thermal insulation within the room. What’s more, it’s quick and easy to install and competitively priced at just £3.60 per m2 – making it a great option for home DIY projects.



So why not take a look and make that all-important purchase today?

And remember, to find out more about the underlays available in our store, or for further advice on how long underlay lasts, you’re always welcome to get in touch. Our team are on hand and happy to help at any time. Either give us a call on 0203 887 0994 or send an email to


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  • Alex Illidge