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: 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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Jason Hilberer February 11, 2020 - 11:17 am

I am installing laminate flooring over my concrete floor (slab on grade) The slab has in-floor heat and also a 10 mil poly vapor barrier under it. Should I be using another moisture barrier on top of the floor if there is already one under the concrete?

Alana Kane February 17, 2020 - 3:07 am

Hi Jason, thanks for your question. It is always recommended to use a vapor barrier over concrete since it is porous. Most underlayments for laminate have a vapor barrier already within the product.

Martha Murrell December 30, 2019 - 2:13 pm

Is laminate with particle board for underlying good or shall i lay another underlying on tile flooring

Alana Kane December 31, 2019 - 1:12 pm

Hi Martha, thanks for the question. You should always use an underlayment when it comes to laminate. If your laminate has attached underlayment, then you will not need additional padding. If you only have the laminate plank, you will need underlayment. You can shop our options here: https://www.bestlaminate.com/accessories/underlayment/

Gisela Schimmelpfeng October 29, 2019 - 3:02 pm

Excellent information. Thank you

Alana Kane October 29, 2019 - 4:42 pm

Glad it could help!

Elizabeth A Watts August 8, 2019 - 5:21 pm

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 August 12, 2019 - 10:52 pm

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.

Jacob May 3, 2019 - 10:46 pm

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

Alana Kane May 4, 2019 - 3:16 pm

Hi Jacob, yes you will need a standard foam pad. This will cushion the floor and help reduce the sound.

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