I’m struggling to understand how I should choose laminate flooring underlayment thickness. What factors do I need to look out for? How do I decide?
– John C.
Great question! Your underlayment sits between the laminate flooring planks and your subfloor. The type you choose has a big impact on the comfort and life of your flooring, so it is important that you make the right choice for your needs.
What To Keep In Mind
Underlayment provides three core layers of protection, which is important for a successful laminate flooring installation.
- Reducing the sound of footsteps and echoing in the room, making your living space quieter.
- Adding a cushioning, water-resistant layer to keep excess moisture out and prevent your floors from warping.
- Insulating your room so that the hot and cold air cannot seep in through the subfloor.
The Types Of Underlayment
Because your laminate flooring is not permanently glued to the floor, the underlayment plays a crucial role in the comfort and protection of your home. There are a few types of underlayment. Knowing these types can help you distinguish which underlayment is right for your project.
- Pre-installed underlayment. Some floors come with underlayment pre-installed. Even when the underlayment is pre-installed, you might still want to add a small moisture barrier layer underneath to keep more moisture away from your flooring. This is usually 3mm thick, or 1/8” thick.
- Standard underlayment. This is the most commonly used underlayment. It is also 3mm thick (1/8” thick) and is best installed over wood subflooring. It only offers basic sound reduction. It does not keep out moisture.
- 3-in-1 underlayment. This type of underlayment provides all three core benefits in one cushion. It keeps vapors, sound, and any other damaging outside forces away from your flooring. It is easy to install over any type of subfloor. 3-in-1 underlayment is also thinner than the others. It is only 2 mm thick.
Choosing the right underlayment is confusing when you are not sure of the differences between the thickness levels. If you have any other questions while preparing for your flooring installation, please contact us using the comment section below! You will be put in touch with a flooring expert for individualized help in selecting the perfect underlayment for your needs.
- Why do I need underlayment for laminate flooring installation?
- Can I Use Cork Underlayment Under Pre-Attached Underlayment?
- Can I use a thick or double layer underlayment with laminate flooring?
*This post was updated from 2014 to give you a better reading experience!
Hi Craig! Due to the space being a laundry room, we would recommend using a waterproof vinyl. You can browse our selections of vinyl here: BestLaminate Vinyls
Hi… I am building a new, not to big, laundry room in my basement. The floor is concrete.. What type of flooring should I go with in this situation? Thank you, in advance!
Hi Dani! When you will be using a wheel chair and medical patient lift, we always recommend using a material that can be glued down to the subfloor.
I am considering putting in laminate flooring. I will be installing on a cement slab. I have a patient medical lift and a wheel chair that will be used on it. I have found an 8mm floor I am interested in. The product description mentioned it comes with an underlayment. I have read that i should not use anything but a vapor barrier, but I was wondering if a 2mm 3in1 underlayment would be ok? I can tell there are some imperfections in the sub-floor.
Hi Mike, you should check with your carpet store. We only specialize in hard flooring materials.
I have a house with plank subflooring. If I wanted to put an underlayment over for carpet, how thick is recommended?
Hi Tom, thanks for the question. I would recommend using this underlay for a click floor install. A glue down install will not use underlayment. As far as thickness, I think you will be ok due to the plank being quite thick. Hope this helps!
I am planning to install 1/2 inch click engineered hardwood flooring in our house on wood subfloors. We have a 5 mm underlay material but I’;ve been told that it might be too thick for the flooring and cause it to come apart. The underlay is designed for engineered flooring but doesn’t say if it is for click flooring, nail down or glue down flooring. What would you recommend?
Hi Terry, valid question! With the COREtec flooring, you have a rigid core and the cork. Cork is a more sturdy type of underlayment. With this product, you could add an LVT grade underlayment beneath it and it will not compromise the joints. Keep in mind LVT underlayments are typically only 1.5mm or less.
Hello, we are considering the Cortec LVP. We have a good wood subfloor but the lvp is 8mm and we are trying to bring up the height of the lvp to be close to 1/2″ or 12mm to be close to ceramic tile in an adding room. The coretec product has a thin layer of cork. We are looking to raise the coretec 3mm to be close. We don’t want to use 1/8 luan so considering acoustic underlayment to build it up. I am just concerned if the lvp will be springy or not. The best solution is a 12mm but their patterns/color didn’t match our tile.
Hi Pamela, what type of subfloor are you laying it on? If you have concrete, you will want to use a vapor barrier underlayment. If you have wood subfloors, you can use a standard underlayment. If you’re looking for noise reduction, you may want to look into an underlayment, such as Floor Muffler that has a high sound reduction rating. You can find all of our underlayments here: https://www.bestlaminate.com/accessories/underlayment/. Also, here is our complete guide to underlayment: https://www.bestlaminate.com/help/underlayment-guide/
I meant to say laminate flooring that is 12mm thick.
I am having laminate flooring put down on a subfloor that is 12mm thick. What would be the best underlayment to use with this? Thank you.
Since you are using a 7mm flooring, I would advise against going thicker to keep the joint integrity strong. 1 additional mm will not make a huge difference. Each underlayment has their own special qualities. Some of the top rated ones are only 2mm.
Hi, but can a 3mm underlayment be used for a 7mm laminate flooring, I understand that a 3mm underlayment is better, is this true.
Hi, but is a 3mm underlayment better than the 2mm
Hi Lydia, I would stick with a 2mm foam underlayment. Our 3-in-1 blue will be a good option for you: https://www.bestlaminate.com/vapor-3-in-1-blue-underlayment-100-sq-ft-roll/
Hi, what type and thickness underlayment is best for 7mm laminate flooring that will go in mobile home
I would always recommend checking with the manufacturer of the floor. If it were to void the warranty then I would not suggest it.
Thank you Tyler. Appreciate it. I am more concerned about the cushion which is needed for the dance floor. Otherwise on the longer run it might hurt dancers knee! So i was checking on underlayment as which would be the best one to go with. As of now I am planning to go with 7mm vinyl plank with padding and with .60” Tranquility Ultra underlayment. Is that fine? Hope it will not create too much of padding. And also I see that this vinyl plank warranty goes void if I put any underlayment. But looks lilke I can’t help it.
And also one Vinyl has 6mil wear thickness and another one has 28mil. Will go for the second one as per your suggestion. Thank you.
Seema – I apologize but I am not sure I am going to have a good answer for you. My biggest suggestion would be to get the most heavy duty wear layer of a vinyl flooring to install and this would hold up the best.
HI, I am converting my basement concrete floor to dancing studio by installing Vinyl laminate flooring which has padding along with that. But as Indian dancing has lots of stamping, planning to go for more cushion by adding 3mm with a moisture barrier of plastic sheet. Please let me know if its ok to do it or I have to skip the extra padding? Thank you
Hey Rachel, padding is only intended as one layer – doubling up can cause too much flexing and buckle the floor.
We want to add a 3 in 1 flooring but it’s only 2mm. Can we add extra padding to make it more cushioned? We would be using it on cement flooring and plywood flooring.
Thanks in advance.
Hi Patty, thanks for reaching out. Laminate flooring can certainly be installed on top of a plywood subfloor. Since laminate is a floating floor, you will need to install underlayment to allow the floor to float. We recommend our Standard Underlayment, which will allow your floor to float, even out minor imperfections in the sub-floor and absorb sound when walking on the floor. Here is the link for your reference: https://www.bestlaminate.com/standard-3mm-underlayment/
We are renavating a house and need to know in a 10 year old boy and a 3 year old boy, Can I put Laminate flooring on top of press wood or partacle board?
If I can what underlayment do I need to put down first? ?? Thanks
Hi Levon, thanks for your question. We would recommend a 10mm laminate with a 3mm underlayment, and using a transition piece from the balcony door. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 800-520-0961.
Hello , me and my wife doing living room renovation and we can not extend the height of the balcony door as it’s on max at present . However thickness of the floor is limited by 13 mm in total . What will be right to choose 8 mm laminate with 5 mm underlay or 10mm laminate with 3 mm underlay?
Hi Mark, thanks for the question. Yes, it is totally fine to use an underlayment with a vapor barrier. You don’t necessarily need one with a wood subfloor, but it doesn’t hurt to have one! Best of luck with your project.
Hello. Me and my wife are using 12mm thick laminate and are placing it over a wood subfloor. Is it okay to use a underlayment that contains a vapor barrier. it seems it hard to find underlayment that is quiet without the vapor barrier.
Hi Sharon – Great question! 2mm-3mm is pretty standard when it comes to thickness of underlayment, so you are not going overboard at all!
A word of caution: Because you are installing over concrete, you definitely need a vapor barrier (also called a moisture barrier or vapor block). Some underlayment, probably like your 3-in-1, already has a vapor barrier built into it, such as our Bestlaminate 3-in-1 Felt Flooring Underlayment. You can also install them separately, such as installing Visqueen Vapor Block PE Film Flooring Underlayment, then installing Standard Flooring Underlayment, and finally installing your flooring last.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to reply to this comment, or email us at [email protected]!
Hi there, my husband and I are putting 8mm laminate in two bedrooms. We are putting it over concrete flooring. We don’t want to buy overkill underlayment and waiste money. Is 2mm with 3 in one protection. Or should we go with 3 mm. They sell both , but of course the 3mm is more. What are your recommendations.
Definitely Max! Glad the article was helpful.
I didn’t know that laminate flooring could help make our living space quieter like you said! My wife and I have been looking for a new floor for our home to change things up a little bit, and I think that laminate could be really good for us. Our current floors are loud, so having quiet laminate floors would be a welcome change for us! Thanks for the help!
Hi Tom! Thanks for your question. It will depend on which type of laminate you purchase. You can find Pergo flooring without underlayment attached, which will allow you to purchase a premium laminate that could help even out your subfloor. If you have a laminate with attached underlayment, it is not recommended to add additional padding underneath. You may want to consider fixing your subfloor with an additional OSB layer or sanding the subfloor to improve the levelness (depending on the thickness). Feel free to give one of our flooring experts a call at 800-520-0961 if you have additional concerns!
I appreciate your site. I attempted putting laminate in my den three years ago, but found the particleboard floor was uneven in some places causing the laminate to bounce as you mention. I tried using roofing felt paper and got most of the room done, but being a perfectionist, I stopped and ended up pulling it up and selling the laminate. Now I have read a few places a person can put padding down in spots to avoid the bouncing. Pergo flooring comes with padding so if I recall right, they don’t encourage putting pad under their product. Leveling compound is out due to the particleboard. So is padding a viable solution. We are not talking big dips, but maybe 1/8 -3/16″ in some places. Enough I could tell the laminate was being pushed down when walking on it.