Soundproofing and Moisture Resistant Underlays Many flooring types including hardwood benefit from an underlay. An underlay technically refers to anything that is underneath the flooring, but usually means some sort of thin material put beneath the floor for some purpose. For carpeting, the underlay is often something foamy or made from rubber to add comfort and squishiness. Wood flooring generally uses foam as well but for sound insulation and as a vapor barrier.
Vapor Retarders come in three forms: permeable (lets moisture through), semi-permeable (allow some moisture through but slowly), and impermeable (doesn’t let moisture through). Impermeable should only be used over concrete. Semi-permeable underlays are often used over a wood subfloor below hardwood. It offers your hardwood more protection from moisture than a permeable underlay (or no underlay at all). A permeable underlay offers little to no protection from moisture, but it does slow the moisture enough to help with seasonal variation.
Soundproofing is not a major concern for most people. Unless your home is a multi-person dwelling or you have a musician in your family, soundproofing might not have even crossed your mind. However, a bit of soundproofing can go a long ways even in a single family home. There are two kinds of sound control products synthetic — often a type of foam — and cork. Regardless of which soundproofing you use, remember to never nail your floor directly to it. The nails will basically negate and eliminate any benefit.
Many underlays actual work double time helping to control sound and acting as a vapor retarder. If you have any questions about underlays, contact the TimberTown closest to you!
Soundproofing and Moisture Resistant Underlays