Underlay: What lies beneath

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Renovating your home or even redecorating a room takes a lot planning, time and money.  When scoping out the spend for a renovation project for most of us it’s key to keep under budget and costs to a minimum; looking for sale items and bargains and only buying what is absolutely necessary.

When it comes to flooring, most people will spend a fair amount. Carpet, laminate or the flooring of their choice is deemed an imperative element of the room by most.  We don’t mind going right up to the hilt of our budget, sometimes beyond it, to get the exact look that we desire for our floors.  However, the same is not always said for underlay.  Some decide to leave existing underlay in place or replace with the cheapest on the market.  But just how important an element is underlay?  What purpose does it serve and is it necessary to change it every time you get new flooring?

By the time most people come to pull up their old carpet or laminate, it’s been down for  years.  The underlay beneath this can be surprisingly worn, crumbly or threadbare.  This is the impact that everyday life would have on your flooring and sub floor if no underlay was in place. This proves that it is just as important to replace underlay as it is to replace the flooring.

Frequently overlooked and even dismissed as a pointless additional outlay, underlay is actually key to the look of your completed floor and the longevity of your flooring. You can dramatically increase the lifespan of flooring by getting the right underlay so it will ensure you get your money’s worth!  It will also bring extra warmth and comfort for your home and your feet will thank you for it, especially in the winter months. 

If you are thinking of underlay as a wasted added expense, think again.  It will actually save you money in the long run.  As well as increasing the lifespan of your floor, the right underlay can help towards significantly reducing your energy bills.  It strengthens the insulating properties of your flooring, trapping in heat, keeping you warm.  But this extra insulation doesn’t just provide your home with added heat. It also acts as a sound insulator, reducing in-room noise.  This benefit is especially useful in upstairs rooms, or in a flat where footsteps can be heard in the rooms below.

However, there is more than one kind of underlay.  Different rooms and flooring types have differing requirements, so it’s important to get the right one:

Underlay for carpets

Carpet underlay absorbs any wear and tear ensuring the surface looks fabulous for longer.  It also gives the carpet a softer and even more luxurious feel for your toes.

Underlay for laminate flooring

Laminate underlay helps to reduce any flexing keeping your floor stable and looking amazing. Of course it also keeps your home cosier with its insulating properties.

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Underlay for engineered wood flooring

Underlay will keep your engineered wood flooring looking stunning for longer as well as protecting it from any damage caused by moisture.

All homes will benefit from the use of underlay under carpet, laminate or engineered wood flooring. By making sure you buy the right one, you can enjoy a warmer, cosier and quieter home safe in the knowledge that your flooring will last longer.

Here, our Home Expert Lucy Alexander talks you through choosing the right underlay: