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How should I choose laminate flooring underlayment thickness

by Bob and Betsy
Published: Last Updated on 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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Terry July 18, 2019 - 9:01 am

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.

Alana Kane July 23, 2019 - 2:07 pm

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.

Pamela Davis April 26, 2019 - 2:20 pm

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.

Pamela April 26, 2019 - 2:21 pm

I meant to say laminate flooring that is 12mm thick.

Alana Kane April 26, 2019 - 8:52 pm

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/

Lydia April 21, 2019 - 3:05 am

Hi, what type and thickness underlayment is best for 7mm laminate flooring that will go in mobile home

Alana Kane April 21, 2019 - 11:09 am

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/

Lydia April 24, 2019 - 1:29 am

Hi, but is a 3mm underlayment better than the 2mm

Alana Kane April 26, 2019 - 10:46 am

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.

Lydia April 24, 2019 - 11:16 am

Hi, but can a 3mm underlayment be used for a 7mm laminate flooring, I understand that a 3mm underlayment is better, is this true.

Seema Kudur Viswanath January 23, 2019 - 9:57 am

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

Tyler January 23, 2019 - 2:18 pm

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.

Seema Kudur Viswanath January 23, 2019 - 3:22 pm

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.

Tyler January 24, 2019 - 9:36 am

I would always recommend checking with the manufacturer of the floor. If it were to void the warranty then I would not suggest it.

Rachel December 19, 2018 - 11:18 pm

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.

Tyler December 21, 2018 - 11:59 am

Hey Rachel, padding is only intended as one layer – doubling up can cause too much flexing and buckle the floor.

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