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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!

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15 comments

  1. Melvin Curtis Jones

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

    • 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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.

  4. 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.

      • 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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