Whether you need underlay depends on the type of carpet, but even with carpets where underlay is not a necessity, there are reasons why underlay is a good idea.
If the carpet has a textile or latex backing, it does need underlay. Carpets with felt or foam backing do not require an underlay, but there are benefits from having one.
If you have underfloor heating, standard underlay can prevent warmth from reaching the room. Use specialist underlay that conducts heat.
Underlay has an insulating effect that prevents heat loss through the floor. This can save energy and fuel bills. Wrexham, Chester and North Wales are no stranger to cold days, so anything that can help keep rooms warm is recommended. There are specialist high-thermal varieties of underlay worth considering if your home gets cold in winter.
A carpet underlay reduces the noise in the room. Noise bounces off hard floor surfaces but is absorbed by carpets with underlay. Underlay that reduces noise is important for commercial rooms where employees need to concentrate on their work without noise disturbance.
It is a good idea to install acoustic underlay in carpeted bedrooms so that sound is dampened for the people in the rooms below.
Looks and wear
Quality underlay prevents the carpet pile from flattening, making the carpet look newer for longer. The underlay absorbs shocks and pressure and this can reduce wear so that the carpet lasts longer.
The carpet pile is protected by underlay and will also be easier to clean, with dust removed more easily.
Walking on a carpet with a thick underlay feels softer and more relaxing.
Types of underlay
Foam underlay made from PU foam is a popular underlay that makes the carpet feel softer. It is generally made from recycled furniture foam making it friendly to the environment. After use, it can be further recycled.
PU foam underlay is available in various thicknesses. Thicker is better, but more expensive.
If soundproofing is your main concern, go for rubber underlay. Sponge rubber comes in a waffle shape or flat. Waffle underlay can flatten over time, but both types provide excellent noise reduction.
Crumb rubber contains recycled car tyres, making it environmentally friendly. It has good soundproofing qualities, but compared to sponge rubber, it is harder.
The traditional choice of underlay is felt made from a high proportion of wool. It has excellent thermal properties to save energy.
You can get specialist underlay for underfloor heating and high thermal types for energy conservation.
Carpet underlay is not a luxury, it has many practical benefits and can extend the life of a carpet.
If you are not sure about what type of carpet underlay to use, or whether you need an underlay at all, carpet retailers and installers provide advice to help you choose. They will discuss your priories concerning comfort, acoustics, heat conservation and budget to suggest the best type of underlay for your home or business.