Best Underlay For Laminate Flooring Rolled Out For You
Want The Best Underlay For Laminate Flooring? Let’s See Which We Like The Most.
Quietwalk vs. Floorlot Gold Laminate Flooring Underlayment
Doesn’t matter if you’re in an apartment or a huge house, you have some form of for covering. Laminated flooring is very popular, but you need more than just the boards. The thin pad that resides on your subfloor and under your laminate planks or tiles is the underlay. The underlay is a vital requirement if you want to install that shiny and beautiful laminate. Choosing the best underlay for laminate flooring is, therefore, as important as picking the laminate itself.
The laminate underlay is suitable for areas in your home that have low moisture content, like the living room and bedroom.
Manufacturers make laminate from polyethylene foam, polypropylene foam, felt, or cork bark material. Due to its resilient material, it can provide support for your flooring, and help to smooth out any subfloor inconsistency.
The underlay can also reduce the transmission of sound in the flooring. Some underlays allow heat from in-floor systems to permeate evenly. Other underlays conduct heat to give comfort during seasonal temperature changes.
Some manufacturers offer laminate flooring with an underlayment built into the underside of the material. Underlayment can also come as a separate item from the laminate. Laying a separate underlayment as opposed to installing a built-in one provides a cohesive barrier under the laminate.
How to Choose the Best Underlay for Laminate Flooring
Your choice can make a huge difference in your flooring over time. Different factors can help you choose, and they include
#1 The Subfloor
Your subfloor type, either concrete or plywood, will determine your choice of underlayment.
Moisture is the primary concern for concrete subfloors. Since concrete is a porous material, water can easily pass through it, and this can affect the laminate. An underlay made of combination foam material is the most appropriate for concrete subfloors.
The combination material has foam padding with a vapor barrier property. This two-in-one feature will prevent moisture from penetrating your laminate. It’ll also save you the money required to buy a vapor or moisture barrier separately from the underlay.
Choose a breathable underlay if you are installing over plywood subfloors. Wood, generally, needs to breathe. When you install a vapor barrier over it, moisture can build up within the material and cause mold to grow. A standard underlayment made of foam is breathable and will work fine.
#2 Your Location
If you like a quiet apartment, you may not want to hear the sound of your feet hitting the laminate when you walk. Also, if you live above the ground floor, you will need to prevent noise from transferring to the level below.
While shopping for the underlayment for your laminate floor, you may come across numbers with terms like Sound transmission Class (STC) and Impact Isolation Class (IIC) ratings.
These ratings show you the decibels and how well the underlayment will reduce sound. STC rating ascertains airborne sounds like voices and television. IIC rating, on the other hand, measures impact sounds like footsteps and dropped objects.
Your sound will dampen better if your underlayment has a higher STC and IIC ratings. Consider a soundproof underlayment for laminate floors that meets the minimum rating requirement of your building. Multi-family buildings have a minimum acceptable rating of 50 IIC and 50 ITC.
Underlay materials made out of cork or felt can provide excellent soundproofing features.
#3 Thermal Rating
A thermal rating is the ability of underlay material to conduct heat. It’s given a measure in R-value. When the R-value of the underlayment is high, the amount of heat that will move through it will be less.
If you need to keep your feet warm during winter, choose an underlayment with a high R-value. However, if you have any sort of in-floor heat system, a high R-value can inhibit its effectiveness.
#4 Antimicrobial Consideration
Laminate flooring underlays, designed from certain materials like cork, have natural antimicrobial properties. Other materials can also have built-in antimicrobial features from their manufacturer.
If you or a family member suffers from household allergies, the hypo-allergenic properties of your underlayment can inhibit the growth of bacteria, mildew, and mold. These properties can create a healthy environment for your home.
#5 Air Quality
Some flooring underlay emits gasses from VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). Consistently perceiving the odor from VOCs can lead to headaches or other illnesses. You may want to check if the underlay has gone through testing for indoor air quality before making a purchase.
#6 Compression Strength
The compression strength of an underlay is its ability to maintain elastic properties after prolonged compression. The impact of consistent foot traffic can dent or compress your flooring over time. It is better to buy an underlayment made with dense recycled fiber material.
This material supports a click-together mechanism. It’ll maintain the floor’s configuration even in high traffic areas of your home.
#7 Ease of Use
Underlays are generally not difficult to install. The installation process of one underlay may differ slightly from another, depending on the manufacturer. If you decide to save your money and install your underlay yourself, ensure to follow the instruction manual.
#8 Your Budget
The features you need will determine how much you’ll pay.
If you need extra features like vapor absorption or heat conductivity, you’ll have to pay more. The most expensive underlayment are those specially designed with materials to mitigate noise. However, if you have a tight budget, a standard underlayment will be more affordable for you.
Comparing the Quietwalk VS the Floorlot Gold Underlayment
- Color: Blue
- Coverage: 100sq ft
- Weight: 13 pounds
- Material: Felt
- Dimension: 400 x 36 x 0.1 inches
- IIC sound rating: 71
- STC sound rating: 68
- Delta sound rating: 22
- R-value: 0.58
- Recommended laminate size: 5mm and thicker
The Quietwalk Underlayment for laminate flooring has a synthetic fiber felt material. This design material makes the underlay hard to tear yet not too thick. It’s also not too thin, so it won’t get holes easily.
This underlay has a certification for clean and safe indoor air quality. I found the material to be super clean with no smell of organic compounds oozing form it.
The dense fiber has a durable vapor barrier film. This film protects your overlying floors from harmful moisture buildup. Its moisture protection feature makes it more suitable for concrete subfloors.
Besides buildup moisture content, it also protects your flooring against spills, leaking plumbing, and faulty ice-makers that can cause severe damages. The fibers of this underlayment can absorb moisture up to five times its weight.
The Quietwalk Underlay has an excellent compression resistance due to its dense recycled fiber structure. This structure supports the click-together mechanism and will uphold its configuration under the consistent traffic of the overlying floor.
The R-value for Quietwalk is 0.58. As a result, it’ll work better with an in-floor radiant heat system. You can install the heating system over a subfloor or an insulating underlayment as part of the floor assembly.
This underlayment will use 12 watts per square foot to raise the temperature of the floor gently. Its system allows heat to permeate evenly while helping to protect the floor covering material from thermal shock.
The Quietwalk underlay is what I have in my home. Its IIC rating of 71dB and STC rating of 68dB is way above the minimum ratings for multi-family buildings. These numbers give me superior soundproof flooring with no complaint of noise.
The felt fibers of the Quietwalk underlay have gone through treatment with a safe antimicrobial agent. Due to this treatment, it can inhibit mold and mildew.
Ease of Installation
When I got the Quietwalk Underlayment, I decided to install it myself. It wasn’t difficult to unroll the underlayment, and it just laid down flat with no waviness or ripples. You can roll it out easily without it rolling backward.
You can also cut it easily with a utility knife. It bonds well with adhesives.
Besides laminate planks, the Quietwalk underlayment will also function well with floating engineering, nail-down, and glue-down wood.
You may find this underlayment slightly expensive, especially for its 100 square feet size. This price, however, might be due to the felt material used in its design. Felt is a costly underlay material.
Other unique features like compression resistance and antimicrobial properties also make the price worth it. A list of the best laminate flooring for underlayment will be incomplete without Quietwalk.
- It has a good moisture absorption property
- Offers excellent sound absorption features
- Also offers antimicrobial benefits
- Very easy to install
- Possibly considered as slightly expensive
- It’s R-value makes it work better only for radiant heat system
- Color: Gold
- Coverage: 200sq ft
- Weight: 7 pounds
- Material: Polyethylene foam
- Dimension: 44 x 10 x 10 inches
- Thickness: 3mm
- IIC sound rating: 72dB
The Floorlot Gold Laminate Flooring Underlayment has a polyethylene foam design. This underlayment is 3mm thick and helps smooth out minor subfloor irregularities. Floorlot’s material makes it more suitable for concrete subfloors.
Just like the Quietwalk underlay, Floorlot gold offers a built-in vapor barrier. You don’t need to purchase additional moisture protection films when you choose Floorlot. The vapor ridges are sufficient enough to channel moisture away and from your subfloor while protecting your laminate.
The thermal insulation feature of this underlayment will make your floors more comfortable to walk on during winter.
Floorlot gold is a high-performance acoustic underlayment with IIC ratings of 72dB. With this high rating, there’ll be a significant reduction in sound levels from footsteps and dropped objects. It also cushions your floating floors to reduce the hollow sound associated with them.
Ease of Installation
Floorlot gold has a printed grid pattern for fast and accurate cuts. You can easily join the underlayment together with the attached peel and stick adhesive strip. This self-sealing tape and overlap innovation provide a leak-proof seal. You won’t require an additional tape for the seam.
Floorlot underlay isn’t only appropriate for laminate planks. You can also use it with bamboo, hardwood, and engineered wood.
Another underlayment of the same size and material as Floorlot gold can cost slightly less. However, extra features like the tape and overlap system, moisture protection, and sound absorption make the price worth it.
- Offers easy installation
- Has excellent IIC ratings
- It has a built-in vapor barrier
- Also has a thermal isolation feature
- It doesn’t provide antimicrobial features
- It’s slightly expensive.
The Verdict on the Best Underlay
Selection for the best underlay is likely to be based on your location, subfloor type, and any other personal feature you desire for your home.
Both Quietwalk and Floorlot are excellent soundproof underlayments. Due to their superb sound ratings, they’re appropriate for commercial and residential buildings. Ideal if you’re sitting watching tv and don’t want noise from the floor above.
Quietwalk and Floorlot gold underlayment can serve both concrete and plywood subfloors. However, due to their moisture absorption feature, they’re more suitable for concrete floors.
Also, they both have excellent installation features, and you won’t need to spend money installing them. Besides laminate flooring, Quietwalk and Floorlot underlayment will also work well with other types of materials.
These similarities can make the selection process tough. However, they also have features that differentiate them.
A single 200sq ft roll of Floorlot underlayment is cheaper than two 100sq ft rolls of Quietwalk. Even in weight, Floorlot weighs less. Quietwalk is almost twice the size of Floorlot underlayment.
However, the Quietwalk underlayment is superior to the Floorlot gold due to its antimicrobial and compression resistance properties. Quietwalk is also better in terms of moisture absorption, absorbing up to five times its weight of 13 pounds.
My Quietwalk underlayment has been exceptional. I was able to install it on my own, and I have had no reason to call for repairs. I also walk around confidently, knowing that my underlay provides a healthy environment for my home. It’s the best underlay for laminate that I’ll recommend.