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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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Catharina Teunisse May 2, 2019 - 10:53 pm

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.

Alana Kane May 4, 2019 - 3:02 pm

Yes, Catharina! There are plenty of laminate’s without attached underlayment. Do you have a particular look in mind? You can use our filters to see if we have what you’re looking for here: https://www.bestlaminate.com/

James Thomason April 22, 2019 - 1:31 pm

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 April 22, 2019 - 6:04 pm

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.

Jim Triton March 8, 2019 - 4:32 pm

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

Alana Kane March 10, 2019 - 6:33 pm

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.

Cindy March 3, 2019 - 2:26 pm

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.

Alana Kane March 3, 2019 - 5:10 pm

Hi Cindy, thanks for your question. You should never use a double underlayment in a laminate installation. In this case, you should just use a moisture barrier film under your floors above the concrete. If you want to install the Quiet Walk, you will need to get a laminate flooring without an attached underlayment. Here is more details for the vapor barrier film: https://www.bestlaminate.com/visqueen-vapor-block-pe-film-flooring-underlayment/

Tuba February 12, 2019 - 11:14 am

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 February 15, 2019 - 12:30 pm

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.

Dusty Pierce February 19, 2019 - 10:58 am

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 February 19, 2019 - 2:30 pm

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.

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