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Your Guide to Wood Flooring Underlay

Your Guide to Wood Flooring Underlay


Posted in Wood Flooring Underlay by Source Wood Floors on July 17th 2015
Wood flooring underlay can spell the difference between succeeding and miserably failing when installing wood flooring. Wood flooring underlay primarily acts as a moisture barrier. However, today’s advanced material development has paved the way for underlays that serve a variety of purposes. Choosing the right kind for your place can be some sort of insurance for your floor’s look, feel, and longevity.

What is wood flooring underlay system?

Technically, anything that lies underneath hardwood flooring qualifies as an flooring underlay. Floors as a whole are made up of many different layers. Typically, the layers from top to bottom are: the top or finish flooring, the underlayment, the sub-floor, and the joist. Thus, the underlay is where the top flooring can rest upon.

While it isn’t always essential, using wood flooring underlay help make for better flooring because it provides a smoother surface for the finish floor.It also gives the entire flooring greater stability. Another significant advantage of having the right underlay is that it’s better than the sub-floor in hosting adhesives that may be required for certain types of floors. 

What are the types of wood flooring underlay?
Different types of wood flooring underlay exist for different concerns. Choosing the right one for you is a matter of assessing the best type for your current situation. Types of wood flooring underlay can be classified according to:

  •          Permeability (or moisture control)
Perhaps one of the most common concerns when it comes to flooring is moisture. This is why vapor-retarding underlay is popular. The purpose of a vapor-retarder is to slow the rate of moisture movement to the topmost layer. Moisture-retarders generally fall into three categories according to how strong its moisture-controlling property is. They are: permeable, semi-permeable, and impermeable.

  •          Sound abatement
Because of the world’s continuously-swelling population, high-rise residential buildings make more and more sense. This presents the need for flooring that will help reduce sound from neighboring rooms or apartments. Sound control products commonly come in two types: synthetic (commonly foam or other synthetic materials) and cork.

      Form or material
  •    Roll underlay – This type of underlay is characteristically-thinner. This is great in preventing excessive movement. An example of roll underlay are those made of felt paper. Also, roll underlay is further subdivided into different categories. It may or may not be equipped with a vapor barrier. Different types also come in different acoustic properties, compositions, and prices.
  •   Block board underlay – block board underlay can be composed of different materials like fibers, mixed wood composite (such as cork), cement, and polystyrene material. These are preferable when you’re after the leveling property of an underlay. In general, block boards do not come with a moisture barrier.
  •    Underlayment panels – this type has a unique form wherein the panels are interlocking. It usually comes in 2’ x 2’ tiles.


    Lastly, the types of top flooring you want is also a good indicator of what kind of flooring underlay is best for you. For instance, hardwood floors may require either felt or resin paper.Meanwhile, engineered wood floors, if to be glued down, need wood flooring underlays that are adhesive-friendly, like acoustic cork or a self-adhesive underlayment.

    Make sure to check out our collection for wood flooring underlay here at Source Wood Floors.

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