Laminate Floors

Best Underlayment for Laminate Flooring

Underlayment helps to improve the sub-floor imperfections; sound absorption, moisture protection and offer the best thermal insulation under laminate flooring. However, the underlay may vary depending on its use such as for basement and laminate sub-floor, over concrete, or plywood. But which is the best underlayment for laminate flooring to reduce noise?

Getting the best underlayment for laminate is a very important step during the flooring installation. It helps determine the longevity of the flooring as well as securing your investment without the need for occasional repairs and maintenance. Some luxury flooring has an already attached pad and doesn’t need an underlayment, selecting them properly is key.

8 Best Underlay for Laminate Floor

ProductName+ BrandFeaturesMy RatingReviews
FLOORLOT-SHOP.-FLOORS.-DELIVERED200sqft-3mm-Laminate-Flooring-Vapor-Barrier-UnderlaymentFLOORLOT Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Underlayment
  • Natural sound absorption
  • Vapor and moisture barrier
  • Provide 360 sq ft protection.
first step 630 square ft roll underlayment for vinyl flooringFirst Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment
  • Antimicrobial protection that inhibits mold growth.
  • Corrects minor sub-floor imperfections.
  • Provides 630 sq ft protection
QuietWalk Plus QW100PLUS Underlayment for Hardwood, Laminate and Vinyl Plank Flooring with Moisture Vapor Barrier and Sound Absorption-vinyl flooringMP Global Products QuietWalk underlayment
  • Water Vapor Barrier for 360 sq ft.
  • Sound Reduction.
  • Compression Resistant.

The best underlayment for laminate should be able to reduce noise, and absorb and dissipate moisture on floors from both below concrete and above top water spills. The best thickest underlayment for laminate flooring should be at least 1 millimeter and have appropriate compression resistance.

Below is the best thermal insulation under laminate flooring to reduce noise and for the basement and other areas.

1. FLOORLOT Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Underlayment

  • 3mm thick roll to cover up to 200 sq ft.
  • Has powerful moisture and vapor barrier.
  • Has 3mm Foam for Natural Sound Absorption.
  • Hides minor sub-floor imperfections. 
  • It provides a soft cushioned step to walk on.

Floorlot is easy to install underlayment with built-in superior moisture and vapor barrier protection. It can reduce floor step noise and minimize hollow sound associated with laminate floating floors. This 3mm underlayment helps in reducing sub-floor imperfections and other flooring irregularities.

Floor-lot underlayment can be used with a wide range of cover flooring (laminate, hardwood, bamboo, & vinyl plank flooring). The underlayment is available in blue, blue max, and gold variety to choose from.

The floorlot ranks best overall, pocket friendly, and minimizes sound, moisture and vapor as well as reducing subfloor imperfections.

2. First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment

  • Has Styrofoam beads for air circulation between the top and bottom layers.
  • It has an antimicrobial protection that inhibits molds and mildew growth.
  • Corrects minor sub-floor imperfections.
  • Provides 630 sq ft protection(40in * 186 ft).

First step 630 roll is one of the best underlayment with microbial features. The antimicrobial properties help protect mildew and mold growth on your sub-floor. It has a Styrofoam bead that allows constant air circulation between your top and bottom layers.

Underlayment works by sealing out moisture between flooring from below and above grade sub-floors. The underlayment is good for condos and multilevel dwelling houses with laminate, vinyl, and wood flooring. It comes with its adhesive strips overlap film for joining multiple rolls.

Ranks as the best underlayment with antimicrobial protection for laminate floors.

3. MP Global Products QuietWalk Laminate Flooring Underlayment

QuietWalk Plus QW100PLUS Underlayment for Hardwood, Laminate and Vinyl Plank Flooring with Moisture/Vapor Barrier and Sound Absorption
  • Has attached water Vapor Barrier
  • Offers Superior Sound Reduction
  • Compression Resistant Moisture
  • Protection for 360 Sq. Ft. Area
  • Thermal rating (R-value 0.58) and sound rating of (STC 66 and IIC 71).

Quitewalk is one of the best superior sound reduction underlayment for the click-together floating laminate. Its made with dense fiber, which makes it compression-resistant as well as handle high and consistent traffic. The underlayment is best for laminate over concrete since the fiber allows it to breathe and protects the overlying laminate flooring from harmful moisture.

The underlayment is Non-VOC’s certified since its made from non-off-gassing materials. The QuietWalk underlayment is approved to work with radiant heat systems. If you live in extremely cold areas, look no further, Quitewalk will allow heat to permeate evenly while protecting the floor covering from thermal shock. The underlayment will help you achieve evenly distributed warmth.  

The quite walk may be used with laminate, wood (nailed down or glued down), and Luxury vinyl tiles and planks. You may opt for a smaller version ( MP Global Products QW100B1LT Laminate Flooring Underlayment) that covers up to 100 sq ft.

The best acoustical underlayment for laminate floor.

How To Select Best Laminate Underlayment [+ Buyers Guide]

Laminate flooring needs an underlayment, Don’t skip it. Underlayment will help prevent clicking sounds as you walk across it and make your floor feel a bit softer. It also makes the installation of the planks easier and removes even small inconsistencies on the sub-floor.

Some underlayment comes with self-adhesive tape while others require separate tape to join in a row thus improving your floor permeability. Make sure to buy and install the best-required underlayment for laminate flooring.

Here are a few factors to pay attention to when planning to purchase a laminate flooring underlayment.

1. Type of Sub-floor

The sub-floor installed or you plan to use, plays a major role in determining the need for underlayment. For a Plywood sub-floor, you don’t require a sturdy underlay like for concrete. With the plywood sub-floor, you may trade the vapor barrier requirement for the underlay with sound and thermal characteristics.

For concrete sub-floor, moisture is a big impediment. The concrete subfloor is porous and tends to hold water moisture. I would recommend the best underlayment that can help prevent any moisture from the sub-floor as well as the underlayment for the basement floor.

2. Thermal Ratings

Many underlayment have a thermal rating( R-value). The R-value helps to determine the underlayment heat conductivity ability. The lower the value, the better the heat conductivity or higher the heat will run through it. If you are in a climatic area that requires installing the floor heat system, pay more attention to the R-value of the underlayment.

3. Sound Absorption

Laminate flooring is known to have a hollow like sound. Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings and Impact Isolation Class (IIC) ratings are very important for laminate underlayment.

The STC & IIC ratings help determine the number of decibels and types of sound the underlayment can help reduce. STC ratings show the airborne noises and IIC ratings measure the impact (drops and footsteps) and sound reduction ability.

Consider these sound ratings especially if you are laying the floor on commercial and apartment buildings.

4. Cost of Underlayment

Underlayment is sold in rolls or square footage and they differ in pricing. Buying in rolls is always cost-friendly but, depending on your project size, you may opt to buy in square foot. Another fact that determines the price is the number of features and brand. Always compare your budget against the cost of the underlayment, you can get high-quality underlayment for under $.15 per square foot depending with your location

5. Thickness of the Underlayment

Perhaps this was the main question you had in mind, underlayment thickness is mostly what many underlay customers struggle with. Its good to mention that other factors such as type, sound ratings, and density do matter just as much, but not more than the thickness of the underlay materials.

 Is Underlayment for Laminate Necessary?

You might be accustomed to floors like solid hardwood, engineered wood, and tiles that don’t require an underlayment. However, the laminate floor just like vinyl plank flooring requires an underlayment. Nonetheless, there are some scenarios where laminate may not require an underlay like laminate flooring with padding.

Laminate with Pre-attached pad

You don’t need underlayment for laminate flooring with an attached pad on the bottom. If you plan to buy laminate with pre-attached underlay, it needs no extra investment to put a separate underlayment. Adding an extra underlay will compromise the stability of your laminate flooring. In some areas like the basement, manufacturers still recommend you install additional vapor and moisture barrier.

Laying a separate barrier, however, as opposed to the pre-attached pad has some additional benefits.  Separate underlayment will help provide a very cohesive barrier under the laminate flooring.

Floor Areas

Some areas that receive little traffic or attention may not necessarily require hefty investments. In case you are looking for a quick flooring installation for spaces like mudroom or laundry room, your laminate flooring may simply be installed without an underlayment.

Types of Laminate Underlayment

The best underlay for laminate is readily available and in a variety. The main basic types of underlayment -laminate flooring include;

Standard Foam Underlayment

This is the most commonly used underlay for laminate available. It is thin with foam padding about 1/8 inches thick. It’s available in roll and offers minimal sound reduction and has no moisture barriers.

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