What’s under your feet (or how you get around) is as important as anything when it comes to the house. That’s why this fall, we collaborated with The Home Depot on an A-to-Z guide that will give you the confidence to make the flooring choices you’ll love. Read the manual from A to Z here.
If there is one element of flooring to consider as an indispensable ally, it is the underlay. A thin layer of material that runs between your visible flooring (hardwood, vinyl, tile, you name it) and the subfloor, it’s a hidden problem solver that can solve several unexpected flooring problems. Whether you are relying on it to create a solid, flat surface for the flooring, prevent potential damage from moisture, reduce noise, or all of the above, there is an underlay material that is suitable specifically for your project, and it can be found at The Home Depot.
The underlay is the barrier between the floor and the sub-floor
The underlayment is made of both “hard” and “soft” materials, which are used in different cases. “Hard” materials, such as plywood and cement “backer” panels, attach to the subfloor itself and work best with types of flooring such as tile. “Soft” materials, such as foam, fiber and cork, frequently work with “floating” flooring applications – including luxury vinyl, engineered hardwood and laminate – and are not attached directly. in the sub-floor.
The manufacturer will likely tell you what you need, so be sure to check their recommendations. Plus, many newer models of luxury vinyl and laminate floors come with the underlayment already built in, making it easier to DIY without any extra steps.
The underlay makes things smooth and stable
The primary purpose of the underlayment is to create the smoothest, most favorable surface possible for visible flooring, and typically reaches a thickness of about ¼ “to ½”. This is especially important in situations where the subfloor is not exactly flat, such as in older homes or repair rods, and will ensure the durability and comfort of the flooring as it inevitably responds to changes over time. time.
He keeps things dry like a bone
No one wants mold and mildew under the surface of a floor, and without an underlayment this is a major risk in many rooms in the house, especially basements. In any areas where humidity tends to be high, a moisture-resistant underlayment – such as pretreated backerboard – will help prevent water vapor from potentially damaging your fresh hardwood or laminate. posed, which can deform and deform.
It helps to minimize noise
If noise is spreading farther into your home than you’d like, an underlayment with noise-reducing properties should be on your radar. There are several rating systems out there that test the acoustics of flooring to determine how well they withstand dropped feet, howling TVs and everything in between. But when it comes to the underlayment, the systems test known as Delta IIC is your best resource, which specifically helps determine the effectiveness of different types of underlayments in removing noise.
The higher the Delta IIC score, the greater the degree of noise cancellation (measured in decibels) added by the soundproofing underlay. Felt, rubber, or recycled fiber underlayments are often put to good use here and are useful in any type of high traffic area, not just a home recording studio. Bonus: An underlay that absorbs sound can often be effective at trapping heat, helping floors retain heat longer when temperatures drop.
Think about ecological cork
It could be more expensive, but cork is an eco-friendly, naturally bug-repellent, hypoallergenic, and sound-absorbing underlay option for homeowners committed to a greener lifestyle. Cork is also a great conductor of energy, so it’s a good option if you have radiant heat.
Do not use it in areas prone to moisture: Even with a moisture barrier, the porous nature of cork means it will not perform as well under these conditions.