Home Laminate FlooringLaminate Flooring BuyingChoosing Can I Install Underlayment Under Flooring with Pre-Attached Padding?

Can I Install Underlayment Under Flooring with Pre-Attached Padding?

by Bob and Betsy
Published: Updated: 71 comments 5 minutes read

Dear Bob and Betsy,
When installing flooring, is it okay to use additional underlayment if the flooring already has attached padding?
-Craig S

Dear Craig,

Flooring with pre-attached padding (also known as 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 is already attached. When it comes to installing flooring, it is important to consider the type of flooring and the specific installation instructions provided by the manufacturer. In some cases, the flooring may come with attached padding or underlayment, which is designed to provide additional cushioning and insulation for the floor. We have compiled more information for you to help to decide what’s best for your project. Happy remodeling! Bob & Betsy

Avoid excessive padding to prevent potential problems

When installing a floor with pre-attached underlayment, we generally do not recommend adding extra padding.

Underlayment serves the purpose of providing cushioning for your flooring and allowing it to float. It is particularly important for floating floors, like laminate and vinyl, which expand and contract with temperature changes.

Some homeowners may be tempted to add even more underlayment or padding on top of the existing layer, either to further enhance the cushioning or to address issues with uneven subfloors. While adding extra underlayment may seem like a simple solution, it is not always the best idea. Adding too much underlayment can result in an unstable surface, similar to placing a thick sponge under your flooring. This instability can lead to issues such as buckling, separating planks, and permanent damage to the locking system.

Vapor Barrier

There is one exception to this rule – vapor barrier.

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

We recommend using our Visqueen Vapor Block PE Film. This plastic film will add moisture protection to your floor wherever there is a possibility of moisture coming up from the subfloor.

Work row by row when installing Visqueen 6Mil PE Vapor Barrier

Installing new flooring involves numerous factors to consider, including the subfloor, underlayment, and type of flooring. Each element must be carefully evaluated to achieve best results. If you have any questions, our team of flooring experts is here to assist you in making your installation process hassle-free.

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71 comments

Michael October 4, 2018 - 4:23 pm

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?

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Viena October 8, 2018 - 10:38 am

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

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Melvin Curtis Jones September 11, 2018 - 12:19 am

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

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Viena September 11, 2018 - 10:34 am

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!

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Tim July 29, 2018 - 1:44 pm

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?

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Alana Kane July 31, 2018 - 2:09 pm

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!

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Patricia November 10, 2017 - 9:17 am

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.

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Alana Kane November 10, 2017 - 11:03 am

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!

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Kelsey March 5, 2018 - 2:36 pm

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?

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Alana Kane March 9, 2018 - 11:03 am

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.

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ANN March 13, 2018 - 2:13 am

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…

Reply
Alana Kane March 13, 2018 - 10:12 am

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.

ANN March 15, 2018 - 7:04 pm

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.

Maria Rogers June 7, 2017 - 10:06 pm

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.

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Alana Kane June 8, 2017 - 10:10 am

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.

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Maria Rogers June 8, 2017 - 10:10 pm

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.

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Alana Kane June 9, 2017 - 10:44 am

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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