How do you choose the best underlayment for laminate flooring on concrete? With the various amounts of underlayment on the market, how do you know what to pick? In this article, we will go over what things you need to look for and what our recommendation is.
Concrete is porous and porous materials allow water to seep up into and through the flooring. This will cause adhesives to loosen, flooring to warp and mold and mildew to develop. To eliminate this concern, you will need a vapor barrier that is placed right above the concrete slab. So the first thing you want to look at does the underlayment have a built in vapor barrier? If not, you will have to look into purchasing a 6-mil vapor barrier first.
Keeping Your Floor Warm from Cold Concrete
Concrete subfloor isn’t usually warm and can make your feet nice and cold. Thermal properties of underlayment can help keep your floor warm. The thermal properties are all considered by the material the underlayment is made up of.
- Foam Underlayment has R-value of 0.2-0.35
- Fiber/Felt Underlayment has R-value of 0.5-0.6
Fiber/felt underlayment offers the best bang for your buck for thermal properties providing almost 200% more.
If you want more warmth, consider a radiant heat system. With today’s technology, more DIY can easily install electric floor heating system for their flooring. QuietWarmth is a popular choice as it is super thin and can be installed the same day as your flooring installation. Backed with 25-year warranty and maintenance free, homeowners consider this the easiest system to install.Floor Heating Systems
Hiding Subfloor Imperfections – Your Floors Not Flat Like You Think
Another thing to consider is subfloor imperfections. Take this example:
Clearly not a good thing to hear when walking on. The main issue here is not the underlayment but the flatness of the flooring. When walking on your laminate flooring, it is bowing down and rubbing against the locking mechanism which is making that rice krispie popping sound.
It’s always best to fix the subfloor before installing any flooring. Some customers think having a new house that it shouldn’t have this issue. Home builders usually will do a good job making sure your floor is safe and acceptable level however 3/16″ difference within 10 ft can make a big difference in your floor. They are on time constraints and like to move to the next house as fast as possible.
Resistance to Flattening Floor
Once the flooring is nice and flat, consider what the underlayment material is made of and how well it handles under weight. Will the underlayment decompress over time, and leave your flooring looking flat or have small dips? Small dips can also cause the issue displayed in the video above.
Basic foam underlayment has small air bubbles which air can escape when popped with little pressure of fingers.
Dense recycled fiber structure supports the click-together mechanism and will uphold its supportive configuration under the consistent traffic of the overlying floor.
Superior Sound Reduction/Absorption
Installing underlayment for laminate flooring can help reduce the sound from traveling to other rooms. This also helps make your floor sound like real hardwood and not laminate. The extra material sandwiched between the flooring and subfloor helps reduce vibrations transmistted from room to room. Condo associations like to meet certain sound ratings when tenants install new flooring.
Taking the items above, we believe QuietWalk Plus has what your looking for:
Moisture Protection – Our recycled fibers allows over concrete to “breathe” – managing vapors from becoming bulk moisture. The attached vapor barrier protects the overlying floors from harmful moisture. If you are worried about mold/mildew, we implement anti-microbial chemical to eliminate that worry while meeting zero VOC’s. We like to present the following image to explain better how our system works.
Thermal Insulation – QuietWalk Plus has R-value of 0.58 which is 200% more than others. The recycled wool from jackets are consistent in our underlayment and explains why we have higher R-value than foam competitors.
Subfloor Imperfections – Firm and support but flexible enough to form around subfloor surface roughness, helps to cut down on extra subfloor surface prepping time. Our dense recycled fiber structure supports the click-together mechanism and will uphold its supportive configuration under the consistent traffic of the overlying floor.
Superior Sound Reduction/Absorption – Recycled fibers absorb sound and keep it from traveling to other rooms. Makes click-together floating floors sound solid underfoot. For our flooring underlayment sound ratings chart.
Hope this article explains what to look for in floor underlayment for your laminate flooring on concrete.Where To Buy