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What is the best underlay for laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring is frequently chosen for homes in Cheshire and elsewhere for its rich, natural wood look. This flooring should be installed on quality underlay, which will prolong the laminate’s life. Here, we will look at the several types of underlay and their benefits.

Standard foam

Standard foam underlay has a thin foam layer that helps minimise noise, and it feels more flexible when walked upon. However, standard foam does not have a vapour barrier, so it is not suitable for damp areas like bathrooms. It is, on the other hand, suitable for plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) subfloors.

Combination

Combination underlays have two layers – a foam layer and a vapour barrier that protects against water and mould growth. These underlays are suitable for plywood, OSB and concrete subfloors.

Cork

Cork underlay is a premium product that reduces noise and prevents mould growth whilst providing good cushioning. It is, however, more expensive than other underlay types.

Points to note

Look for underlay with a thermal rating, known as its R-value. An R-value of two or three means better insulation properties, meaning that the floor will keep warmer when the room temperature drops.

A high-quality cushioned underlay does not need to be thick, as too thick an underlay can cause the laminate panels to flex too much, causing the separation of the seams between boards.

If noise is an issue, use underlay that can absorb sound. Some underlays have a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating, which indicates its ability to block sound.

The best underlay depends on where it is installed, the type of subfloor and if sound and temperature insulation is required.

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