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Can I install underlayment under laminate with attached padding?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
Is it okay to use a felt Roberts underlayment if the laminate already has attached padding?
-Craig S.

Dear Craig,

Laminate with attached padding (underlayment) can be confusing to many DIY installers. You read articles touting the importance of using underlayment for moisture control, noise reduction, and overall support. It’s natural to wonder what you should do to maximize your floors longevity when the underlayment comes pre-attached.

Extra Padding Poses a Risk

Most underlayment provides extra padding on a floor. When this additional padding is combined with the pre-installed padding on your laminate flooring, it poses a risk and should be avoided. By adding unnecessary cushioning, you could actually be causing more harm to your floor than good. The added friction could cause the underlayment to wear down quickly and make your floors less stable over time, causing stress on the floating floor’s locking system joints.

Vapor Barriers

There is an exception to this rule – a film vapor barrier.

If you are installing your laminate flooring with the pre-attached underlayment over a cement subfloor, you will want to use a vapor barrier. This type of underlayment does not have any additional padding, so it will not pose a risk to your laminate flooring.

We recommend using our Visqueen 6mil PE Vapor Block PE Film in these situations. You can be sure that no moisture or other damage will occur with this option under a pre-attached underlayment.

As you can see, there are many factors to take into consideration when installing your laminate flooring. From subfloors and underlayment, to the type of laminate flooring you buy, you must weigh everything equally to get the best results. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our flooring experts for help. We’re here to make your installation as easy as possible.

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About Bob and Betsy

Bob and Betsy
Bob and Betsy are the dynamic duo that have all the answers for your flooring related questions! Don't hesitate to submit a question to them at support@bestlaminate.com!

47 comments

  1. Avatar
    Gisela Schimmelpfeng

    Excellent information. Thank you

  2. Avatar
    Elizabeth A Watts

    My son weighs 125 lbs. and is a considerably heavy wheelchair. Which flooring is best for wheelchairs;
    vinyl planks or laminate. My sub-floor is concrete. I want flooring that can accommodate the wheelchair
    and yet still have a cushioned floor for comfort.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Elizabeth, thanks for the question. I would say an SPC or WPC vinyl may be the best option for you, but laminate is also a close second. And engineered vinyl will have the durability and cushion, but the top coating may show wear over time with the wheels. A laminate, on the other hand, has a stronger top coat that may hold up better to wear. Feel free to give one of our flooring specialists a call to discuss each option further: 800-520-0961.

  3. Avatar

    I am installing laminate over 870 sq ft over original hardwood. Would I need any padding or no?

  4. Avatar
    Catharina Teunisse

    Are there still laminate floors to be found without the attached backing? I would really like to get the best soundproofing etc with the Floor Muffler or Quick Step for my 3rd floor condo unit. Appreciate a reply.

  5. Avatar

    Hi Alana…..

    We are about to install (Pergo) laminate flooring over linoleum tile flooring on a concrete slab floor. The tile (25 + years old) is still stuck securely to the floor. Do I need to put down a vapor barrier before I install the laminate flooring?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi James, great question. I would recommend getting an underlayment with a vapor barrier within it to be safe. The linoleum should prevent any moisture from coming through, but this is an easy way to play it safe since you will need underlayment regardless! If the floor has attached underlayment already, you could opt for the moisture barrier film as an extra precaution. The edges are the only area where I could see potential moisture from getting around the linoleum.

  6. Avatar

    Could I install the FloorMuffler underneath a pre-attached laminate flooring?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Jim, thanks for the question! We would not recommend installing FloorMuffler under a pre-attached underlayment. The only thing you could install would be a vapor barrier film. Double underlayments can cause issues with the joint integrity.

  7. Avatar

    My condo association says that they require Quiet Walk underlayment to be used. However, the laminate flooring I’ve picked out has an underlayment pad already attached – do I still need to use the Quiet Walk? What about a moisture/vapor barrier? I’m installing on a concrete subfloor, but in a high rise building, so there’s not much direct exposure to moisture.

  8. Avatar

    Hello, my condo requires 73 ICC rating I bought a 12mm water resistant vinyl hardwood floor that includes a 2mm attached underlayment .
    My condo requires an 8mm cork underlayment on the 6″ concrete flooring. Can I install this combination? I am guessing I dont need another vapor barrier

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Tuba, thanks for your question. You should not install a cork underlayment underneath your vinyl flooring. Too much cushion will compromise the joint integrity. If your flooring did not have an attached underlayment, you could install a cork underlayment that is 6″ or less. Again, keep in mind the amount of cushion under the flooring is important to consider.

      • Avatar

        When I pulled up the carpet, I found out the used an MDF board instead of plywood for the subfloor, some of the spills that happened in the room made that MDF swell up and made the floor uneven so I left the carpet pad down to help level out the floor & used the foam underlaminate over the carpet pad under the laminate I put down, is this going to be an issue? It has some spongy spots when you walk on it.

        • Alana Kane

          Hi Dusty, yes this could be an issue. Not using laminate specific underlayment and using double underlayment can compromise the joint integrity of the laminate. This is why there is the spongy feel when you walk. Over time, the joints may loosen and you could have separation.

  9. Avatar

    I bought laminate flooring with underlayment to put in my basement (next to furnace and laundry) Do we still need vapor padding if my floor is vinyl tile over concrete? Thanks!

  10. Avatar

    Signs where moisture has been on the sub wood flooring around the outer edges.
    Before putting down lifetime laminate with attached padding, should we use a moisture barrier underneath.
    What would you recommend
    Thanks

    • Tyler

      Hello! If it is a decent amount of mouisture that you see on the subfloor, you would probably need to get that checked out first before attempting to lay the floor down.

  11. Avatar

    My condo HOA requires carpet for all 2nd floors units, except kitchen, bath & bedrooms)for sound proofing for units below.
    I would like to do away with all carpet and am looking for the best flooring/underpayment that will not bother units below mine.
    I was looking at vinyl with foam or cork backing? I need answers A.S.A.P. Please HELP!!

    • Tyler

      Hey Mary! The first question would be to ask your HOA what their minimum STC requirements are. This could narrow down choices really quick. Let me know!

      • Avatar

        I have the same issue. Our minimum STC requirements are 60. Should we go with a vinyl plank that has attached backing (foam/rubber/cork) or should we use vinyl plank with no backing and go with Pergo Gold or Cali Complete?

        • Alana Kane

          Hi AJ, thanks for your question. If you can find a vinyl with attached underlayment that meets the STC rating, that would be the easiest route! If not, you’ll need to look for an LVT specific underlayment with the 60 STC requirement.

  12. Avatar

    Hello,
    I’m installing click-lock laminate flooring with an attached pad over plywood subfloor, but the manufacturer states that additional padding CAN be added and recommends Pergo Gold. I’m not a fan of Pergo Gold underlayment and would prefer using QuietWalk instead. I reached out to the manufacturer with my question, but did not receive a reply. So, because the manufacturer specifically states that additional padding CAN be used, should I be safe adding additional underlayment (mostly to smooth out floor imperfections), and is their recommendation of Pergo Gold simply a “sponsored” recommendation … in other words, would any quality underlayment work just as well? Pergo Gold and QuietWalk are the same thickness (3mm).

    Thank you!

    • Avatar

      Hi Dean, thanks for reaching out. Generally speaking, we do not recommend installing additional underlayment beneath a floor that has a pre-attached pad. Too much underlayment can create too much cushioning, and lead to issues with your flooring such as buckling or joint damage. You can go ahead and install your new flooring directly on the subfloor. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  13. Avatar

    Where can fbis Visqueen Vapor Block PE Film Flooring Underlayment | 6MIL 100sf Be bought at? I clicked on the link but it’s available for purchase there I guess. Does Lowe’s or Home Depot have one that you would recommend? We are laying laminate with attached padding on concrete. Can you provide the link to the one you recommend?

    • Avatar

      Hi Allison, thanks for reaching out! We would recommend the Visqueen Vapor Block PE Film Flooring Underlayment for your project. It is currently out of stock, but we have an ETA of October 17, 2018 so you can certainly give us a call to pre-order! 1-800-520-0961 https://bit.ly/2PlncHz

  14. Avatar

    Hello,

    We had laminate installed with attached underlayment and have gotten noise complaints from the unit below. If we are asked to add additional acoustic insulation underneath, what should we do?

    • Avatar

      Hi Michael, thanks for reaching out! We do not recommend installing additional underlayment, as this would create too much cushioning and could sacrifice the joint integrity of your flooring, as well as void your warranty. The only option we can recommend is to pull up your existing flooring and add a layer of rigid cork underlayment on your subfloor. We hope this helps, please let us know if you have any other questions! https://bit.ly/2zZ1XWU

  15. Avatar
    Melvin Curtis Jones

    I am putting laminate flooring on top of laminate flooring. The flooring I am laying has padding is that a problem?

    • Avatar

      Hi Melvin, thanks for reaching out! You cannot install laminate flooring on top of laminate flooring. Laminate is a floating floor that expands and contracts with temperature changes. If you have two layers of laminate, you risk that the floors will shift and you could run into buckling, separation and joint issues. We recommend pulling up the existing laminate and installing directly on the subfloor. Hope this helps!

  16. Avatar

    Hi
    I am getting ready to put 12mm laminate flooring with pre attached padding on my concrete floor that has peal and stick floor tile. Do I still need to use the vapor barrier?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Tim, thanks for your question. We would still recommend using one, as the edges and walls could still have a potential for moisture to become an issue. We’d rather you be safe than sorry!

  17. Avatar

    My son said I should just glue the laminate floor to concrete floor without padding. Do you still need vapor padding. I haven’t picked out my floor yet but he says it makes flooring more stable and want buckle over time if I don’t have the padding put down. My son doesn’t lay flooring he was just giving advice. Is ok to lay laminate flooring down on concrete floor without padding.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Patricia, thanks for the question! You should absolutely not glue the laminate to the concrete subfloor. Laminate is a floating floor, and it needs to be unrestricted to properly expand and contract with temperature changes. By restricting the planks ability to move, you can end up with damaged planks. With any concrete subfloor, you will need a vapor barrier underlayment to protect the floor from any moisture that may come up from the subfloor. You can find more information on installation here: https://www.bestlaminate.com/help/guide-to-laminate-flooring-installation/. Feel free to give us a call at 800-520-0961 if you have any additional questions on laminate flooring!

      • Avatar

        Help…We just laid about 1000 ft of laminate click and lock wit padding attached, However we DID NOT use a vapor barrier….Is this going to be a big problem?

        • Alana Kane

          Hi Kelsey, what subfloor did you install over? If you installed over plywood, you should have no issues. You could experience some over a concrete subfloor.

        • Avatar

          Along the same lines, I just had water-resistant laminate with attached padding installed in an area that is above a crawl space without a moisture barrier (the installer either forgot or didn’t believe me when I said that area was also above crawlspace, and I wasn’t paying attention). Now, I do live in a dry/semi-arid climate and the quite old, plank sub floor showed no signs of moisture issues.

          Should I expect any problems nevertheless?? I’m wondering if I should go ahead and order a few more boxes to have on hand for future problems. Sigh…

          • Alana Kane

            Hi Ann, great question. Although we do recommend a moisture barrier over crawl spaces, you will probably be OK in the climate you described. If your floor is completely waterproof, like a COREtec floor, moisture will probably not affect it. Just be sure to keep your home at a controlled temperature to avoid drastic fluctuations that could cause buckling or gaps.

          • Avatar

            Thank you, Alana. I had someone look at my crawlspace and (as I knew) it’s totally dry and enclosed by the foundation. I was going to have him install plastic but he suggested a moisture absorber instead to see if that’s even necessary, which he doesn’t think it is.

  18. Avatar

    We had 12 mm laminate flooring installed over concrete floors with a 4 or 5 mm liner called “Quiet Walk”. It is felt with a water proof backing. The problem is after about 2 months it began to creak and crack when we walk on it. The noise was minimal at first but has gotten much worse over time. What is wrong? We are thinking a not so good installation. The flooring has an attached backing. Than k you.

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Maria, thanks for your question. So it looks like you put additional underlayment under a plank that had attached underlayment, is that correct? Without seeing your floors, it seems like this could be the issue. Adding two layers of padding will reduce the integrity of your locking system. When the floors are overly cushioned, the floating system is not supported, and the flooring will sink into the cushion as you walk on it. This could be causing the creaking and cracking as you walk on it. The joints are more mobile due to extra cushioning. If possible, we’d recommend re-installing the flooring without additional underlayment. If you’re worried about moisture, opt for a film vapor barrier.

      • Avatar

        Thank you so much. I do believe this is the problem. We have to take steps to have the flooring redone. I hope it is not damaged. The flooring store that sold it to us apparently did not give us the right information. It was Lumber Liquidators. We replaced the floors because of the flood.

        • Alana Kane

          No problem, Maria! Also be sure to leave a proper expansion gap, so your floors have room to expand and contract. This could potentially be some of the issue as well. With laminate, you should be able to carefully un-click and reinstall the planks, as long as the locking system is not damaged. Feel free to let us know if you have any additional questions!

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