The big question on people’s mind when installing a new floor is – do I really need underlay? The short answer is ‘yes’ but it’s not all that simple when it comes to choosing your underlayment products.
The most important reason for using a second layer under your carpet is that it protects the carpet backing from wearing away when people walk on it.
Over time, the textured backing will rub on the sub floor, which is usually made of concrete or wood. Too much rubbing will cause the carpet to deteriorate, lose it’s colour and eventually your hard-earned money will be lost.
This means, that installing an underlay is an essential part of installing a new floor, whether the chosen material is laminate or wood.
It also helps to insulate the room (measured in tog), reduce noise (measured in decibels). However, different products have different levels of tog and db ratings – which is likely to affect the price – more on this below.
So, let’s look at an overview of the benefits.
Makes the subfloor smooth and level
Underlay provides a smooth and level surface for the carpet or laminate to be laid on. This can make you stumble at worst or look unsightly at best after laying the top floor. For example, if you have floor boards that are slightly uneven or concrete that has slight dips in it, then a thicker underlay will help smoothen out these crevasses.
Remember though, if you have very uneven sub floor, then you may need to either screed over the concrete or replace any wooden floor boards
Absorbs Dampness & Moisture
When fitting on concrete floors, underlay can help to absorb moisture that might be present in the room. We often hear that a house is ‘moisture proof’ but it’s always possible that moisture can work it’s way in and it’s often invisible to the naked eye too. Moisture also comes from many sources, so being able to absorb it is vital for any home.
Over time, flooring will become damaged by moisture, especially if the flooring is laminate. What’s more, you might not notice it until it’s too late and the whole floor needs uplifting.
Prevents Mould & Mildew
It’s not just moisture, spillages can also be a problem, especially in family homes. Underlay will prevent any liquid from seeping down the the sub floor and thereby help to avoid mould and mildew building up under the carpet or laminate. Preventing mould and mildew will hugely increase the life of the carpet.
Furthermore, moisture can be a major problem for flooring, and an underlay can help to prevent moisture from seeping through to the flooring material.
Additionally, without an underlay, the room may be more susceptible to cold drafts, making it less energy efficient.
An underlay can also help to insulate the home. Adding particular benefit to drafty or naturally cold homes. The fact that after fitting, you now have an extra layer of material means you have added protection from both sides. The heat going out of the home but also the cold coming in.
What’s more, when floors are cold it leads to a higher energy consumption, meaning just to heat your rooms, you would be spending an increased amount of money on heating bills. Especially during the coldest months.
From a Summer perspective, we have seen unrecognised temperature levels in the UK (and across the workd) over the last coupe of years. So having the added insulation means your rooms would even stay cooler during this period.
If you’re using air conditioning, then you won’t need to spend as much on keeping the room at a comfortable temperature.
See here for the highest insulating products
Reduces Noise Travel through the home
When family members walk through the home, sound waves are transmitted through the rooms. An extra layer of material in each room can help reduce the movement of noise by acting as a shock absorber. Especially useful when it comes to fitting new flooring in the upstairs rooms.
Some specific types of underlay have acoustic properties meaning they will reduce noise even further. Our Tredaire Colours Red is a heavy rubber underlay with one of the highest noise reduction properties out there.
Reducing noise can definitely help to improve the overall comfort in your home and may be especially important in apartment blocks where neighbours require a bit of extra peace and quiet.
In summary, an underlay is an important component of a flooring installation that provides a smooth and level surface, helps to insulate the room, reduces noise and even absorb moisture.
Visit our shop to find the product that’s right for you.