Do I need to use underlay for laminate?

Laminate flooring is a cost effective and strong floor covering that will last for many years. Though, for some subfloors, underlay is not strictly necessary, it is recommended. Underlay helps laminate planks to be evenly distributed across the subfloor, and supports the locking system between planks to make sure that the floor is sturdy.

Underlay attached

Some laminate planks come with underlay attached to them, so don’t need extra underlay. If you are installing these planks on a cement concrete or wood surface, a vapour barrier is necessary to prevent moisture reaching the surface.

Without underlay

If your planks come without underlay attached, then it is recommended that underlay is used. You can get away without using it, but the floor will not last as long.

Wood subfloors

For wood subfloors, you can use a standard underlay, but should consider ones that reduce noise or add extra cushioning. A vapour layer under the underlay will prevent moisture damage.

Cement or concrete

Laminate laid on concrete floors should have a vapour layer beneath the underlay. In the Chester, Wrexham and North Wales regions, there is a lot of annual rainfall and the possibility of flooding. Laminate flooring withstands moisture and minor flood damage, as long as a vapour layer is installed under the underlay.

Floor covered in vinyl

If the floor has vinyl on it, you can lay laminate flooring without the need for an underlay, but underlay can add extra cushioning.

Uneven subfloor

The subfloor on which the laminate is laid needs to be even. If it isn’t, a thick underlay should cover the flaws and create an even surface. If underlay is not used, there is the danger of the laminate being damaged when many people walk on it. You should also consider a vapour layer under the underlay if the floor is in a high-moisture room.


If laminates are installed in bedrooms, people in the room below are likely to hear noises from the bedroom. A noise-resistant acoustic underlay will stop the sound waves travelling to other rooms. This is useful for children’s bedrooms where noisy kids live. Don’t be tempted to add two layers of ordinary underlay as this could actually weaken the floor.

The cost

Using underlay does add extra costs to installing laminate flooring, but in the long term, underlay adds extra life to laminate flooring, not to mention its performance, so is cost effective.

Make sure that you buy enough underlay to cover the room. Some people believe that, if they have not bought enough, it’s not a major problem if the underlay leaves gaps along the edges of the room, but this can decrease the life of the flooring.

Laminate flooring is a good choice for homes and commercial buildings in Chester, North Wales and Wrexham. You can cut your initial expense by not having underlay, but the benefits of using underlay justify the cost of using it. This is especially important for businesses with high everyday footfall.