Can Underlay Help Reduce Noise?

Most underlays will act as sound barriers to an extent simply by being an additional layer of material. Both the sub-floor and top flooring need to be considered when choosing underlay for noise reduction:

  • Concrete sub-flooring: the sheer density of concrete will already be limiting the amount of noise from within a room that travels through to floors below. However, a cushioning underlay is necessary to make sure impact noise (the sound of someone stepping on the floor) is also absorbed.
  • Timber sub-flooring: soundproof underlay for wooden floors must be cushioning to reduce impact on joints, in addition to trapping sound.

Underlay is the hidden genius behind comfortable, insulated, sound-proofed floors. It’s not just for carpet and it isn’t a “nice-to-have” – any kind of underlay will increase the durability of your flooring, and there are underlays available to suit all budgets.

Underlay carpet

One major benefit of underlay is its noise-reducing properties. As an extra layer between the sub-floor and visible flooring, underlays absorb sound to minimise the echoing footsteps that has every downstairs neighbour grinding their teeth.

Whether you’re in a flat or a house, keeping noise levels down is never a bad thing – and can help to increase the value and marketability of a property if you’re looking to sell up.

Underlay helps to:

  • Reduce energy bills by trapping heat to insulate homes more efficiently
  • Absorb shock, impact and pressure – making floors more comfortable to walk on, and limiting indentation from heavy furniture
  • Protect joints and reduces flexing in tiles or planks, helping to preserve the condition of the floor
  • Absorb sound, both from impact on floors and within a room

Different types of underlay have been specially developed for different types of flooring – for example, thinner underlays with non-slip properties have been created specifically for vinyl tile flooring. Our underlays come with tog markings to indicate insulation levels and are clearly marked with the type of flooring they’ve been designed for.

Have a look at our cheap underlay

Type of underlay

Browse the different types of underlay for an initial understanding of what you might need. If you’re still a little confused, don’t worry – our flooring experts are on hand to help at any of our in-store Underlay Testing Stations. Get advice, get samples and try before you buy to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need.

Underlay table

Underlay High sound insulation High Heat Insulation High Durability Compression/ indent resistant Compatible with underfloor heating Use with
Polyurethane Y Y N N N Carpet
Waffle Y Y Y N N Carpet
Crumb rubber N N Y Y N Carpet
Rubber Y Y Y N N Carpet
Timbersafe Y Y Y Y N Carpet
Quick fit Y N N N Y Carpet
Luxury vinyl tile Y N Y Y Y Vinyl

Carpet underlay

Polyurethane (PE or PU) underlay

  • Made with recycled foam – air between fibres gives cushioning
  • Heat and sound insulation
  • Adaptable, available in different levels of thickness/densities to suit different budgets

Crumb Rubber

  • Made from used car tyres – highly durable (guaranteed for the lifetime of a carpet)
  • Tough and dense – helps to minimise indents from heavy furniture or frequent walking
  • Great for high-traffic areas like hallways, stairs and landings
crumb rubber underlay


  • Made from used car tyres – highly durable (guaranteed for the lifetime of a carpet)
  • Structured with in-built air pockets, for cushioning and increased airflow when vacuuming (helps the vacuum suck up more dust and dirt)
  • Can increase durability of carpets by up to 40%
waffle underlay


  • Highly durable, and increases a carpet’s lifespan
  • Excellent insulation (heat and sound)
rubber underlay

Low Thermal Resistance

  • Made from rubber
  • Designed for use with underfloor heating – air pockets allow heat to rise through
  • Durable and cushioning
Low thermal resistance

Wood Floor & Laminate Underlay


  • Made from a high-density synthetic rubber, with fleece backing for insulation
  • Heavy-duty with excellent resistance
  • Reduces flexing and protects joints, even from heavy furniture
Timbersafe underlay

Quick fit

  • Made from foam – helps to level minor sub-floor unevenness (up to 1.5mm)
  • Moisture-proof with good sound insulation; ideal for using in kitchens and bathrooms
  • Easy to install
Quick fit underlay

Low Thermal Resistance

  • Specific type of low thermal resistance underlay, designed for wood flooring, is available

Vinyl Underlay

Luxury vinyl tile underlay is crafted specifically for using with vinyl flooring

  • Made from thin yet dense rubber, with a tacking top side to help stop tiles from slipping
  • Sound insulation
  • Good for using with underfloor heating

Underlay and flooring accessories

A Guide to Carpet Underlay

Underlay guide

We have underlay to suit every budget, room and flooring type. Click here to read about the importance of underlay!

A Guide to Flooring Accessories

Flooring accessories guide

Add the final touches to your room with carpet accessories. Read all about it here.