Vinyl Floors

Best Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring

Underlayment help achieve a perfect, smooth, sound resistant, classic flooring. Underlayment should help to overcome subfloor imperfections. The best underlayment should have features that provide increased sound absorption, smooth comfortable feel on your feet and improved thermal barrier during summer and winter. But which is the best underlayment for vinyl flooring?

Below are the 7 top-ranked underlayment for vinyl flooring.

Top 7 Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring

Underlayment Name + Brand Features My Rating Reviews
FLOORLOT SHOP. FLOORS. DELIVERED. 200sq ft 3mm Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Underlayment FLOORLOT Blue Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier
  • Moisture and vapor barrier 
  • Covers 260 sq ft area.
  • Prevent mold and mildew.
  • 3 mm thick foam.
Roberts 70-193A Super 360 sq 60 in. x 72 ft. x 3 mm Felt Cushion Roll for Engineered Wood-vinyl Roberts 70-193A Super Felt Cushion Roll Flooring
  • Quite thick 3-4 mm.
  • Covers 360 sq ft area.
  • Provide maximum sound absorption.
first step 630 square ft roll underlayment for vinyl flooring First Step 630-Square Foot Roll
  • Antimicrobial protection.
  • Multipurpose.
  • Air movement inhibits mold growth.
  • Corrects sub-floor imperfections
Roberts 70-025 Qep 70-029 Unison Underlayment-for vinyl plank flooring Roberts 70-025 Qep 70-029 Unison
  • Polyethylene foam.
  • Covers 100 sq ft area.
  • 3” adhesive strip for seamless protection.
3in1 Vapor Barrier Flooring Underlayment wOverlap & preattached Tape Strip Best laminate 3-in-1 Flooring Underlayment
  • Lightweight weigh 0.16 ounces
  • Covers 100 sq.ft area.
  • Cost friendly + self-adhesive tape.
QEP 72003Q cork underlayment-for vinyl sheet flooring QEP 72003Q Cork Underlayment
  • Thermal transmission compatible.
  • Good sound absorption.
  • Lightweight (28.9 pounds) DIYs 100 sq ft area installation.
AMERIQUE 691322306255 Premium 3-In-1 Heavy Duty Foam 3MM Thick Flooring Underlayment Padding with Tape & Vapor Barrier-vinyl flooring AMERIQUE 691322306255 Premium 3-In-1 Flooring Underlayment
  • Non allergenic underlayment.
  • High sound absorption.
  • Best with anti-crush technology.
QuietWalk Plus QW100PLUS Underlayment for Hardwood, Laminate and Vinyl Plank Flooring with Moisture Vapor Barrier and Sound Absorption-vinyl flooring QuietWalk Underlayment
  • Dense fibers-compression resistant.
  • Non -VOC and off-gassing fibers.
  • 5 X protection against leaky plumbing .

1. FLOORLOT Blue Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Underlayment

Best Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring - FLOORLOT Blue Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Underlayment
  • Covers a large area up to 200 sq ft per each roll.
  • It provides moisture and vapor barrier that prevents the formation of mold and mildew.
  • Thick foam of 3mm proving good comfort and able to reduce and absorb sound.
  • Additional tape packed for easy installation.

Floorlot Blue Laminate Flooring Under-layment that come attached Vapor Barrier and minimises hollow sound made by floating flooring. The vapour barrier provides a superior protection to your vinyl flooring.

The foam is cushioned to provide a lot of comforts, the 3mm is large enough to overcome the sub-floor irregularities and imperfections on your floor. The underlayment comes with peel and stick tape for the overlap system which allows easy installation for DIYs. This underlayment provides exceptional value to your house for decades with its vapor and noise barrier foam.

The blue underlayment is economical and effective to address sub-floor problems in your flooring especially the moisture problem. They can be installed even in the basement. Its also compatible with other floors like laminate, hardwood and engineered wood.

2. Roberts 70-193A Super Felt Cushion Roll Flooring Underlayment

Roberts 70-193A Super Felt Cushion Roll  Flooring Underlayment
  • Covers a large surface area up to 360 sq ft per roll
  • Quite thick 3-4 mm and wide (12 x 12.2 x 60” dimension) for maximum sound absorption
  • Has an adhesive strip of 1-3/4” and 3” overlap for linking multiple rolls.

The super felt insulating (70-193A) underlayment is made form recycled fibers. It ranked among the best noise absorbing underlayment. It reduces sound transmission by absorbing it instead of deflecting it.

Its made of thick (3-4mm) insulating fibers capable of keeping your floor warm in winter and also cooler during summer. The underlayment is wide and large enough 360 sq. ft. roll (60in. x 72ft.) dimension capable of covering large rooms.

Roberts 70-193A Super Felt Cushion Roll  Flooring Underlayment installed on floor

However for larger areas, it comes with an adhesive 1-3/4”  strip and 3” overlap for linking multiple rolls. This ensures maximum protection against mildew and molds as well as sound transmission. It has a rating of 66 on Sound Transmission Lost Test (STC) and rating of 67 on Impact Sound Transmission Test (IIC).

The underlayment is durable and can be used in other engineered wood and laminate flooring as well as provide cushion over wood and concrete sub-floors. Its a premium inexpensive floor underlayment compared with its small counterpart Roberts 70-190A Super Felt Insulating (3 mm- 100 Sq roll)  Underlayment.

3. First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment

First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment
  • Has antimicrobial protection preventing growth of mildew. 
  • Allows constant air movement that inhibits mold growth. 
  • Seals out and protects floors from moisture vapor.
  • Multipurpose compatible underlayment that can be used on concrete slabs and wood sub-floors either below, on or above grade
  • Corrects minor sub-floor imperfections.
  • Highly durable underlayment, maintained 95% thickness after test of 1,320 lbs of pressure for 7 days.

The ROBERTS First Step Premium 3-in-1 (40 in. x 189 ft.- 630 sq. ft. Roll) underlayment meant for use in floating engineered wood floors. Its an effective for sound reducing underlayment capable of addressing minor floor imperfections.

This underlayment has Cushioning-Styrofoam-beads between top and bottom layers creates a pocket of constantly circulating air that prevents mold and mildew growth. .

4. Roberts 70-025 Qep 70-029 Unison Underlayment Polyethylene

  • Polyethylene foam
  • Has overlap film 3” adhesive strip for seamless protection and easy DIYs installation.
  • Thick enough (2mm) to prevent harmful moisture vapor.
  • Light weight (1.46 pounds) easy to roll 100sq ft (4 feet x 25 feet x 3/32 Inch) underlayment.

5. Best laminate 3-in-1 Flooring Underlayment

Best laminate 3-in-1 Flooring Underlayment
  • Easy to use the roll weigh just 0.16 ounces making it lightweight during installation.
  • Cost friendly for DIYs, come with self-adhesive tape you don’t have to look for underlayment tapes.
  • It’s cut and sold in small rolls of 100 sq.ft suitable for both small and large users.

Unison underlayment is a lightweight underlayment that is roll and cheap to install. It comes with self-adhesive strip tape that allows easy installation for DIYs.This underlayment is meant for use in areas that are not prone to a lot of moisture and noise. It’s good for reducing moisture on your floor but not a good in absorbing sound.

The underlayment is suitable for wood and cement sub-floors with engineered floating wood floors. It’s also thin 2mm that makes it suitable for denser flooring planks unlike the Roberts 70-193A and 70-190A Super Felt Cushion Underlayment. It also very cheap compared to Quitewalk Underlayment.

6. QEP 72003Q Cork Underlayment

cork-underlayment 6mm-4ft-25-ft-
  • Compatible with the thermal transmission, increasing its effectiveness of the floor heating system.
  • DIY’s friendly for both loose-lay and glue- down configurations.
  • Good in absorbing sound for both the floor surface and living space below.
  • Lightweight (28.9 pounds) 100 sq ft with 10.7 x 48.5 x 10.7 inches dimension roll.

QEP 72003Q natural cork underlayment is good in absorbing sound on the vinyl flooring. It is precisely manufactured for maximum efficiency in engineered wood and laminate flooring.

 It acts as a good crack isolation membrane to resist and prevent stress cracks and sound through the sub-floor to the flooring surface.

The underlayment is easy to install and perfect for DIY installations under the vinyl and other engineered wood, ceramic, tile, porcelain, stone, and marble.

Its best installed with Robert cork adhesive with a 75-pound roller. Its one of the Best underlayment heated floor system, its help reduce thermal transmission loss. It has an STC rating of 60 and an IIC rating of 61 with 6-Inch cement slab and suspended ceiling or STC rating of 52 and an IIC rating of 51 with 6-Inch cement slab.

7. AMERIQUE 691322306255 Premium 3-In-1 Heavy Duty Foam 3MM Thick Flooring Underlayment

AMERIQUE 691322306255 Premium 3-In-1 Heavy Duty Foam 3MM Thick Flooring Underlayment
  • Durable underlayment since its made with anti-crush technology for excellent performance and longevity.
  • Capable of protecting floor from moisture damage like mold and mildew.
  • High sound absorption material.
  • Best non allergenic underlayment for allergy suffers.

AMERIQUE 691322306255 is perfectly manufactured with 3mm(thickness) closed foam technology for an efficient and maximum sound reduction on your engineered wood and hardwood flooring.

8. QuietWalk Underlayment

  • Made of recycled fibers that provide superior sound reduction.
  • Its 100 sq. ft, made of dense fibers capable to uphold structure support or compression resistance.
  • Non -VOC and off-gassing fibers thus clean and safe indoor air quality.
  • Prevent moisture vapor hence protect the floor from moisture damage.
  • East roll out and join the seam installation for DIY.
  • Offer protection against leaky plumbing by absorbing 5 times its weight.

QuietWalk Underlayment provides superior sound reduction on you vinyl plank flooring. The underlayment is made from recycled fibers capable of absorbing sound and prevent it from travelling from one room to another.This help the floor to feel solid underfoot.

Dense recycle fibers provides structural support to the click together mechanisms of floating floors as well as supportive configuration consistent traffic on your vinyl floor. These fibers are also capable to prevent moisture vapor from harmful levels.

Quitewalk underlayment is a certified Non-VOC underlayment that ensure clean and safe indoor air quality. It also ranks among the best underlayment for floor heating systems. Fibers are known to allow heat to permeate evenly while protecting the flooring material from thermal shock and achieve evenly quiet warmth on your floor. 

It’s DIY friendly, roll lout and join the seam. Once laid down its ability to prevent waviness or ripples on your flooring. The underlayment is able to protect your floor from leaks and faulty plumbing. The fibers are able to absorb 5 times the weight of the underlayment while preventing the overlying vinyl floor.

The fibers are made with safe anti-microbial properties to inhibit mildew and mold growth on your sub-floor. The underlayment is not too thin or thick to get damage from falling tools and objects. It one of the best underlayment form allergens suffers.

It has the following rating IIC Sound Rating – Impact Vibration Sounds 71, STC Sound Rating 66, Delta IIC Sound Rating 22, R-Value 0.58, Moisture Protection, 423 lbs / 1000 sq ft / 24 hours

Features to look for in an Underlayment [Buying Guide]

The best features of underlayment to look for includes:

1. Has Good Sound Absorption

Vinyl flooring can be noisy floor and requires underlayment that deadens this sound transmission from one room to the other. Silent, peaceful and quiet environment is key in your living space especially the bedrooms and study rooms.

Look our for underlayment that has higher Sound Transmission Class (STC) and Impact Isolation Class (IIC) ratings.

2. Provide Moisture and Vapor Protection

Underlayments should not only absorb sound. But as well as insulate the floor, leaving it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. The underlayment made from cork is best for these applications.

3. Minimizes sub-floor imperfections:

The subfloors are not consistent in levelness. Therefore, the best underlayment should help address subfloor surface roughness and other imperfections. This would also help cut down on extra subfloor surface prepping time as well as an extra cost that could have been incurred.

3. Should be a good Heat Insulator

The heat conductivity of any given material determines its thermal rating. The higher the thermal rating value of the underlayment, the less heat will be able to move through it making it the best underlayment and will make the floor remain and feel underfoot during winter.

4. It should have Anti-microbial properties

Some underlayment materials have anti-microbial properties that can make them healthful. Materials like cork, naturally come with these characteristics. Others like fibers are manufactured specifically to have these properties

5. Certified Clean and Safe for Indoor Air Quality

You wouldn’t want to install smelly and allergic causing underlayment in your house. Flooring underlayment should not be smelly or even off- gassing weird smells.

Always research and check for some certification for indoor air quality testing done. It’s one of the ways to protects your pets and family from getting unwanted diseases headaches or sickness.

Do you need Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring?

Installing a floor is a costly affair, you need to get it right from the start. Having chosen vinyl, you may be wondering if you need underlayment or not? This depends on the product used and installed on the subfloor. Consider the following tips.

Vinyl floors that will be glued down or laid loose do not need underlayment since they are installed directly over the subfloor. For wood subfloors, you may have to add underlayment for sound reduction. Underlayment will add extra cushion to the floor, creating a softer feel underfoot and also a may rule in some complexes.

Underlayment thickness for Vinyl flooring

A vinyl flooring underlayment will not be as thick as a laminate or hardwood underlayment. Most of the available underlayment for vinyl is between 1 mm to 1.5 mm thick.

Underlayments for Vinyl Flooring

Underlayment is available in different materials to choose from. Cement board, plywood, and hardboard are some of the common underlayments. At times, the underlayment used or needed is just a thin foam padding to provide a smooth flat surface for your floor covering.

What is an Underlayment?

Underlayment is one of the layers directly beneath the floor covering. Common materials for sound control underlayment include; cork, fiber matting, foam, composite membrane.

One basic key to perfect sound control is to avoid hard surface transference points. Implying the subfloor and floor should not contact the wall, the space left should have some vibration absorbing-material as the underlayment.

What is the Purpose of Underlayment?

Despite vinyl being solid and engineered wood flooring, its thin and lacks solidity. The underlayment will strengthen it as well as improve sound absorption.

Vinyl flooring would feel hard on your feet, cold and would easily transmit sound to other rooms and the floor below. Therefore underlayment would be good to reduce the imperfections.

Vinyl underlayment

Underlayment for vinyl flooring serves the following purposes:

  • Helps absorb sound
  • Help to provide a solid smooth flat surface
  • Helps improve floor thermal insulation
  • Acts as a vapor barrier for your flooring
  • Helps improve subfloor or existing floor imperfections like gaps etc
  • Help protect molds and mildew

Types of Underlayments

There are several different types of underlayments. The selection of the underlayment depends on the subfloor, environmental moisture and the preferred floor covering to being installed.

These types of underlayments include;

Foam

Foam underlayment is ideal for flooring with plywood and OSB subfloor where water moisture ain’t a bother. It is one of the cheapest underlayment available.

Felt

Felt is manufactured from recycled fibers thus denser than foam underlayment. It’s a good sound absorber, insulator and eco-friendly. It may come with vapor barriers for extra durability.

Cork

Cork underlayment is ideal in areas with water moisture. It is hypoallergic, protects against mold and mildew as well as good for sound dampening. Cork is extremely eco-friendly and a good choice for people with allergies.

However, it is not the best choice for areas like the bathroom, basement. You may consider cork with vapor barrier or rubber for such flood-prone areas.

Particleboard

Particleboard has a thickness of 1/2 inch, inexpensive, smooth flat and bonds with adhesives well. It’s a good underlayment in areas where moisture is not an issue. It must be installed on a strong subfloor since its brittle.

Plywood

Plywood underlayment has an advantage over particleboard. It is stronger and water-resistant than particleboard. However, it still has some shortcomings especially when pressure or weight is applied in one spot.

You may consider marine-grade plywood which can be installed in flood-prone areas and can withstand pressure than normal plywood.

Orient Strand Board (OSB)

OSB may be used as an underlayment for some floor coverings. It’s a good option where softer underlayment is preferred. The Plywood underlayment is good where hard underlayment is preferred.

Cement board

Cement board like Wonderboard and fiberboard like Durock are the best underlayment for the mortared floor. They are smooth, mold-resistant and easy to cut. In case your floor covering will be ceramic tile, stone or porcelain cement board/fiber cement board sheet is a good underlayment for you.

Rubber

Rubber is a super versatile underlayment. It protects your floor from mildew and mold. It also protects you from hollow-sounding floors, a good sound absorber, and an insulator.

Rubber is a good underlayment for tile wood and carpet. The underlayment is eco-friendly, but not a good option for Vinyl due to staining.

Tips for Underlayment

  • Ensure your underlayment is as thin as possible. Thicker underlayment will create more problems.
  • Consider your floor covering before deciding on the underlayments.
  • Some floor coverings come with underlayment attached already.

References

Building Code: The sound building code?

Acoustical Society of America: What are the underlayment effects on sound isolation?

Lumber Liquidators: What do STC, FSTC,IIC, FIIC Sound mean and their ratings?

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