Choosing Best Underlayment for Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has gained popularity due to its affordability, durability, and ease of installation. However, the key to a successful laminate flooring project lies in choosing the right underlayment. This ultimate guide will provide you with essential information to help you select the ideal underlayment for your laminate flooring project.

Underlayment plays a crucial role in the overall performance and longevity of your laminate floors. It adds a layer of cushioning, absorbs impact noise, and helps to even out minor subfloor inconsistencies. The proper underlayment also aids in preventing moisture issues, especially when installing laminate flooring over concrete subfloors. When considering underlayment options, factors such as the type of subfloor, material, thickness, and moisture barrier are essential in making the best choice for your specific needs.

There are various underlayment options available, such as foam, felt, and cork, each with its benefits and specific applications. To make the right choice, it’s essential to understand the unique features of each material and how they align with your flooring requirements. With this guide, you will be equipped with the knowledge to select the perfect underlayment, ensuring your laminate floors look and feel great while providing lasting performance.

Understanding Underlayment

When installing laminate flooring, it’s essential to choose the right underlayment to ensure a durable, comfortable, and long-lasting floor. In this section, we will explore the different types of underlayment and their functions.

Types of Underlayment

There are various types of underlayment available for laminate flooring, each designed to address specific needs and requirements. Some of the most commonly used underlayment types include:

  • Standard Underlayment: This basic option helps absorb minor subfloor imperfections and provides a smooth, even surface for the laminate flooring.
  • 2-in-1 Vapor Underlayment: A combination of cushioning and a vapor barrier, this underlayment protects the floor from moisture and mold growth while providing comfort underfoot.
  • Pre-attached Underlayment: Some laminate flooring products come with underlayment pre-attached to the bottom of the planks, making installation easier and faster.

Functions of Underlayment

Underlayment serves several important functions in laminate flooring installations:

  1. Moisture Protection: By providing a vapor barrier, underlayment helps protect the laminate floor from moisture and mold growth.
  2. Cushioning and Comfort: Underlayment adds a thin foam layer that offers slight cushioning, improving comfort underfoot.
  3. Even Surface: Underlayment helps to even out minor imperfections in the subfloor, ensuring a smooth and level surface for the laminate floor to float on.
  4. Sound Absorption: Adding an underlayment can help reduce the noise from footsteps and improve overall sound quality within a room.

Choosing the right underlayment for your laminate flooring project is crucial for a successful installation. Consider your specific needs and requirements when selecting an underlayment type, and consult with a professional if necessary.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Underlayment

When selecting the right underlayment for laminate flooring, there are several important factors to consider. Each of these factors plays a crucial role in the overall performance, comfort, and longevity of your laminate floor.

Flooring Type

The type of laminate flooring you choose will directly impact your decision on underlayment. Some laminate floors come with built-in underlayment, while others require a separate layer. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for underlayment compatibility with your specific flooring choice.

Subfloor Material

Different subfloor types require different underlayment solutions. There are two common types of subfloors: concrete and wood. According to BuildDirect, it’s important to choose an underlayment that’s suited to your subfloor in order to address any potential issues such as moisture and stability.

Moisture Resistance

Moisture can damage your laminate flooring over time, so it’s important to choose an underlayment with added moisture resistance. The 2-in-1 Vapor Underlayment from Bestlaminate is an example of a moisture resistant option, offering protection against dampness and humidity.

Sound Absorption

To minimize noise and disturbance, look for an underlayment with sound absorption qualities. Factors such as the underlayment’s thickness and density can contribute to its ability to reduce sound transmission, enhancing the quietness and comfort of your living space.

Thermal Insulation

Thermal insulation is another factor to consider when choosing an underlayment. A good underlayment will help maintain comfortable temperatures and potentially reduce energy consumption by insulating the laminate flooring from the subfloor’s temperature fluctuations.

In conclusion, various factors must be carefully evaluated to pick the most suitable underlayment for your laminate flooring. Deliberate selection and installation will ensure the best performance, comfort, and longevity of your floor.

Popular Underlayment Options for Laminate Flooring

Foam Underlayment

Foam underlayment is the most prevalent type of laminate floor padding, primarily because it is economical and straightforward to work with. It is also a waterproof laminate flooring pad. Lighter foam mainly serves to smooth out the subfloor and has virtually no sound-absorbing properties.

Cork Underlayment

One of the more premium underlayment options for laminate flooring is cork. Known for its noise reduction capabilities, cork is a popular choice in installations where noise reduction is vital. Additionally, cork has natural antimicrobial properties, which help prevent mold growth between the laminate flooring. However, cork can be expensive, sometimes adding as much as 50 percent to the cost of laminate flooring installation.

Felt Underlayment

Felt underlayment is an excellent choice for those seeking additional sound absorption and insulation. Though not as common as foam or cork, felt underlayment provides a balance between cost and performance. Some popular felt underlayment options include:

  • Kronoswiss® ProVent
  • ProVent Silent Vapor 3-in-1 Underlayment
  • Roberts® First Step™

When selecting an underlayment for your laminate flooring, consider factors such as noise reduction, cost, and moisture resistance to determine the best option for your specific project.

Installation Tips for Underlayment

When installing underlayment for laminate flooring, following these simple tips can make the process smoother and ensure a successful outcome:

  1. Choose the right underlayment: Consider your subfloor type and the requirements of your laminate flooring to select the appropriate underlayment. For instance, a 2-in-1 vapor underlayment is a safe choice for concrete sub-floors.
  2. Remove the old flooring: Ensure that you’ve removed the existing flooring layer, including carpet and padding.
  3. Underlayment direction: It is essential to run the underlayment in the same direction as your laminate flooring.
  4. Align and overlap: Lay the first sheet of underlayment next to the longest wall and make sure to overlap the plastic edge of the next sheet for added protection.
  5. Tools for installation: Using basic tools like a tape measure, a utility knife, a chalk line, and a jigsaw will be enough for the installation of underlayment.

By following these installation tips, you can create a comfortable, durable, and efficient laminate flooring surface.


In the end, choosing the right underlayment for your laminate flooring project can make a significant difference in the overall performance and longevity of your floors. Consider factors such as the type of subfloor, moisture levels, and soundproofing requirements when making your decision.

There are various options like 2-in-1 Vapor Underlayment, which is suitable for concrete sub-floors, and Standard Foam Underlayment, ideal for plywood or OSB subfloors without moisture concerns. Balancing cost, quality, and durability will ensure a successful installation.

While more expensive options like cork underlayment may provide additional benefits like noise reduction or antimicrobial properties, they may not be necessary for every project, and keeping costs reasonable should be a consideration. Always consult with professionals or knowledgeable sources when unsure, as making the right choice can prevent future issues and improve the overall satisfaction with your laminate flooring.

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