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

by Bob and Betsy
Published: Updated: 69 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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Denisse December 27, 2018 - 11:43 am

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!

Tyler January 3, 2019 - 11:28 am

Denisse, I would highlyu suggest it to be safe, but technically you would not need it.

Judith November 19, 2018 - 6:52 am

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

Tyler November 20, 2018 - 8:53 am

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.

Mary November 7, 2018 - 8:37 pm

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 November 9, 2018 - 11:37 am

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!

AJ January 25, 2019 - 10:24 pm

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 January 31, 2019 - 2:06 pm

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.

Dean October 12, 2018 - 11:13 am

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!

Viena October 15, 2018 - 2:24 pm

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!

Allison October 5, 2018 - 9:13 am

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?

Viena October 8, 2018 - 10:43 am

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

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