Do I Need Underlayment for Laminate Flooring on Plywood

When it comes to laminate flooring, you should focus on installing underlayment beneath that. Laminate is actually a floating floor therefore, it needs to distribute across the subfloor evenly. Underlayment is a necessary component of any laminate flooring. Underlayment for laminate flooring on plywood will ensure proper support, stability, noise reduction and sturdy flooring project. You will find various types of underlayment. Among those, selecting the right one could make the project nice.

General Idea On Laminate Underlayment

Laminate planks demand better connection and smoothness. Plus, you need to ensure a bit softer underfoot. So, how could you ensure those? Well, you will find the solution in laminate underlayment. Actually, a laminate underlayment is a supplementary pad. You need to install that under the laminate flooring.

Do I Need Underlayment for Laminate Flooring on Plywood

Some people think to install a separate underlayment. Here they omit the installation of laminate flooring’s pre-attached underlayment. That technique will offer you a cohesive barrier line underneath the laminate.

While going to install underlayment, you have to focus on right selection as well as right installation. Those two things are crucial because those will show how you feel with laminate flooring. Also, the selection and installation indicates the wearing out process. So, when you go for choosing the underlayment, you have better focus on floor type, environment and personal needs.

Detailed Benefits of Having Underlayment on Plywood

We can’t exaggerate the importance of installing underlayment or laminate flooring on plywood. According to INSTALLFloors.org, underlayment plays a very important role for any residential and commercial flooring setting. In this case, you should select and install the correct underlayment and subfloors, hence you can ensure right wear and stability of flooring.

We figure out a couple of benefits of having underlayment on plywood. Let’s figure out those from the following. 

Underlayment is basically a thin material that needs to be installed between the floor and subfloor.

  1. First, after installing the underlayment on plywood, you will get a sound absorption facility. Because of the compression resistance, you will get a solid footing facility for the laminate flooring. Naturally, sounds will be created when you are walking around the floor. 

If the floor has underlayment, it will dampen and absorb sound transmission. With the sound absorption feature, the noise level will become lower. Here the sound will be transmitted via air-waves or impacts. This is the main amenity for those who want to keep the noise minimal or down. 

  1. Secondly, this material will add an insulation layer. With that insulation, the temperature that you want will stay in your room. On the other hand, if you don’t install underlayment, your plywood subfloor will release the air from the room.
  1. Another amenity is you can ensure a harmful moisture free floor. You will get a moisture vapor barrier in the underlayment which keeps your floor safe from mildew, mold and moisture. Moreover, the underlayment smooths out minor imperfections in the subfloor therefore; the floor becomes supported and stable. 

Note: If the crawl space is higher than your house’s main level, then you had better ensure sealing the crawl space of moisture properly. If you don’t do that, then the moisture alone will be blocked via underlayment.

  1. Finally, without installing underlayment, you can’t ensure flat flooring. So, installing the underlayment will help you hide the small minor imperfections, hence your room’s look will become perfect.

Different Types of Laminate Underlayment

Have a look at below to get an insight about the different types of laminate underlayments

Standard Foam Underlayment

Standard foam underlayment is thin and padded with foam. You will find it as the most common type today. Typically, the size it offers is ⅛ inch thick. Also, you have the option to choose your desired one from different roll sizes. 

Although you can’t use this type on any concrete sub floors, it will give you great service for timber sub floors. Plus, this underlayment is ideal to use on which demands minimal moisture. Because the standard foam underlayment doesn’t offer built-in moisture barrier.

Also, the price is a bit much lower, hopefully, it would be best for the low budget customer.

Combination Underlayment

The combination underlayment comes with almost the same feature as the standard foam underlayment. But, one major difference is here you will find moisture barrier attachment. After installing, the moisture can’t seep from underneath into the laminate. That’s why you can install this material on where the expected moisture level is higher such as the kitchen or basements. 

Cork/Sound Dampening Underlayment

Imagine, you don’t install underlayment on your plywood, what could happen then? The hard floor surface will create much sound. The inside hack is that the two hard surfaces will hit one another and create much sound. If that is your case, then use sound dampening underlayment. You don’t get only the sound reducing feature; rather this underlayment offers a moisture barrier. 

This underlayment doesn’t provide comfort or cushioning under the laminate; rather, it just level out the uneven surface. The price is a bit much higher. If you wish to use this one, then it may contribute 50 expenses of the total laminate flooring installation. 

Best Underlayment for Plywood Subfloor

But, all things will be OK if you ensure installing high-quality underlayment. After all, installing the perfect underlayment will make your floor performance better. Focusing on installing the right underlayment is essential; instead of installing the cheaper one. The cheaper one could be worn out due to escaping the air bubbles while walking around the floor. Therefore, the material becomes very thin.

So, the question is which underlayment offers the best result in plywood subfloors? The best underlay option is the breathable foam-type underlayment, for plywood subfloors. Another option like vapor-barrier-type underlayment can’t provide you with a better result in plywood subfloor. 

You know wood demands breath because it is a natural material. However, if you install this underlayment, the moisture could trap within the material. Therefore, the mold or wrapping will grow herein. 

But, the theory will be different when you install laminate flooring in a high moisture area like the basement or bathroom. Here the underlayment with a moisture barrier will offer the best result. 

Do I Need Underlayment For Laminate Flooring Over Vinyl?

The design of vinyl flooring doesn’t demand an underlay. In most cases, this material comes with a base layer and that base layer will fulfill your purpose successfully. That’s why, you don’t need to ensure an additional underlayer.

Surprisingly, the vinyl flooring doesn’t demand a higher price yet is affordable. Plus, the fact is you don’t need to ensure an underlay, therefore, your overall cost will be lessened. Hopefully, vinyl flooring could be a nice option for a budget-conscious person.

Do I Need Underlayment For Laminate Flooring With Attached Pad?

When you have an attached pad, you don’t need to install an underlayment. That’s the main reason behind not using an attached pad. If you still use an underlayment, although you have attached pads, it means you waste your money. Plus, that installation may lead to damage. However, some attached pads don’t offer moisture-preventing barriers. If that is your case, then buy one to install beneath the laminate.

FAQs

What happens if you don’t put underlayment under laminate flooring?

Without installing underlayment, your laminate floor may shift and move. Also, the uneven subfloor influences that situation. The aftermath could lead to warp or prone to wear-and-tear. Finally, you may need to spend a handsome amount of money on repairs. 

Do I have to use underlayment with laminate flooring?

Laminate flooring demands underlayment. The floating nature of laminate flooring forces it to distribute evenly across the subfloor. Underlayment works herein by ensuring support, stability, noise reduction and locking system between planks. Therefore, the flooring project became sturdy. 

Is underlayment needed for plywood subfloor?

An underlayment under the hardwood floor isn’t necessary if you have a smooth and leveled plywood subfloor. Plywood offers a moisture resistance feature and you can relate it with solid wood. In most cases, plywood leaves a smooth floor surface. 

What kind of plywood do you use under laminate flooring?

You can use interior plywood in a bedroom which isn’t exposed to moisture. Moreover, interior plywood could be an ideal subfloor for vinyl, carpeting, hardwood flooring and engineered wood laminate flooring. Nevertheless, the exterior plywood is ideal for rooms like the kitchen and bathroom exposed to moisture and water. 

Do you need padding under wood floors?

Floors with hardwood don’t demand underlayment padding. But, placing the surface boards directly against the underlayment may lead to creak and squeak.

Note: Floor creaks will occur when you place wood against wood. 

Final Thought

Hopefully, you already get why we focus on “do I need underlayment for laminate flooring on plywood”. Interestingly, many laminator floors come with pre-built underlayment padding. You can easily place those directly over the OSB subfloor or the plywood. If you have such a one, luckily you are free from installing the separate one. 

Otherwise, you need to manage everything to install correctly. Then, hopefully, your walking around the floor surface will become pleasurable. Moreover, underlayment will add cushion, therefore you will get comfortable while walking on the hard surface.

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