Why Do I Need Underlayment?

The main purpose of underlayment is to act as a barrier between the subfloor and your laminate and to allow the laminate to “float” above the subfloor and expand and contract with the changes in temperature and humidity. Underlayment is necessary for floating floors because it cushions the product from the subfloor. When installing over a concrete subfloor, it is required to have a vapor barrier either attached to the underlayment, or separate if your laminate has padding attached to the planks. This way, your flooring is protected from moisture that is released from the concrete. Additionally, certain underlayment have sound-dampening qualities that will help with sound insulation.

Underlayments’ can range from 1-3mm thick, 3mm is thickest that a warranty will allow. Yes underlayment can and should be used with radiant heat flooring. Be aware that underlayment will not insulate or warm your flooring.

It is recommended that you use Visqueen with all vinyl flooring installations. The Visqueen acts as a barrier between the flooring and the subfloor and allows the vinyl planks to float above the subfloor and smoothly expand and contract with the temperature and humidity changes in your home.

In order to properly install laminate on concrete, a moisture barrier should be used underneath. Concrete slabs are porous, allowing a certain amount of moisture to rise through when the ground is saturated. The moisture can then be released into the laminate core, if there is no moisture barrier present.

The laminate core is made out of pressed together wood. If water touches the core of the laminate, it will swell up drastically in some cases. The laminate will start to buckle and warp, this can cause the joints to be damaged permanently. Having a moisture barrier will protect your flooring investment for years to come.