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
|FLOORLOT Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Underlayment
|First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment
|MP Global Products QuietWalk underlayment
|Roberts 70-193A Felt Cushion Roll
|AMERIQUE Premium 3-In-1
|Bestlaminate: 3-in-1 Vapor-Barrier-Flooring-Underlayment
|QEP 72003Q 1/4-Inch, 6mm, 4-Foot x 25-Foot Cork Underlayment
|STEICO 3 mm 1/8 Inch Wood Fiber Flooring Underlayment
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 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
- 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.
4. Roberts 70-193A Felt Cushion Roll
- Provides deep, rich sound/ noise absorption.
- Its made from ecofriendly recycled fibers materials.
- Its processes through extremely high-temperature to treats fibers.
- The 3 mm thick pad helps in correcting minor sub-floor imperfections.
- It has excellent R-Value for proving chilly floors.
- It’s excellent for radiant heat floors.
Roberts 70-193A Felt Cushion Roll is made for use below, on, and above grade subfloors for all laminate floors and engineered floating hardwood floors. The underlayment is made from recycled fibers to provide excellent radiant heat floor with Excellent R value rich in absorbing sound instead of deflecting it.
The underlayment comes with an adhesive strip and 3″ overlap film to link multiple rolls for large areas. The 360 ft square roll provides cushion over concrete and wood subfloor and keeps floors warmer in winter and cooler in summer. It works by absorbing noise instead of deflecting it, thereby reducing noise and help to cushion your flooring.
5. AMERIQUE Premium 3-In-1 Heavy Duty Foam
- 3-in-1; Mold and moisture protection, nonallergenic, and sound absorption.
- It is made with anti-crush technology for excellent performance & long life.
- Its manufactured with 3mm closed foam technology for sound reduction perfect for wood; bamboo and laminate floors. The underlayment is suitable for wood, concrete, tile, or vinyl subfloors
6. 3-in1 Vapor Barrier Flooring Underlayment
7. QEP 72003Q 1/4-Inch, 6mm, 4-Foot x 25-Foot Cork Underlayment
- It’s easy to install with either glue-down and loose-lay configurations.
- It has a crack isolation membrane that resists the transfer of stress cracks.
- Reduces thermal transmission while increasing the effectiveness of floor heating systems.
- Multi-surface underlayment: ceramic and porcelain tile, stone, marble, wood; engineered hardwood and laminate floors
QEP Cork Underlayment is an outstanding sound barrier for all types of flooring. It is an environmentally friendly underlayment option for your laminate and engineered hardwood floor. It comes with natural hypoallergenic properties which contribute to creating a healthy indoor air quality in your house.
The natural cork underlayments help reduces sound transmission by its natural sound absorption ability. The cork underlayment helps protect the floor against the transfer of stress, crack sound from the subfloor through to flooring surfaces. QEP cork underlayment also helps reduce thermal transmission, this makes it ideal for you when installing radiant flooring. However, the QEP roll underlayment is only meant for use on and above grade floors only
8. STEICO 3 mm 1/8 Inch Wood Fiber Flooring Underlayment
- Natural microclimate regulator that prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Squeak free underlayment with “click-lock” system of floors, to prevent “springy” effect when walking and increase floor longevity.
- High-performance sound control and acoustic properties for enhanced comfort.
- Unique breathable Vapor Open System materials.
STEICO 3 mm wood fiber flooring underlayment is manufactured without VOC and other poisonous emissions which makes your living space safer. Its made with an enhanced click and lock system to prevent squeak sound while walking on your laminate floor. The enhanced sound and acoustic properties help provide room comfort as a result of its optimal soundproofing.
The absence of VOC and other poisonous emissions makes STEICO 3 mm eco-friendly underlayment for your living space, safer for kids and pets. It is made from the natural products; pure wood fiber material without any glue additives. It’s easy to handle and install using commonly available household tools leaving behind a comfortable squeak-free floor.
The “Vapor Open” technology used to manufacture the underlayments helps in preventing conditions that encourage mold and mildew growth under the floor. Since its natural and porous material, it has the ability to absorb 20% of its weight in water therefore preventing the minor leak from spreading and damaging your 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.
6. Other properties
Antimicrobial properties– some underlayment like cork have added advantages, such as natural antimicrobial characteristics. Depending on your flooring need and the environmental conditions of where you want to install it. These properties plays an important role and make your laminate floor more healthful.
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.
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.
Combination Foam Underlayment
This is a combination of foam and vapor barrier underlayment to help protect your subfloor from moisture damage. It can be installed in areas with concrete and OSB/ plywood subfloor in the basement and bathrooms. However, it’s slightly more expensive than standard foam underlayments.
The vinyl underlay provides noise-proofing qualities, but, as a priority, the seams must be sealed for moisture-proofing.
Felt underlayment provides good sound reduction characteristics in addition making your floor comfortable underfoot. The underlay also come with a built in vapor barrier to helps protect your hardwood or laminate flooring from moisture.
cork underlayment comes with added benefits, its natural antimicrobial characteristics. It’s the best choice where sound or noise reduction is important. While it helps level out uneven surfaces between rooms, it provides no cushioning or comfort underneath, but it may end increasing the laminate floor installation cost by 50 percent. To increase its moisture barrier it’s advisable to put a sheet of plastic under your cork underlay.
Tip: Felt and Cork underlay help to reduce the hollow sound produced while walking on a laminate floor. In addition, it also comes with a moisture barrier.