How to Choose the Best Flooring Underlayment

One of the most common questions we get regarding the purchase of a new floor is “Which flooring underlayment should I use?” There are many options available today – with as many possible uses. Let us help you decide which is the most suitable for your space. Knowing which type of flooring you will have installed, and installation method being used will help nail down your options.

Basic Floating Floor Underlay

The number one objective of an Underlayment being installed under flooring is to eliminate minor defects in the surface of your Subfloor. Underlayments are not meant to fill large gaps or voids, but they will do the trick for slight surface imperfections less than 1/8” wide or deep. The most basic underlay should achieve this minimum requirement. If your subfloor requires leveling, we can help you with that too, please contact TimberTown for more details!

2 in 1 Foam Underlay for Laminate Flooring

Any time flooring is installed below grade, like in a basement, a moisture barrier is also required. Many basic underlays will have this attached, like our 2 in 1 Polyethylene Foam underlay. This basic underlay is suitable for installing laminate or cork flooring in your basement.

Sound Reduction Underlay for Floating Floors

Another usual expectation of flooring underlay is sound reduction. Before we can guide you to the right products, we need to determine the specific sounds you are trying to eliminate as well as the type of flooring you are going to put on top.

Eclipse

If you are concerned about tapping sounds like footsteps or clicking sounds from floating floor installations our Eclipse may be the choice for you. Eclipse is suitable for floating installations of laminate, cork and engineered hardwood.

Silencer SR/Eco Silencer

The Ultimate Silencer superior has sound ratings similar to the Eclipse, but has superior compression strength. Because it has higher density, it will stand up longer to the higher traffic areas an also rooms with heavy furniture. Don’t go putting your Piano in a room using anything less than an underlay with the compression strength of Silencer! We could also suggest the Eco Ultimate Silencer, which offers the same qualities with the added environmental benefit of being made from recycled tires. Eco and SR Silencers are suitable for floating installations of laminate, cork and engineered hardwood. They can also be used with radiant heat systems.

 

Underlay for Floating or Glue Down Luxury Vinyl Tile & Plank

Silencer LVT

Designed specifically for use under vinyl plank and tile (LVT) flooring, Silencer LVT unrolls easy and stays firm for easier installation of vinyl flooring. It creates a muffled ambience in the room and absorbs noise that would otherwise travel through to other rooms or floors in the home or condo. The LVT Underlay is made from 100% High-Density Polyurethane foam bonded to a moisture vapor. LVT can be used under LVT flooring in both floating and glue down installations.

Underlay for Floating or Glue Down Installations

6mm Cork Underlay

TimberTown has a 6mm Cork Underlay, which is a 100% sustainable and a renewable natural resource. Cork reduces sound transfer from both the surface of the floor, and to rooms below. If you are looking for warmer floors, Cork underlay also provides thermal insulation, reducing heat transfer. Cork underlay can be used under Hardwood, Laminate, Cork, Vinyl plank (LVT), carpet, tile, & marble and suitable for nail down, glue down, and floating installations.

For glue down installation of flooring such as Engineered Hardwood, other  products are available, please contact TimberTown for specific details.

Still not sure?

Do you have the added pressure of a Condo Board looking for IIC/FIIC ratings? The first thing to know about IIC ratings is that they are generally all tested in a unique lab setting, and the actual ratings will vary based on the construction of your building. We are always eager to talk directly with your condo manager to discuss this. Please contact our experts for more information.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT), Engineered Hardwood flooring and Solid Hardwood flooring do not require underlay. However, you may choose to use one, either to reduce the “clicking” sound of the floor against the subfloor, to reduce footstep sounds on the floor surface, or to reduce sound transmission to the rooms below. Carefully follow any recommendations from the underlay manufacturer as well as the flooring manufacturer when you’re considering the options. Each variety of flooring has unique options, depending on the method of installation – glue down, floating or nailed. If this sounds like you, please contact us and we’d be happy to assist you.

View our underlayment and subfloor options here.