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Choosing the right underlay for your perfect floor?

There is a layer between your wood floor and subfloor. It’s like the filling in your flooring sandwich and what you choose makes a difference. Remember, you can’t change your filling once the floor is down!

Underlay for flooring

Where can you start with choosing a premium underlay for your perfect floor?

Upgrading to a Premium Underlay

Underlay can be used to smooth a subfloor, improve sound proofing, increase heat insulation and create a moisture barrier. The quality of underlay can make a real difference, and the costs when set against your flooring budget, often make it a no brainer to upgrade.

Our clients will typically use premium underlay when they want less heat loss and the subfloor is uneven. Uneven subfloors and floated floors are not a good combination and there’s always a risk of creaks or bounces. To fix this, we can level the floor with a levelling compound but that is expensive. Alternatively, we can use a thicker premium underlay, which is the next best thing.

We often see far more creaks and bounces with thinner underlay products. To upgrade on a standard flooring project, our clients will end up paying extra, but find that it’s definitely worth the extra spend.

What about sound proofing?

For apartments and flats, the lease will often stipulate “a premium underlay” must be used for timber floors. Good underlays will have a specification sheet that lists performance that includes a Db rating. A higher Db rating will mean you’ll hear less footsteps beneath your floor. Entry level underlays have a rating of 17Db whilst premium underlays can be rated as high as 28Db.

What about Heat insulation?

The Tog rating on a specification sheet is the measurement on how effective the underlay is at insulating heat. The higher the tog rating, the less heat will transfer through the floor. For wood flooring, underlays can have tog ratings of anywhere from 0.3 to just over 1.

What about blocking moisture?

Damp is the nemesis of the wood flooring and we discover it pretty regularly on our installations across London and the South, especially in basement flats. A Damp Proof underlay is a low cost tool to protect your new floor against moisture, but note this doesn’t fix a damp problem, it merely stops damp getting to your floor.

What about underfloor heating?

In UFH applications, the underlay needs to transfer heat instead of insulating against it. Normally, this means a very thin underlay, but on some electric underfloor heating systems, floating flooring is laid directly onto them. Weknowflooring will always provide professional advice and always check with the UFH manufacturer before advising on the best build up strategy.

What about Glue Down Floors?

Generally, a floor cannot be glued to most underlays. So when our client wants a Herringbone floor that has to be glued down, we will add additional ply that allows a special underlay to be glued to the ply with the flooring glued to this.

For more information and advice on choosing the right underlay for your perfect floor, contact Weknowflooring today.


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