Underlay for your wooden floorJuly 11, 2018
When laying floorboards, you need a good underlay, there are a few different styles and types. Underlay is needed when a floating floor is being installed. A floating floor is one where the floor isn’t permanently fixed down to the ground beneath it. Underlays are not used or needed for solid wooden floors.
All laminated or engineered floors are commonly called *Floating Floors* and there are several types of underlay available for floating floors, all with different properties to suit different requirements or needs.
This is only 3mm thick which is sometimes seen as a negative but, when it comes to floating floors the less movement the better. Roll style underlays generally compress and give slightly absorbent properties. If they were thicker this would lead to excessive movement which can cause issues with a floating floor later on. While a roll underlay does have some acoustic properties they won’t prevent noise completely, but they do give some insulation benefits – of course this depends on the quality of the underlay you purchase.
There are 4 types of roll underlay – one comes with a built in vapour barrier or damp proof membrane but this is NOT a method of waterproofing your floors. Vapour barriers are produced to prevent moisture from a sub floor effecting your new floor covering and have been designed for use on ground floors.
The second type of underlay has been produced without a vapour barrier but it is made from the same quality material. These are ideal for first floor and upwards installation.
The third type of underlay is referred to as *white Foam Underlay* – it is generally 2 to 3 mm thick and is a thin and lightweight foam. It is often the cheapest of all the wood floor underlays and it has very little insulating properties or sound reduction properties but it is a good budget underlay.
The fourth wood underlay is basically similar to the roll underlays mentioned above but is comes boxed and not on a roll, it’s still only 3mm thick, but comes folded and incorporates a built in vapour barrier.
All of these underlays are perfect for engineered timber flooring and laminates – they are easy to fit and can be cut with a utility knife. They can be placed over existing floorboards, solid floors, ply-board, chipboard and pre-finished floors such as vinyl or tiles.
Block Board Underlay
It can be made using different materials and ranges in thickness from 5mm to 7mm and is a lightweight polystyrene material. The advantage of this style of underlay is it’s levelling ability – if there are any small imperfection on your sub floor this type of underlay is good at absorbing slight problems. Block Board doesn’t come with a vapour barrier so a vapour barrier underlay will need to be purchased separately.