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

Access Doors and Panels March 17, 2021 - 9:09 am

Keep up the great work! Thank you so much for sharing a great posts.

Reply
Vanessa March 19, 2021 - 9:14 am

Thank you!

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Don Schermerhorn January 23, 2021 - 10:18 am

Good morning! We have purchased 800sq.ft. of 10mm Quick Step laminate flooring (with padding) as well as 2mm Floor Comfort underlayment to be installed over our sub floor. Our house is a modular and is 14 years old. The sub floor is level, but, has a few imperfections. I have read all the other questions and answers, so I am guessing what you would say…but, because of the importance of a smooth base for the laminated floor, can I still install the underlayment?
We are doing our living room and dining room. Directly underneath is our non insulated basement.
Thank you for your time!!

Reply
Vanessa January 25, 2021 - 1:01 pm

Hi Don! If the imperfections on the subfloor are most (deeper) than a quarter of an inch, you may need to level the subfloor. If not, the 2mm underlayment should help with the imperfections on the subfloor.

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James Gray November 1, 2020 - 5:43 am

Get some great stuff here. Thank you for this info.

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Vanessa November 2, 2020 - 8:46 am

Thanks James!

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Nial Jackson October 24, 2020 - 9:58 pm

I just want to ask “Is attached underlayment better?”

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Vanessa October 26, 2020 - 9:04 am

Hi Nial! Attached underlayment isn’t necessarily better than underlayment that comes in a roll. The attached underlayment does help with installation, by cutting out the step of rolling out and installing the underlayment.

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Diane May 19, 2020 - 11:20 pm

We are installing laminate planking with attached underlayment. We are installing this on our basement floor. There is a border of ceramic tile around the entire area and also an area of ceramic tile under a free standing fireplace. We removed the carpeting that had been in the room but did not remove the tile. We laid a plywood subfloor over the concrete where the carpeting had been to bring the floor up to the height of the tile. The subfloor is less than 1/8″ from the height of the tile. Can we run the planking over the tile and the subfloor? Or will the slight difference in height cause us problems? Also, do you recommend leveling the grouted areas of the tile before laying the planking?

Reply
Alana Kane June 1, 2020 - 3:13 am

Hi Diane, thanks for the question. Yes, the height difference can matter and cause the feeling of hollowness where the plank will dip down into the low spots. It can also cause joint damage over time. You should start with a level subfloor, so yes, filling in the grout lines is also recommended.

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