Planning for the installation of laminate flooring is one of the most important parts of the process, especially choosing the right underlay. This is because the longevity of the flooring can be heavily impacted by the use of underlay. 

Installing laminate flooring without underlay, or an underlay that is not suited to the application can result in damaged flooring, increased household bills, more noises, and even issues with dampness.

Underlay is an additional purchase that is essential to buying laminate flooring but it isn’t always considered in the budget price, so it is essential to factor this into the amount you want to spend on your new laminate flooring. 

Why do you need underlay for laminate flooring?

Underlay is an important material that is layered on top of the subfloor before flooring installation. It serves several purposes and is a vital addition to any space, regardless of the flooring type.


Underlay helps to improve insulation in  your home. Modern underlays have an R-value and this refers to the heat conductivity of the product. Higher R-value underlay material ultimately has higher levels of thermal insulation which can help with household bills. 

Noise reduction

Some underlay can even help to soundproof a space by helping to muffle the noise created by footfall and regular movement across laminate floors. 

Improve sub-floor condition

All subfloor types will have imperfections whether it be solid wood, plywood or concrete. Installing underlay helps create a barrier between these imperfections and the laminate.

Protection against moisture in laminate flooring

These days, underlay products act as a ‘vapour barrier’ or a layer of material to help protect against moisture making its way up from the subfloor. 

Choosing underlay for laminate flooring

There are many suitable underlay options for laminate. Laminate is considered a ‘floating floor’ which means there is less need for fixtures such as nails and staples. For this reason there is a lot of flexibility in choice for laminate flooring underlay.

The wide range of choice means that the final choice should be made based on the subfloor type and type of room the laminate will be installed in.

Standard foam

Standard foam underlay is a thin layer of material that provides cushioning between the subfloor and the laminate planks. 

However this type of underlay provides no protection against moisture so would only be suitable for installation in rooms with low risk of spillages and accumulation of damp.


Cork underlay provides a high level of noise reductions and helps to level out any significant subfloor imperfections, including unevenness between areas. Due to being a natural material, it also helps facilitate airflow to the subfloor and combats mould and mildew.

Vapour barrier

A vapour barrier underlay provides all the necessary moisture protection for laminate flooring installation. It is often also suitable for use with underfloor heating systems when paired with a layer of paper felt underlay.


Combination underlay provides a thicker layer of cushioning as well as moisture protection. This is a versatile underlay suitable for most interior spaces and laminate flooring installations.

So, pop down to your local Frank’s and we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect laminate flooring and underlay for your home.

Got a question? Ask Frank!