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How to lay laminate flooring underlay

How to lay laminate flooring underlay

So, you’ve done your research, selected the ideal laminate flooring underlay for your project, and you’re ready to start fitting. There’s just one problem – you’ve never fitted underlay before.

As a DIY amateur, it can feel like a pretty challenging task. The specific method required will depend on the type of laminate underlay that you’ve purchased. But don’t worry. They’re all designed with easy installation in mind and the key to success is to prepare well and take your time.


A quick guide to laying laminate underlay


Always start by preparing the subfloor

No matter what type of laminate underlay you’ve chosen, you should always start the installation by preparing the subfloor. Make sure it’s clean and tidy – sweeping away any nails or staples left behind by your previous flooring – and use a vacuum to remove loose dust, dirt and debris.

You should also try to repair any damage to the surface (e.g. cracks and holes) and level it out as much as possible. But don’t worry too much if it isn’t perfectly smooth. Most laminate flooring underlays are designed to even out the subfloor and will accommodate for small imperfections.


Adopt the right installation method

The correct method of installation for your project will depend on the type of underlay chosen:


Foam laminate underlay

foam laminate underlay

Laminate underlays made from polyethylene foam – such as the Royale 2mm White Underlay - are budget-friendly, protective, and very easy to install. They can simply be laid in the same way as standard carpet underlay. Detailed information on this method can be found in our beginner’s guide. So before you start, it’s worth taking a look at this and familiarising yourself with each step.

But to summarise here:

  • position the roll on one side of the room and roll it out until it reaches the other
  • cut this row to size using a utility knife and straight edge
  • repeat the process and lay each roll in the same way
  • butt the rows together as closely as possible, but make sure they don’t overlap
  • once the subfloor is fully covered, apply tape along the full length of each join


Fibreboard laminate underlay 

fibreboard laminate underlay

Fibreboard is typically recommended for a plywood subfloor. It allows the wood to breathe, preventing moisture from getting trapped and damaging your laminate. And thankfully, it’s one of the easiest laminate underlays to fit. Each board is lightweight and can be moved effortlessly into position. And with the help of our detailed how-to guide, it can be laid in no time at all.

You should:

  • allow the fibreboard to acclimatise for 48 hours
  • start in the corner of the room, leaving a 10mm gap between the fibreboard and wall
  • lay the first board loosely, at a 90° angle to the intended direction of the flooring
  • move along the row, leaving an expansion gap of approximately 2mm between each
  • to ensure a neat fit, cut the last board to size using a knife
  • use the remaining piece to start the next row and stagger the joints throughout the room


Foil laminate underlay
foil laminate underlay

This is the gold standard of laminate flooring underlay.  In fact, Royale 7mm Sonic Gold Underlay is our no.1 recommendation for most laminate flooring projects, both domestic and commercial. Correct installation is essential to get the most out of its fantastic properties. And again, we have previously created a detailed guide on how to lay it properly, which is worth a read before you start.

But to recap here:

  • always lay foil-side down
  • hold the roll against the wall, with the ‘joint overlap sections’ facing out towards the room
  • roll it out until it reaches the other side and cut with sharp scissors
  • repeat with the next row
  • take care to butt the edges together and ensure the foil overlap section is covered
  • stick barrier tape along the full length of each join


Contact the ‘laminate underlay’ experts

For further guidance on how to lay laminate underlay – or advice on the best laminate flooring underlay and installation method for your project – please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Here at Carpet Underlay Shop, it’s fair to say, this is our area of expertise – and we’re always happy to help. To talk to a member of the team, simply give us a call on 0203 887 0994 or send an email to and we’ll respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

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  • Carl Smith