Underlayment can be one of the most confusing subjects when it comes to flooring. Learn everything you need to know about underlayment to get the most out of your floor.
If you’re new to the flooring world, you may not even have any idea what underlayment is. Someone probably told you that you needed it, and you went to look it up only to end up totally confused.
Today, we’re going to answer all your questions including when/if you need underlayment, which types are best for your specific floor, and how much it will cost you.
What is underlayment?
Underlayment is the layer between your subfloor and your new floor. Yup, it’s really that simple. Underlayment is usually made out of rubber, cork, rubber cork, polyvinyl or foam.
What is your purpose for the underlayment?
Underlayment is used to add a little extra protection. Protection from what? Well, that depends on which type you choose.
Rubber is one of the best choices for underlayment because it is super versatile. Rubber protects your floor from mold and mildew and protects your ears from hollow sounding floors.
Rubber is an excellent choice over wood and concrete subfloors and is super easy to install underneath just about any floor.
Cork is the cool kid of apartments, condos and high rise buildings. Ever lived on the bottom floor and had to bang a broom on your ceiling to try to tell your upstairs neighbor to quiet it down?
That’s not weird, right?
Well, it is if you’ve been living with a cork underlay! Cork is the best barrier for transmitting sound between floors. This way you can stay friends with your neighbors and not get into a fist fight at 2 am where the cops are called, and you get evicted from your apartment.
A warning on cork – although you can install it underneath just about any floor, it is not the best choice for all environments. Water can damage cork flooring, so for basements, bathrooms and other flood-prone areas, you might want to go with rubber instead.
Rubber Cork Underlayment
The best of both worlds! In a shocking turn of events, rubber cork underlayment is underlayment made of both rubber and cork. I know, I know. Try to contain your surprise.
Rubber cork underlay is an expert at preventing cracks in your tile from your house settling and the natural movement over time. You can think of this underlayment as an invisible bodyguard that keeps your floor looking good even though it’s out of site.
Foam is the most popular and inexpensive underlayment option. Although it comes at such a low price, foam underlayment still offers plenty of sound reduction.
Foam is super easy to install – in fact, some options even come with an adhesive strip, making it as easy as sticking on a post-it note!