Many people make the mistake of thinking underlay is a pointless added expense, but in most cases it’s actually vital to the finish of your flooring. Here we’ll explain the advantages of using underlay beneath different types of flooring.

Do you need underlay for laminate flooring?

Using underlay beneath laminate flooring can have a huge effect on the overall finish of your floor. Although some laminate flooring is specially designed not to need underlay, the majority of laminates benefit its use. If you’re not sure if your new laminate would benefit from underlay, read our Laminate Underlay Buying Guide for tips and advice.

A man laying laminate flooring with underlay

Because laminate flooring is thinner than solid wood, underlay helps to reduce noise, increase softness underfoot and also to insulate your home. It also creates a nice smooth and level surface on which to lay your laminate flooring for best results.

However, if laying laminate flooring directly onto a wooden floor, some people prefer not to use underlay, despite missing out on its sound proofing and insulating qualities.

This is because the solid feel of laminate directly on a wooden floor creates a more authentic solid wood feel to this cheaper alternative, although firmer underlay designed specially for laminate can help to create the same effect.

Do you need underlay for vinyl flooring?

The short answer is no. The clever cushioned design of modern vinyl flooring removes the need for underlay – in fact, underlay can actually increase the risk of punctures in your vinyl.

A man laying vinyl flooring

Although underlay isn’t needed for vinyl flooring, it’s still crucial that the floor beneath is
properly prepared. Any lumps, bumps and uneven surfaces will show through vinyl, so it’s advised to install a layer of plywood to create a perfectly smooth and professional finish.

Do you need underlay for carpet?

For best results, it’s always best to use underlay when installing a carpet.To work out which underlay is the best choice for your new carpet, take a look at our handy Carpet Underlay Buying Guide.

A man fitting flooring into the corner of a room

Carpets benefit the most from underlay because it:

Reduces noise

Using underlay beneath carpet dramatically reduces the amount of noise heard in the room below, so it’s especially useful in upstairs rooms or flats.

Keeps in heat

Although underlay is initially an added expense, it could help to save you money in the long run by cutting down your energy bills. Underlay helps to trap heat in a room and is an easy way to further insulate your home.

Increases comfort

Underlay makes carpet feel more springy and comfortable underfoot by providing an added cushioned layer to your flooring.

Improves appearance

When installed beneath carpet, underlay takes the majority of wear and tear, keeping your carpet in a better condition for much longer.

Is good for allergies

Many people who suffer from allergies try to avoid having carpet in their homes for fear that they increase the amount of dust in the air. Underlay helps to trap dust and stops it from becoming airborne, making carpet more allergy-friendly.

Choosing & buying underlay

A man installing underlay

Although buying underlay can seem to bump up the cost of your new flooring, it’s well worth the investment. Underlay can last for years and prolong the life of your carpet or laminate flooring, saving you the expense of repairs and replacements.

There are a number of different types of underlay to choose from, so to ensure you make the right decision, check out our Underlay Buying Guide or book a free home consultation for expert flooring and underlay advice.