When it comes to our flooring, most of us have it all wrong. We tend to believe that the lifespan of our floors is primarily decided by their quality in materials and manufacturing, yet that’s simply not true. While these factors undoubtedly influence whether your beautiful new floors are likely to stick around as long as you will or succumb to a quick, unfortunate, and ridiculously costly death, there’s more to the story. And subfloors happen to play a leading role in it.
Directly tied to the condition of the finished floor – that decorative layer of hardwood, laminate, or tile that we so covet – a damaged or simply uneven subfloor opens up the door for all sorts of problems.
Premature lifting, buckling, increased noisiness, added discomfort while walking/standing, and overall compromised results can all happen. Underlayment can help smooth things out, though, but the type you choose will vary depending on your specific reasoning for wanting an even subfloor. That can make choosing the right one for you rather tricky, so here’s a quick guide that should lend a helping hand in getting the best underlayment for uneven subfloors.
For Comfortability: DuoFoam or Insulayment
Everyone knows that an uneven subfloor is a recipe for disaster. But for those who haven’t personally dealt with it yet, what you might not know is that uneven subfloors also make the actual surface you walk on incredibly uncomfortable.
Because of all the imperfections, your floor will ultimately reflect every little lump, bump, depression, and ridge that’s present beneath, particularly if you have luxury vinyl or another thinner floor type. And your feet? Suffice it to say they will not appreciate this.
Smoothing out the imperfections mentioned with DuoFoam is an effective way to solve this problem. The polyethylene foam gets the job done, covering up any level discrepancies and providing better padding than other options.
However, as a foam underlayment, DuoFoam can have an issue with compression, trapping air, and not fully recovering from compression. If you’re worried about this and have more foot traffic, Insulayment would be a better choice as it’s a fiber underlayment and thus better at rebounding.
For Noise Reduction: QuietWalk
Uneven subfloors are problematic in of themselves, but you can really see the issue in your finished ones. Even from the time you first install them, you can tell they don’t sit right. Those imperfections below disallow that, meaning your flooring choice might be a little all over the place as far as evenness is concerned. Loud, annoying squeaking can then become a common occurrence as people move from room to room – something nobody wants any part of.
Clearly, replacing your subfloor and either reinstalling or fully replacing the flooring above that is a good idea. But for those who don’t want to put the time and money into this or whose subfloors aren’t too far gone, installing QuietWalk underlayment is a good solution.
Made from compression-resistant specially bonded fibers, this floor padding fully covers up any variations in your subfloor and allows conformity in your plank level. The result is that your headache-inducing creaking will be no more! This felt underlayment additionally has an excellent acoustic rating overall, so regular noise from high traffic will be diminished, too.
For Moisture Control: Trufuze Armor
Increased noise and reduced comfort are just part and parcel of having an uneven underlayment. They’re incredibly irritating, to say the least, yet there is still another subfloor-related issue that’s a much bigger deal – moisture.
Often, high levels of humidity and water are actually the cause of warped subfloors, but these factors are further exacerbated by that. With unevenness and damage comes spacing and cracking, giving moisture more opportunity to harm your finished floor. Basically, it’s a horrible cycle that can spiral out of control in no time flat.
Stopping said cycle in its tracks is no easy task, although investing in a quality underlayment to even out your subfloor is a good place to start. Left scratching your head at what you should specifically pick up with so many options flooding the market? Our recommendation is to go with something like the Trufuze Armor underlayment.
Despite being made from polyethylene foam, the stuff has a highly impermeable vapor barrier film attached, guaranteeing extreme moisture protection that’s only further improved thanks to fusion seal technology. Use it, and both your subfloors and finished ones will be far better off.
Best All-Around: QuietWalk
There are few times that any one product is ideal for a range of situations. After all, there’s a reason (beyond sheer profit) that there are so many options available for consumers to buy. Some materials just work better in certain situations. For example, you can usually rely on rubber or thick foam to be more appropriate for sound deadening or cork for mold resistance and insulation within the flooring space.
But occasionally, you’ll run into an option that’s genuinely fantastic across the board. If you have a subfloor that has more ups and downs than a Disney Park ride and you want to keep all the side effects associated with that at bay, you can’t go wrong with QuietWalk.
QuietWalk is essentially an underlayment that uses specially-processed recycled filaments to its advantage, offering nearly everything you could want in your underfloor padding while doing it well. Because of its unique fibers, the underlayment has a high rebound rate and gives solid support for your flooring of choice.
High levels of cushioning, subfloor imperfection coverage, sound absorption, insulation, and structural aid are the ultimate payoff, in turn helping QuietWalk earn its reputation as one of the best underlayment options around for uneven and impeccable subfloors alike.
We have three main QuietWalk Underlayments giving you the ability to choose the best one for your flooring installation! We have created a YouTube video that makes it easy to find the right fit for you!