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Choosing the right underlay for your flooring

Selecting the right underlay and damp-proof membrane for your room and type of flooring is crucial. It not only provides an even surface for you to lay your flooring on, but will also act as a moisture barrier and provide sound proofing.


Most laminate, engineered wood and solid wood flooring is laid in as a ‘floating’ floor, meaning it isn’t fixed to the ground beneath. These flooring types will always need underlay beneath.


If you are using a cushioned luxury vinyl flooring, then you may not need underlay, but always check the manufacturer’s advice to be certain.


How to lay a laminate floor

Watch our easy-to-follow video showing how to lay a laminate floor for more information.


Underlay

Create the perfect base

The right underlay is an integral part of your flooring project for many reasons. It can absorb any slight unevenness your subfloor might have, and can prolong the life of your laminate by providing a cushioning effect against impact and pressure. Underlay can also provide additional heating insulation, which will help to keep heating bills low, and can help provide soundproofing between floors.


Use this handy table to select the right underlay and damp-proof membrane for your project:

Which room? Timber or concrete subfloor? Smooth or uneven subfloor? Appropriate underlay Appropriate damp proof membrane
Kitchen or bathroom Timber Smooth General purpose kitchen & bathroom underlay Bitumen-backed building paper.
Uneven General purpose kitchen & bathroom underlay Bitumen-backed building paper.
Concrete Smooth Premium kitchen & bathroom underlay Already built into high performance underlay.
Uneven General purpose kitchen & bathroom underlay 1000 gauge membrane
Other living area Timber Smooth General purpose underlay or Premium general purpose underlay (but not with 6mm laminate) Bitumen-backed building paper (only required if risk of moisture).
Uneven General purpose kitchen & bathroom underlay or Natural fibreboard underlay (but not with 6mm laminate) Bitumen-backed building paper (only required if risk of moisture).
Concrete Smooth Premium kitchen & bathroom underlay Already built into high performance underlay.
Uneven General purpose kitchen & bathroom underlay or Natural fibreboard underlay (but not with 6mm laminate) 1000 gauge membrane