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How should I choose laminate flooring underlayment thickness

by Bob and Betsy
Published: Updated: 35 comments 4 minutes read

Dear Bob and Betsy,

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.

Dear John,

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. We have compiled more information for you to help to decide what’s best for you. Cheers! Bob & Betsy

What To Keep In Mind

Underlayment provides three core layers of protection, which is important for a successful laminate flooring installation.

  1. Reducing the sound of footsteps and echoing in the room, making your living space quieter.
  2. Adding a cushioning, water-resistant layer to keep excess moisture out and prevent your floors from warping.
  3. 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.

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Craig December 20, 2020 - 5:30 pm

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!

Vanessa December 21, 2020 - 4:44 pm

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

Dani November 3, 2020 - 4:43 pm

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.

Vanessa November 5, 2020 - 12:33 pm

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.

Mike May 6, 2020 - 10:11 am

I have a house with plank subflooring. If I wanted to put an underlayment over for carpet, how thick is recommended?

Alana Kane May 15, 2020 - 7:33 am

Hi Mike, you should check with your carpet store. We only specialize in hard flooring materials.

Tom October 19, 2019 - 5:06 pm


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?

Alana Kane October 21, 2019 - 3:19 pm

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!

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