Do You Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

by Team BuildMyplace on May 13, 2024

Do You Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Do you need an underlayment for vinyl plank flooring? Is it essential, or can it be skipped? We're digging down into the know-how about underlayment's to help you make an educated choice so that your home's flooring looks great and continues for longer.

What Is Underlayment?

Underlayment is a thin layer of material, such as foam, felt, or rubber. It is laid down on your subfloor before installing the main flooring. Its job? To provide a smooth, stable base, reduce noise, add insulation, and sometimes even help with waterproofing. It's like the buffer zone that keeps your floor comfortable, quiet, and durable.

What Type of Underlayment Do You Need?

Some primary factors influence the choice of underlayment for vinyl flooring. They are the room's specific needs and the installation site. Here are some typical situations:

  • For Standard Wood Subfloor Installations: You could only need a basic foam underlayment. It can effectively smooth out tiny defects and is reasonably priced.
  • For Concrete Subfloors: Opt for a vapor barrier underlayment. Moisture seeping through concrete might harm vinyl flooring. To shield your floor from moisture underneath, use a moisture barrier incorporated underlayment.
  • To minimize noise: Do you want a quiet floor? Then, you need a denser, thicker underlayment. This is important if you live in an apartment or condo.

What Is the Best Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring?

When choosing the best underlayment for vinyl plank floors, these options really stand out:

  1. Foam underlayment: Easy to install, lightweight, and appropriate for most home applications. Its cost is also quite reasonable.
  2. Cork Underlayment: Cork is a mold and mildew-resistant substance. Additionally, it is sound-proof. It occurs naturally and thus is sustainable. 
  3. Rubber Underlayment: Rubber underlayment is a great option if sound absorption is your top concern. It’s durable too. It functions best in places with high traffic volume.
  4. Felt underlayment: Due to its density and ability to provide both thermal and acoustic insulation, felt is a great option to give your flooring a more substantial feel and lessen echo in big spaces.

The best underlayment for vinyl plank flooring on concrete needs to have an integrated moisture shield. By doing this, you can shield your flooring from potential moisture-related harm like warping. Certain materials may react adversely with vinyl. This can cause discoloration or deterioration. So, it is important to always choose an underlayment while working with vinyl flooring.

How to Install Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

How to Install Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

The performance and lifespan of your vinyl plank flooring may be significantly improved by installing your underlayment right. Here's a quick step guide:

  1. Clean Your Subfloor: Make sure all dust, debris, and grime are removed.
  2. Measure and Cut: Ensure that the underlayment fits properly. Measure the space. Most underlayment come in rolls, making this process fairly simple.
  3. Lay It Down: Start from one side of the room and roll out the underlayment. If it has a sticky side or an interlocking system, make sure it's facing the correct direction.
  4. Tape the seams: Use the tape recommended by the manufacturer to enclose the spaces between the underlayment pieces. The overall function of the system is enhanced by keeping moisture out.
  5. Install Vinyl Plank Flooring: You may begin installing your vinyl planks once the underlayment has been set in place and secured.\


Important Considerations and Specifications

Before you head out to get your vinyl underlayment, have the following important points in mind:

  • Thickness: When using underlayment, especially for vinyl, don't go overboard. If it's excessively thick, the vinyl planks' locking mechanisms may detach.
  • Material Compatibility: Make sure vinyl flooring and the underlayment material are suitable. Vinyl and some materials can react chemically, causing harm.
  • Your Home's Needs: Determine how much insulation you need for sound, moisture, and traffic. If your flooring satisfies these requirements, it will endure for as many decades as possible and perform at its peak.

Choosing the best underlayment for vinyl plank flooring that fits your house, lifestyle, and budget is essential, as opposed to heedlessly adhering to fads. Your flooring job will be lasting and successful if you have the right knowledge and supplies. 


Q: Does vinyl plank flooring require underlayment?

A: Although underlayment isn't always necessary, it enhances floor performance by prolonging floor life, decreasing noise, and smoothing out subfloor flaws.

Q: Can I install vinyl plank flooring with any kind of underlayment?

A: Use only underlayment specifically made for vinyl to prevent harm such as discoloration. Adhere to the manufacturer's instructions at all times.

Q: Is a moisture barrier necessary when putting vinyl plank flooring on concrete?

A: Yes, concrete is porous. Moisture may seep through it. So, it must have a moisture barrier installed over it.

Q: In what way should vinyl plank flooring underlayment be installed?

A: The floor has to be cleaned and leveled before vinyl planks are installed. Next, the underlayment has to be rolled out, cut to size, overlapped exactly, and taped at the seams. 

Q: Which underlayment works best with vinyl flooring to reduce noise?

A: The finest underlayment for vinyl plank flooring that reduces noise are dense ones, like rubber or cork; they are perfect for flats or higher levels.

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