Laminate underlayment is a thin layer of foam or felt that installs under laminate floorboards. It helps the installation by smoothing out minor imperfections in the subfloor. Underlayment is considered an essential part of flooring with laminate. In fact, manufacturers consider it to be so imporant that some laminate comes with the underlayment pre-attached to the bottom.
People usually don’t see the underlayment, so it’s widely disregarded by whoever does not work with flooring installation, and often it comes as a susprise to new home owners that are installing laminate flooring in their homes, that such a thing even exist, and there are many types of underlaymeny available for you to pick from. These are your options!
Underlayment comes in long, narrow rolls of about 100 square feet (for example, 44 inches wide by 27.3′ feet long) and around 3 mm thick.
Light Foam: About half the cost of felt, polyethylene foam is the cheapest underlayment you can buy. At 1.5 pounds per 100 square feet, this 3 mm thick foam underlayment smooths the subfloor but does little to absorb sound.
Heavy Foam: Heavier, more expensive closed-cell foam underlayment. At 2.2 pounds per 100 square feet, this material has better sound absorption qualities as opposed to the lighter foam but does not approach felt’s heaviness.
Felt: Recycled fibers compose felt underlayment. This 3 mm thick underlayment has a heavier, more cloth-like feel and tends to smooth down better than foam underlayment. Weighing 12.5 pounds per 100 square feet, felt underlayment is over 450 percent heavier than foam. Denser, heavier materials tend to absorb sound better. Good felt underlayment is considered, by many flooring professionals, to be the gold standard in underlayments.