Flooring underlayment: the unsung hero of quality flooring

When embarking on a flooring project, many homeowners or contractors primarily focus on the visual and tactile aspects of the floor. Yet, beneath the surface lies an essential component that can make all the difference in longevity, comfort, and overall flooring performance: the underlayment. The flooring underlayment, often unnoticed and unappreciated, is critical in ensuring that your floor remains stable, comfortable, and free of unnecessary wear for years to come.

Importance of flooring underlayment

Before delving into the types of underlayments available, it's essential to understand why they are so crucial. The primary role of underlayment is to provide a smooth, stable base for the flooring, ensuring that no imperfections from the subfloor telegraph through. It also offers cushioning, which can enhance the feel of the floor underfoot and reduce noise. Lastly, certain flooring underlayments can serve as a moisture barrier, protecting the flooring from potential water damage.

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Luan plywood underlayment

Often chosen for its rigidity and stability, Luan plywood underlayment is a popular choice, especially for real wood and ceramic or porcelain tile installations. Typically ranging in thickness from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch, plywood underlayment provides a robust and even surface, ensuring that tiles or wood panels lay flat without risk of cracking or buckling.

When opting for plywood, it's essential to choose a type suitable for flooring, such as Exposure 1-rated plywood, which can handle occasional moisture exposure. It’s also crucial to ensure the joints between plywood sheets don't line up with the joints in the subfloor, as this can create weak points in the flooring.

Cork underlayment

Eco-friendly and inherently cushioned, cork underlayment has become a favorite choice for homeowners and contractors alike. Beyond its sustainable nature, cork brings a range of benefits. It's an excellent insulator, reducing noise transmission between floors and offering thermal insulation. This makes it a top pick for multi-story buildings or homes where soundproofing is a priority.

Available in rolls or sheets, cork underlayment can be used under various flooring types, including hardwood, laminate, and tile. Its natural resistance to mold and mildew makes it a healthy household choice. However, if moisture is a significant concern, using a moisture barrier in conjunction with cork underlayment is recommended.
Underlayments in Hanover, PA from East Coast Floor Store

Underlayment for vinyl flooring

With the rising popularity of luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring due to its durability and aesthetic appeal, having the right underlayment for this material is paramount. LVP-specific underlayments are designed to handle the flexible nature of vinyl planks, ensuring they lay flat and maintain their shape over time.

These underlayments often come with a built-in moisture barrier, essential for installations over concrete subfloors. Additionally, they offer soundproofing qualities, reducing the transmission of footsteps and other noises. It's essential to check the manufacturer's recommendations when choosing underlayment for vinyl flooring, as some vinyl floors come with an integrated underlayer, making additional underlayment unnecessary.

Visit us for your flooring underlayment needs

While often overlooked, the right underlayment can make or break a flooring installation. By understanding the unique needs of your flooring type and the benefits of different flooring underlayments, homeowners and contractors can ensure a successful, long-lasting floor that meets all their comfort and performance needs. Whether it's the strength of plywood, the eco-friendliness of cork, or the tailored performance of LVP underlayment, there's a solution for every floor.

East Coast Floor Store is here for your flooring solutions. Our showroom in Hanover, PA, serves Hanover, PA, York, PA, Harrisburg, PA, Baltimore, MD, and Frederick, MD. Call today!