Do luxury vinyl tiles need underlay?

Installing a new vinyl tile floor can dramatically change how your room looks. It’s an excellent flooring choice because it is hardwearing, easy to clean and maintain. It is water resistant too, so can be laid in kitchens and bathrooms where water splashes and high humidity are commonplace.

Luxury vinyl tiles are easy to install if done properly. Depending on the floor surface and the quality of the vinyl, it may or may not need underlay.

What is LVT underlayment?

LVT underlayment is an underlay specially formulated for laying beneath vinyl. Some luxury vinyl tiles have an inbuilt underlay, so a separate LVT underlayment is not necessary. Most quality vinyl tiles will be fully waterproof, so do not need a damp screen as part of the underlay.

In general, LVT underlayment is thinner than laminate or carpet underlays.

There are several reasons why you may want to consider LVT underlayment. For a start, it can reduce noise by about 4dB. A basic underlay can reduce noise by up to 16dB. If you have thin walls and noise can be easily heard by the neighbours, this can have a beneficial effect. You may also want to reduce noise so that you do not disturb members of the household in other rooms – something to bear in mind if you have young children.

LVT feels softer and warmer to the feet than hard floorings such as laminates and stone. Thinner quality vinyl can benefit from an underlay, as it will make the floor feel softer. This makes it generally better to invest in better quality tiles.

Do you need underlay for vinyl click flooring?

Vinyl click flooring is usually thin. If you add underlay, it can affect the locking system strength. Most concrete surfaces will need no underlay. If there are moisture concerns about the concrete floor, a vapour barrier underlayment is thin and will not affect the locking properties of the planks.

If you want to use an underlay under vinyl click flooring, make sure that it is 2mm or under in thickness. This will reduce noise, make the floor feel softer and provide protection against moisture.

Vinyl click flooring, because it does not use adhesive, is suitable for installation over underfloor heating. If laying over underfloor heating, underlay should not be added.

Tiles with built in adhesives should not be used over underfloor heating.

Do you need underlay for vinyl flooring on concrete?

If the concrete floor is level and clean, vinyl underlay is not a necessity, but because of noise reduction and other qualities of underlay, it is worth considering. If the concrete floor is uneven it will need levelling. If there are moisture issues, a vapour barrier underlay may be needed.

Whether you use underlay or not, vinyl tiles are quick to install by experienced professional installers.

Thick luxury vinyl feels softer and warmer, has better sound installation qualities, and is easily kept clean. Quality vinyl, such as Amtico, comes with a long guarantee for tiles laid directly onto the subfloor, as well as tiles laid using underlay.