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Choosing the Right Wood Flooring Underlay

Choosing the Right Wood Flooring Underlay

Posted in Wood Flooring Underlay by Source Wood Floors on July 2nd 2015
If you are installing new hardwood flooring or laminate flooring, you will have to learn about wood flooring underlay. An essential element in any flooring installment, there are different types of underlays. Here are the things you will need to know before choosing which one to use.

1.    Nail down or staple underlay.

In any nail down or staple installation, it requires a 15lb. black felt paper. This material is laid down on top of the subfloor prior to installation of the hardwood floor or laminate flooring. The 15lb. black felt paper ensures that all moisture coming from the subflooring is absorbed into the material. Without it, you can be sure that in a few years (or even a few months) time, you will have to face problems with moulds and other such infestations.

You think you can skip this step?Think again! Saving on a few dollars by not buying a 15lb. black felt paper today could mean thousands of dollars in damages later on. In any case, this material is relatively inexpensive and will ensure your floors stay healthy for a long period of time.

Once you look into purchasing a 15lb. black felt paper, you will see that it looks very similar to roofing paper. Do not buy the latter. Roofing paper contains either tar or asphalt and can emit harmful and harsh odours especially if it’s in an enclosed area. Before you buy the material, make sure that it’s specific for wood flooring underlay.

As the name suggests, this material is stapled on to your subfloors using a hand stapler. Installation is relatively easy. Just make sure to overlap the seams about 4- 6 inches per sheet.

Floating underlay

The floating method of underlays is highly important especially when you’re using engineered flooring or laminate flooring. As the name indicates, a floating underlay means that the floor you are installing is not attached to the subfloor. Installing an underlayment is done for the following purposes:

  • Damage prevention: floating floors will always expand and contract, moving as an entire unit. The underlayment will ensure that the constant movement and friction from the rubbing will not damage your subfloors.
  • Cushion: since most underlays are made of soft material, it also gives a softer feel when walked on.
  • Moisture absorber and barrier: whatever type of subfloor you have, adding a moisture barrier helps protect your floors over time.
  • Smooth out imperfections: if your subfloors are uneven or any other flaws, an underlayment will solve this problem.
  • Sound absorption: since underlays are usually of felt-like material, this will help absorb and insulate sound giving you reduced noise when tread upon.

Installation is very easy as you only need to roll these underlays out (they usually come in rolls). Self- sticking adhesives make it easy to attach one section to another.

3.    Cork underlay

Cork underlayment is gaining popularity especially among the more environmentally- conscious home or office renovators. Cork is sustainable, natural, and also boasts of sound absorption, minimizing imperfections of the subfloors. It is also anti-microbial and anti-fungal, making it perfect for those with allergies. Remember though that cork may be water-resistant but not waterproof. This would mean you need to install an additional layer of plastic moisture barrier.

So if you’re thinking about installing hardwood or laminated flooring in your home or office, consider the options for wood flooring underlay mentioned above. It pays to invest now on to ensure that your flooring stays healthy and beautiful.


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