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Can I Use Underlayment Under Vinyl Flooring For Warmth?

Dear Bob and Betsy,
I live in northern Michigan and it can get cold in the winter. Can I use underlayment under vinyl flooring as insulation to keep my house warm? If so, what kind of underlayment is best?
Thanks! Silvia O.

Dear Sylvia,

BRRR! Winters in Michigan don’t sound fun! We can understand why you would be concerned with warmth and insulation in any place you can get it. There is some good news and bad news when it comes to underlayment and vinyl flooring.

No Thick Underlayment Under Vinyl Flooring

Unfortunately, adding insulating underlayment under vinyl flooring will cause the flooring to be unstable. Because vinyl flooring isn’t made from wood products, it does not have the same structure that laminate flooring does. Vinyl flooring needs to have a sturdy, stable sub-floor with very little cushioning regardless of the installation type: glue-down, click-lock, or loose lay. However, if you are installing vinyl flooring over a concrete sub-floor, you will need a very thin vapor barrior, such as Visqueen Vapor Barrier underlayment to protect your flooring from moisture.

Visqueen 6Mil PE Vapor Barrier
Visqueen 6Mil PE Vapor Barrier

If You’re Set On Having Insulation Under Your Floor…

If you are set on having the warmth and insulation under your flooring, we would suggest switching to laminate flooring. Laminate flooring has to have underlayment in order to float the flooring. There are lots of different underlayments to choose from for your specific needs. If you’re looking for insulation, we recommend Robert’s Super Felt Premium Underlayment. The felt adds lots of insulation and sound dampening properties that will keep you warm and your floors quiet!

Roberts Super Felt Premium Underlayment
Roberts Super Felt Premium Underlayment

Do you still have questions about vinyl flooring or underlayment? Feel free to comment in the space below and we will be happy to help!

More About Underlayment:

About Bob and Betsy

Bob and Betsy
Bob and Betsy are the dynamic duo that have all the answers for your flooring related questions! Don't hesitate to submit a question to them at support@bestlaminate.com!

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  1. I am installing vynal plank in my kitchen. I leveled the floor and screwed down a 1/4 inch subfloor. Do I have to cover all the screw holes before I glue down the venal plank, and if I do what product do I use.

  2. Just moved into condo built on a slab. Northeast winters are cold. Laminate flooring will go directly over existing tile. What do I use underneath flooring to help alleviate cold?

    • Tyler

      Hey Cathie, there is really not a padding that is going to keep the floor from feeling cold. Obviously a thicker pad will help, but it still may get cold at times.

  3. I am in the process of removing old tile from my concrete basement laundry room that has a drain. I am planning to use Allure Traffic Master Luxury vinyl Plank flooring on our budget because it is water resistances and from my understanding can be lay directly on the concrete. My question would be would I have to level the floor where the drain slightly dips. Also, would I need to use a any sort of vapor barrier? I live in Michigan, so we get all kinds of weather conditions.

    • Tyler

      Hey Matthew, if the dip is greater than a quarter of an inch, then yes I would level it off. If the material is water proof, no padding or vapor barrier is necessary to put under!

  4. We are having our flooring replaced. We have a concrete subfloor. Thinking of going with Luxury vinyl. This is the main entryway, living area, family room (all high traffic area). What kind of vinyl (2mm or 8mm) and underlayment would be appropriate? We live in Houston, Texas and it gets HOT in summer. We deal with humidity too.

    • Tyler

      Hello! If you want a floating floor, the 2mm option is not going to be for you. That would be a glue down floor since it is so thin. Any thickness vinyl would work though asd it is always going to be waterproof!

  5. I am removing an engineered bamboo floor to replace it with vinyl plank flooring. Could I just leave the underlayment from the bamboo floor?

    • Tyler

      Hey Tom, unfortunately no. Vinyl flooring needs a special padding for vinyl, so one for a bamboo is not going to work for that sort of install. Hope this helps!

  6. Can linoleum flooring be used over radiant heated floor ? If yes, up to what degree of temperature is safe or recommended.

    • Hi Gurmukh, thanks for reaching out. There are many types of radiant heating solutions, and a large variety of linoleum and vinyl flooring options. When purchasing your radiant heating, we recommend finding an option that is made specifically for your type of flooring. Here at Bestlaminate, we offer vinyl plank flooring. It is safe to use most radiant heating solutions beneath vinyl plank flooring; however, we always recommend checking with the manufacturer of the heating. Hope this helps!

  7. Our living room is 12′ x 33′. we plan to put down vinyl plank. What size plank would recommend? Would this be the same size plank for the bathrooms and bedrooms?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Jim, thanks for the question! It all depends on what style you’re going for. If you want the same look throughout your home, you would want to put the same plank in all the rooms. Most commonly, you’ll find vinyls from 5mm to 8mm in width. If you want more of a rustic or modern look, a wider plank would be nice. A more traditional look, a thinner plank. Keep in mind, if you go with a wide plank, a smaller room may be harder to accommodate. Anything between 5-7mm, you should be fine!

  8. Can you install Lifeproof flooring over an electric floor heat the floor heat recommend underpayment to stop heat lose the electric floor needs to be set in thin set

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Lester, thanks for the question. Most vinyls can be installed over an electric radiant heating system. We do not sell this particular brand, so you would need to refer to the manufacturer instructions or ask the store for more details on this particular brand.

  9. Can you use foam insulation as an ubderlayment for laminated floors and How would you do this?

  10. Dear Bob and Betsy I have a friend who used siding underpayment for their laminate flooring.Although it looks just like the insulating you use under laminate, it says it is combustible..can you use this?

    • Alana Kane

      Hi Martha, thanks for the question. We would NOT recommend using siding underlayment. Flooring underlayment is specifically manufactured to support your floor, aid in moisture prevention and other variables. By using non-flooring underlayment, you run the risk of potential flooring damage with moisture, buckling and more. It will also void your warranty by not using correct materials. Let us know if you have any additional questions!

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