Laminate underlay – an easy solution for bouncy laminate
It’s normal for laminate flooring to feel a little bouncy, especially when it’s first fitted.
In fact, a small amount of deflection can actually be a good thing – enhancing underfoot comfort and helping to absorb the impact of your steps. But if your laminate is beginning to remind you of a bouncy castle… it could be a sign of an underlying issue.
Why does my laminate flooring feel bouncy?
Bouncy laminate flooring usually occurs due to a gap between the planks and subfloor.
When you step on the laminate (and weight is applied), the plank is compressed downward and subsequently springs back – creating the sensation of a ‘bounce’. And over time, this puts undue stress on the flooring joints, often resulting in breakage, separation and squeaking.
These gaps can form for several reasons, including:
An uneven subfloor
If the subfloor wasn’t perfectly flat when the laminate was laid, this can significantly affect its stability. Laminate flooring is fairly thin, so any imperfections will eventually begin to show. The boards create ‘bridges’ over dips, which will bend or ‘bounce’ as you walk across them.
Inadequate laminate underlay
When laminate flooring feels bouncy, underlay is usually (at least) part of the problem. This may be because the wrong type has been installed (e.g. thick carpet underlay instead of laminate underlay) or the correct type has been installed poorly.
Any overlaps or creases in this hidden layer will lift the boards up and cause bounce.
Lifting or buckling of the laminate
In most cases, this occurs due to unexpected overexpansion. If the boards weren’t acclimatised properly before fitting, or they’re exposed to excessive amounts of water and moisture (e.g. in a bathroom), they repeatedly expand and contract and will eventually start to lift.
Buckling can also happen if a heavy, static weight is resting on the floor (e.g. a kitchen island), or if an appropriate ‘expansion gap’ wasn’t left around the edge of the room during installation.
How to prevent bouncy laminate
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
Here’s our top tips on how to prevent your new laminate flooring from bouncing.
1. Level the subfloor
Most subfloors will have some slight variation.
However, any that measure 5mm or more will need to be corrected. A flooring contractor will be happy to help with this. But if you’d rather take the DIY route, detailed information on how to tackle high and low spots can be found in our previous blog – ‘Levelling a subfloor – a beginner’s guide’.
Sand down the imperfections, fill in the dips and make sure your subfloor is as even as possible.
2. Invest in new underlay for laminate flooring
To avoid bounce, it’s important to select an underlay that’s specifically designed for laminate.
Do a little research into the products available. Be sure to consider the underlay’s thickness, density and moisture protection properties. If your budget allows, try to avoid the cheapest options, too – these are likely to deteriorate quickly, developing uneven patches that could lead to movement.
Which laminate underlay do we recommend?
For the best results, there’s one particular laminate underlay that ticks all the right boxes – which will enhance the look and feel of your new flooring, and significantly reduce the likelihood of ‘bounce’.
Measuring 7mm thick, with a unique aero foam construction, this is the thickest product of its kind and has a high density of 110kg per m3. As such, it’s a fantastic choice for levelling imperfections and unevenness in the subfloor – and, therefore, preventing the issue of unwanted movement.
In addition, it also provides:
- moisture protection, fitted with an in-built damp proof membrane
- excellent thermal insulation thanks to its gold foil backing
- advanced sound protection, reducing impact and airborne noises by 37dB
- 5* durability
In our opinion, this is by far the best underlay for laminate currently available – suitable for high-end specifications and home projects alike. Available for the affordable price of just £7.98 per m2, it’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve the stability of your laminate flooring.
3. Buy high-quality laminate boards
Thicker laminate is naturally more resistant to bounce.
Ideally, you’ll need boards measuring around 8mm – such as the Royale 8mm Laminate available in our store – to provide sufficient stability. This is thick enough to overcome any imperfections in the subfloor, especially with the addition of underlay for laminate flooring, without being overly expensive.
4. Install the laminate and laminate underlay correctly
Having your laminate professionally fitted will, of course, guarantee the best results. However, if you’d prefer to save a bit of money, it’s relatively easy to lay it yourself. We even have a handy step-by-step guide to help.
To minimise the chances of ‘bounce’, just remember to:
- lay your underlay perfectly flat, without any creases or misalignments
- acclimatise the laminate boards first - leave them in the room for at least 48 hours, allowing them to adjust to the temperature and humidity, thereby reducing the likelihood of dramatic expansion and contraction post-installation.
- leave an expansion gap around the perimeter of the room - at least 10mm wide.
5. Avoid moisture damage
Laminate has a hydroscopic core – which means, it can very easily absorb water.
Over time, excessive exposure to water and moisture will lead to buckling, lifting and bouncing of the boards. So it’s worth wiping up any spills as soon as they occur. Never use a sodden mop to clean your flooring, and regularly check water pipes and appliances to help avoid leaks and flooding.
Take a step towards stable laminate flooring
Nine times out of ten, if your laminate flooring feels bouncy, new laminate underlay is the best way to fix it. And here at Carpet Underlay Shop, we have a broad range of high-quality options to choose from.
So why not take a look?
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our in-house specialists are always happy to help and will gladly offer further guidance on how to avoid bouncy laminate flooring. We can also offer tailored advice on the best laminate and laminate underlay for your specific project.
- Alex Illidge