Underlay – a hidden way to cut energy bills
Looking for ways to improve your property’s energy efficiency?
That’s you and the rest of the country.
As gas and electric bills reach record heights, thousands of cost-cutting Brits are taking as many steps as they can – to insulate their home in time for the cold winter months (and hopefully save themselves a bit of money in the long run!).
Cavity wall insulation, loft insulation and double glazing are all obvious choices, which have recently seen a surge in interest in the UK. But what about your flooring?
It’s often overlooked, but the right flooring choices can unlock many benefits – minimising heat loss, creating warmer rooms and, in turn, reducing energy bills. In fact, if you make one improvement to your home this year, we reckon you should update what’s underfoot. Here’s why.
It’s all about the underlay
Did you know, more than 10% of the average home’s heat is lost through the floor? And yet, very few people think to invest in better materials to trap in the precious warmth.
A thick, fluffy carpet will certainly help to reduce this loss – particularly one made from wool. But there’s another key player that can make an even bigger difference…
Underlay. The hidden layer that goes between your floorboards and carpet.
How does it do it?
Underlay is made from millions of tiny fibres, all of which are natural insulators. These fibres trap any cold air travelling up through the floor – ensuring it doesn’t make its way into the home – whilst also creating an effective barrier, reducing the amount of heat that’s lost to the underground.
Essentially, it adds an extra layer of thermal insulation. And as a result, the home becomes naturally warmer – reducing reliance on energy-intensive heat sources and (hopefully) lowering bills.
Installing new carpet and underlay may be one of the cheapest home improvements you can make this summer – particularly compared to cavity insulation and double glazing. But we guarantee, it will have a surprisingly big impact and can lead to significant long-term cost savings.
So, which underlay should you buy?
Just like a duvet, underlay has a TOG rating. This stands for ‘Thermal Overall Grade’. It’s a measurement of its heat retention properties. And as a general rule of thumb, if you’re looking to improve thermal insulation in your home, the higher the TOG rating the better. Our current recommendations include:
Ideal TOG rating: 2.5 or more
Best underlay: Wilsons Plushwalk 12mm
Made from a ‘bounce back’ memory foam – which is a natural insulator – and measuring 12mm thick, Plushwalk 12mm carpet underlay provides superior thermal protection.
It boasts an incredibly high TOG rating of 3.5 (unrivalled by any other product on the market). And benefits from an integrated damp proof membrane, which stops damp from rising from the subfloor and adds to its insulating properties.
Available for the competitive price of just £6.99 per m2, it’s a worthwhile investment, that will almost certainly cut down your energy bills.
For laminate or wood flooring
Ideal TOG rating: 1.0
Best underlay: Royale 7mm Professional Sonic Gold
This is an industry-leading laminate and wood floor underlay, commonly selected by architects for its first-rate insulating properties.
Due to its unique foam structure (known as ‘AeroFoam’) and gold foil backing, it measures 7mm deep – making it the thickest product of its kind – and boasts a fantastic 1.0 TOG rating.
Royale Professional Sonic Gold provides advanced, superior heat insulation. And priced at just £7.33 per m2, it’s an affordable way to improve the energy-efficiency of your home and make your hard flooring warmer and cosier underfoot.
For underfloor heating
Ideal TOG rating: 0.3 – 1.1 (depending on the floor type)
Going the whole hog and installing underfloor heating too? We still recommend adding a high-quality underlay to optimise its performance. But you need to be careful about the TOG.
The combined TOG rating of your chosen flooring and underlay should never exceed 3.0, as this would actually reduce the efficiency of the heating system and have the opposite effect – potentially increasing your energy bills.
For carpets, we therefore suggest ThermalStream – a revolutionary product with a 0.8 Functional TOG. Whereas for wood and laminate, Thermo Pro X – with its low 0.3 TOG – is likely to be the best option.
Want to learn more about the insulating powers of underlay?
With energy bills set to rise to unprecedented levels later this year, now could be the ideal time to invest in the right floor coverings and insulate your home on a budget.
If you’d like further advice on the best underlay for the job – or have any questions about the recommendations we’ve made above – you’re more than welcome to get in touch. As a leading underlay shop, we have exceptional knowledge in this area and are always happy to help.
- Alex Illidge