One of the most overlooked parts of laying a new floor is the laying of good quality underlay. This can make a huge difference to the finished result, transforming your interior into a well insulated, comfortable and quieter place to be.

Helping to lower energy costs, prevent sound travelling around your home and keep your carpet looking good for longer, a carefully chosen layer of underlay will give your home the superior look you’ve always wanted. Choose from the fantastic selection of quality underlay in the Carpetright range to find the perfect product for your home.

1. What are the different types of underlay?

Laminate Underlay

Specially designed to keep laminate flooring firm, in place and looking good, laminate underlay is generally made up of a thin layer of foam and is suitable for most floor types. By using specialist laminate flooring, you can prevent your floor from ‘bouncing’ when complete and prevent moisture rising up into the laminate.

1-_0207_silent sound laminate underlay

Carpet Underlay

In general, carpet underlay is thicker and contains more give than laminate underlay. Commonly made from rubber, it’s designed to keep a new carpet in place, make it feel more luxurious, insulate the room and protect the carpet from the affects of wear and tear.

2. Why should I buy underlay flooring?

From increasing the lifespan of your new floor to lowering your energy bills and insulating your home, there are lots of reasons to invest in new underlay flooring. What’s more, laying underlay underneath your new laminate or carpet floor will help the finished result to look even better.

What is the difference between laminate and carpet underlay?

Generally speaking, laminate underlay isn’t designed to make the floor feel more comfortable to walk on but to give the laminate a good surface to sit on and to prevent moisture from the existing floor affecting the material.

Carpet underlay on the other hand is designed for comfort and will help your new floor to feel luxurious, warm and indulgent. If you used laminate underlay beneath a carpet the floor would feel hard and uncomfortable. Likewise, if you used carpet underlay beneath laminate your floor would feel bouncy and uneven.

Does underlay increase the lifetime of flooring?

The right underlay can increase the lifespan of your flooring by as much as 40%. Not only does this offer fantastic value for money, it means you won’t have to relay your floor for years allowing you to enjoy your freshly laid carpet or laminate for even longer.

What are the benefits of underlay flooring?

The main benefit of underlay flooring is that is increases the lifespan of your floor. However, as well as ensuring your carpet or laminate withstands wear and tear and looks good for as long as possible, underlay will also help to insulate your room, lowering energy bills and help to keep noise to a minimum. Carpet underlay will also make your carpet feel more comfortable and more luxurious, and will help your vacuum pick up as much dirt and dust particles as it can.

Is underlay flooring always necessary?

Though some types of carpet and laminate might have thin foam or rubber backing layers, this is not a substitute for underlay and you should still install a layer underlay if you want to achieve the best possible results. Apart from adding comfort and a professional touch to your interior, underlay will help to prevent moisture getting into your new floor and will give it much needed protection from the concrete, wood, vinyl or carpeted surface beneath.

Does underfloor heating have an impact on underlay?

As most types of underlay are designed to be insulating, they can prevent the warmth from your underfloor heating from rising up and circulating through the space. To combat this, opt for a low tog underlay. This will provide your carpet or laminate with the protection it needs while ensuring the warmth still penetrates your floor.

Where should you fit underlay flooring?

You can fit underlay flooring throughout your home but as each room has a different function, you’ll need to adjust the type of underlay you use accordingly. For example, high traffic areas like hallways and stairs would benefit from a tough and hard-wearing rubber underlay.

Rooms in your home that are designed for relaxing and socialising like living rooms are best suited to a thick and luxurious underlay for maximum comfort, and rooms with lots of heavy furniture will need a rubber underlay to protect your carpet from wear and tear.

Which underlay is best for concrete floors?

As concrete is a naturally cold and hard material, you’ll need a thick layer of underlay with a high tog rating to keep your home warm and comfortable. You may also need to consider laying underlay that is resistant to moisture to prevent your laminate or carpet from being affected by damp in the future.

3. How do you prepare a floor for underlay flooring?

Before you install your underlay, you need to ensure that your floor is level, dry and firm. In some cases this will involve stripping away the existing flooring and underlay, though you can sometimes lay underlay directly onto vinyl or hard wood flooring. You’ll also need to remove any nails, carpet runners or any other dirt or debris from the space before you begin.

How do you measure for underlay flooring?

When calculating how much underlay you’ll need, simply measure the size of your room and multiply the width by the length. If your room is an unusual shape, try breaking it down into three or four areas and calculating each one separately before adding your totals together to get the complete surface area of the room.

As some wastage will occur when laying underlay, it’s a good idea to invest in 10% more than you actually need.

Before you buy, you may need to measure up and do some calculations. Find out how to measure your room here.

4. How do you install underlay flooring?

Underlay flooring is very easy to install, you just need to make sure you pay careful attention when cutting and measuring it to ensure there are no gaps or uneven areas. Lay your first strip of underlay along the wall where you’ll begin laying your floor. Use a utility knife to cut it to size and to cut round any obstructions. Once it’s in place, simply peel the adhesive strip and press firmly to the ground.

How do you lay underlay flooring on stairs?

When laying underlay on stairs, you only need to install it on the treads as the upright part of the stair does not receive much wear and tear. Use gripper rods to keep the underlay firmly in place and ensure all nails are fully hammered in.

5. How often should you renew your underlay flooring?

The length of time your underlay lasts for will depend on its quality and where it is in your home. Areas that receive a lot of foot traffic will wear down more quickly, though a good quality underlay will increase the lifespan of your flooring considerably. In general, it’s a good idea to replace your underlay every time you lay new laminate or carpet, that way you can be confident that your new floor with last as long as possible.

Useful products and accessories


Use with underlay to achieve soft, indulgent flooring in your home.

Laminate Flooring

Fit on-top of underlay for modern, practical flooring that is easy to clean. You can also fit laminate flooring with underfloor heating.

Vinyl Flooring

A practical flooring choice that is resilient and low maintenance, some vinyl flooring can be fitted without underlay depending on the thickness. Underfloor heating can also be used.

6. Underlay Flooring Safety Advice

Underlay in itself is a safe material to work with. However you should take general precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe at all times.

If you’re working in the same space as someone with power tools, make sure you are away of any cables, sharp objects or other potential hazards when fitting underlay.

When cutting the rolls of underlay to size, make sure you avoid slicing through any cables or damaging any electrical outlets. If there are children nearby, be careful to place any packaging out of their reach to avoid injury.

View our Underlay now or do you need help selecting a carpet? Have a browse through our buying guides to find plenty of advice on what carpet to choose.