Home Vinyl FlooringBuying Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring – Vapor Barrier on Wood Sub Floor?

Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring – Vapor Barrier on Wood Sub Floor?

by Bestlaminate
Published: Updated: 12 comments 1 minutes read

Should I use a vapor barrier on a wood sub-floor when installing vinyl plank flooring? We get this question a lot! It is not required, but we recommend using the Visqueen Vapor Barrier with all vinyl plank flooring installations.

The Visqueen acts as a barrier between the flooring and the sub floor, and allows the vinyl planks to float above the sub floor, and smoothly expand and contract with the temperature and humidity changes in your home. This is also an extra piece of protection if you have any water leaking underneath the vinyl planks. Vinyl is waterproof, however, if water is unable to escape under the planks, you could see mold and mildew begin to form. We see this happen often with sliding glass and patio doors!

Most manufacturers of the vinyl planks flooring will request installation of Visqueen PE film underlayment, so make sure to read manufacturer installation rules and requirements before installing your floor to avoid any potential problems.

Learn more about preparing your subfloor, and get a step-by-step guide to installing you vinyl flooring here.

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Cecily March 18, 2019 - 3:34 pm


I’m installing vinyl plank flooring over a tongue and groove subfloor. The home is elevated on pier and beam foundation. Would I need to install an underlayment or a vapor barrier onto of subfloor prior to installing the click n d lock plank flooring.

Alana Kane March 19, 2019 - 12:53 am

Hi Cecily, thanks for the question. Since you’re on a pier and beam subfloor, it would be in your best interest to have a vapor barrier due to moisture being a potential risk under the subfloor. You could do a vinyl underlayment that includes a vapor barrier, or simply use a vapor block film. You can find both of them here: https://www.bestlaminate.com/accessories/underlayment/vinyl-underlayment/

Andrea June 8, 2018 - 9:34 pm

Has anyone heard of the toxic VOCs emitted from this type of flooring?

Pam April 22, 2018 - 8:13 pm

OK. I think I replied to Jamila instead of asking my own question. Well, I hope someone finds it anyway and gives me feedback!

Pam April 22, 2018 - 8:08 pm

I have read through this blog and appreciate the answers, but did not see this particular question. In an entryway/utility room that gets A LOT of wet foot traffic due to farm work, rain and snow soaked clothes and boots, and three sloppy dogs, should I put in the vapor barrier under the vinyl click floor I am going to install? The subfloor is Advantech OSB, quite resistant itself. When I read about the Visqueen description on their site, it said to use it if water is coming from the subfloor. This is not the case as the subfloor is on floor joists and not concrete, and the entry door has an 8′ porch over it so it takes a severe wind to drive rain or snow to the door. Another told me to just paint this subfloor with the oil based sealer recommended and lay the click floor.

Viena April 23, 2018 - 9:37 am

Hi Pam, thanks for your comment. Vinyl flooring is definitely the best option for your project! Typically, we recommend Visqueen vapor barrier underlayment on a cement subfloor where there is a concern of moisture coming up from the subfloor. The vapor barrier will prevent the moisture from coming through, and protect your floor from mold and mildew. In your case, you don’t need the vapor barrier. The surface of the floor will not let water through because the planks are locked together. We recommend using caulk along the transition from your doorway, to prevent moisture from coming through there. If you are still concerned, you could consider a ceramic tile landing right by the doorway, to guarantee that moisture will never be a problem in that area. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

Jamila September 3, 2017 - 6:35 pm

Hi. Our subfloor in master’s bedroom is wood but under that wood is concrete. Do we still need underlayment for that?.. We do have long cabinet but not a wardrobe and i think is quite heavy. What is the best vinyl to use?

Ashley Tolfo September 5, 2017 - 11:06 am

Hi Jamila – If you are installing any floating floor, you should install underlayment regardless of the type of subfloor you have. Underlayment is important for floating floors because it provides cushioning, joint integrity, noise dampening properties, and allows for the flooring to expand and contract properly. Even though vinyl flooring is not a wood flooring, it still expands and contracts and you still have to leave expansion gaps when installing it as a floating floor.

I would recommend choosing Perfect Mat LVT or Floor Muffler LVT for your underlayment. Both are mildew and mold resistant, so they will not develop any should there be any moisture that forms and transfers onto your wood subfloor. Concrete is a porous floor so there is a chance that your wood subfloor may develop mold or mildew, which could then transfer to your vinyl flooring. Having an underlayment with mold and mildew blocking properties will prevent this from ruining your new flooring.

If you are installing a non-movable cabinet in your master bedroom, you should install the cabinet first before installing the flooring – similar to the way you would install kitchen cabinets. You would then install your flooring around the cabinet, leaving an expansion gap around the cabinet’s base. If this is a movable cabinet or dresser, you should consider a 5mm + thick vinyl or a WPC + vinyl and put felt cushions on the bottoms of the feet of the cabinet/dresser to help distribute the weight so it does not dent your vinyl.

I know this is a lot of information, but I hope it helps you! If you have any more questions, please reply to this comment or send us an email at [email protected]. If you are interested in any of the floors, we offer free samples so you can see them for yourself in person! Give us a call 1-800-520-0961 and we will be happy to help you!

Andrea June 8, 2018 - 9:37 pm

What about the emission of VOCs from the vinyl flooring

Alana Kane June 13, 2018 - 9:38 am

Hi Andrea, thanks for your question. Vinyl floors have a very low VOC and all of the vinyl we sell is Phthalate-free. There is no standard certification labeling for vinyl, but most are rated by Floor Score for safety. You can find most of the certifications within our product listings. If you have any other questions, please let us know!

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