Do I Need Underlayment for Laminate Flooring

The importance of laminate flooring underlayment can’t be overstated. Underlayment for laminate flooring is essential requirement for any commercial and residential setting.

Underlayment gives the floor to ‘float,’ provides support, stability, and reduces noise. Furthermore, underlayment supports the locking systems between planks to ensure that your floors are sturdy and lasting.  That said, proper selection and installation of underlayment and subfloors are essential to extend the longevity and stability of any flooring.

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Choosing Your Underlayment for Laminate Flooring

Do I Need Underlayment for Laminate Flooring

The proper way to find out which underlayment you need for your floor is by looking at it. There are two most common types of subflooring; wood and cement, and they have notable differences. Understanding these differences will help you choose the proper underlayment for your project.

Wood Subfloor

When installing laminate flooring on a wood subfloor, choose a standard to the premium underlayment. If your wood subfloor is in great shape and condition and feels sturdy, you won’t require any special underlayment. However, if your subfloor creaks or is uneven, you may want to invest in a premium underlayment. Premium insulations provide better cushion and noise reduction capabilities.

Here are a few alternatives:

  • Standard Underlayment
  • Felt Underlayment
  • Cork Underlayment
  • Silent Underlayment

Cement Subfloor

If you’re planning to install laminate flooring on cement or concrete subfloor, we recommend you use a vapor underlayment. Vapor underlayment are excellent in protecting your floor from any moisture that could seep through the cement/concrete subfloor.   You can install these underlayment to deal with moisture buildup on your subfloor:

  • Vapor 2-in-1 Underlayment
  • Vapor 3-in-1 Underlayment
  • Cork Underlayment
  • Felt Underlayment
  • Silent Underlayment

Benefits of Laminate Flooring Underlayment

Makes Your Subfloor Flat and Strong

Underlayment is a necessary component of installing laminate floors. If you’re thinking about installing a laminate floor, make sure the subfloor is flat and firm. A good underlayment can help cover any potential flaws like unevenness and cracks on your subfloor so that your new floors will be safe for years to come.

You Have a Cement/Concrete Subfloor

An underlayment is a great way to soften and make your laminate floor comfortable, especially if your subfloor is cement or concrete. The lack of underlayment can create issues with walking, such as discomfort or even pain in some cases.

Your Subfloor Is Not Vinyl

A vinyl subfloor is waterproof. So if you are installing your laminate floor on top of it, there’s no need for an underlayment.

Soundproofing Your Floors

Sound insulation is important in spaces where silence or tranquility are valued, such as bedrooms. Laminate floors are thin. Thus it can’t absorb sound compared to solid hardwood floors. However, the underlayment of a laminate floor provides sound absorption capabilities. A laminate floor of cork or standard underlayment is a great way to create a quieter environment for homes and offices as it prevents noise traveling to the floor from walking or running people, kids, and even pets.

Moisture Protection

Cement is a porous material and can absorb moisture. Therefore, installing laminate flooring without any underlayment will damage your laminate floors from moisture. However, installing an underlayment with a vapor barrier or any moisture-resistant underlayment will keep the moisture and wetness at bay.

Insulation and R-Value

We usually refer to insulating our roofs, walls, doors, and windows when we think of insulation. But your floors need insulation, too. The R-Value is a measure of the material’s ability to insulate. An underlay with higher ratings has more insulation and less heat loss than one that falls short in this category while remaining comfortable at temperatures outside your preferred range. Of course, the most obvious benefit to having an excellent level of thermal protection through rugs or carpets will be comfort; chills won’t plague you during the winter. However, if you’re looking for a way to ensure that your feet stay warm during the winter months, an underlay with a high R-value is the best option.

Antimicrobial Properties

Antimicrobial properties are an essential requirement for laminate flooring, and cork underlayment offers just that. If you want to keep your laminate floor healthy, then cork underlay is a suitable material. The antimicrobial properties of cork underlayment are a perfect option if you need to protect your laminate flooring from dirt, germs, and other decay-causing substances. This way, your laminate floor will be fresh-looking for longer.

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What sizes are laminate flooring underlayment available?

Typically, underlayment for laminate flooring comes in rolls that are 3 feet wide and between 30 feet – 100 feet long. The thickness varies from 6 mm – 8 mm.

Do carpet or carpet padding work like a laminate flooring underlayment?

No, underlayments must not be installed over carpets or carpet pads. Underlayment lies between your floor and subfloor. Therefore, rug, carpet padding, or any additional padding must be removed before installation.

Is there a difference in quality when it comes to laminate flooring underlayment?

Yes. Spending more on a better quality underlayment will be worth it for your performance in the long run. The white ones are usually among the cheapest and worst-performing types, while higher-end products offer excellent value with their high-quality materials.

How does laminate flooring underlayment work?

Underlayment does two critical things: It eliminates minor deviations or unevenness in the subfloor; and underlayment provides better acoustical performance.

Can I install laminate flooring over a plywood subfloor?

Yes, but there is a way to do it. If you’re installing laminate over a plywood subfloor, make sure you don’t install an underlayment with a vapor barrier. Since plywood is made of wood, it needs to breathe. The best option here is to use a standard foam underlay.


Laminate floors are a great option for many homes. These days, several laminates come with built-in padding on the underside. If you purchase such a product and your supplier does not provide underlay separately, don’t worry because it’s already included. So check before buying to avoid wasting money if that is something worth considering for yourself.

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