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Do You Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

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Whether you're planning to renovate your floors yourself or you're hiring a team to redo your floors, understanding the necessity of underlayment can result in a more professional installation. What exactly is underlayment, though, and why do you need it?

What Is Underlayment?

Underlayment is a thin layer of high-density material, such as foam, that is installed between your subfloor and the hardwood, FirmFit flooring, or vinyl plank flooring on top. Why is underlayment necessary? Here are some benefits you'll get when you add underlayment.

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Moisture Protection

One of the key reasons having underlayment is necessary is that it protects your vinyl planks from moisture and water damage. Moisture can easily seep into your vinyl planks through the subfloor, resulting in warping and even mold growth. Even if you have our waterproof Stonecreek SPC Click flooring, underlayment is still crucial to protect the bottom of your flooring.

Sound Absorption

Underlayment can absorb some of the echo created when you walk across wood floors. This feature provides a quieter home, especially in condos or multi-story homes where people may be walking above or below you.

Level Surface

If your floor has some imperfections or even minor dips and bumps, underlayment can provide a level surface when you install your vinyl planks. When you're finished, you won't have any uneven spots.


If you have particularly cold winters, you can invest in underlayment materials with thermal insulation properties. Not only can this feature reduce your energy bill, but you'll have less heat loss through your floor.

More Comfort

Some underlayment types are made from foam. Using this type of underlayment can provide a layer of cushioning beneath your vinyl planks. This can be especially helpful if you need to stand for long periods of time, such as cooking a big meal in the kitchen.

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Some Important Tips for Using Underlayment

When using underlayment, there are some important tips to follow to maximize efficiency. Here are some to consider:

Select the Right Type for Your Home

When selecting underlayment, think about moisture resistance and thermal insulation properties. You can specifically look for "thermal underlays," for example. Thermal underlays have great sound absorption features, too. There are also a variety of materials available. You can choose from foam, rubber, felt, or even cork. The right type of underlayment will depend on the type of subfloor you have.

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Prepare Your Subfloor

Before you install the underlayment, clean your subfloor. Ensure that there isn't any dust or debris. If you have cracks or holes, repair those first. Even though underlayment can help smooth out slightly imperfect surfaces, it's best to try and fix uneven areas in the subfloor as well.

Follow the Manufacturer's Recommendations and Directions

Underlayment can differ, which means directions and recommendations will differ as well when installing it. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's directions carefully. Some manufacturers may state that you need a certain type of thickness, for example. Others may allow you to glue or staple the material, and others may state that you simply need to lay it down.

Allow Room for Expansion

Remember that underlayment (like wood) expands when there are changes in temperature and humidity. When installing underlayment, leave a small gap of about 1/4 inch between the walls and between the edges of the underlayment.

Overlap Underlayment Sheets

Try to overlap the underlayment at the seams by a few inches. This can prevent moisture from seeping through the edges of the rolls or sheets.

Install It Correctly

Underlayment should be installed with the smooth side up. The textured side should hug your subfloor. Installing the underlayment correctly ensures you have a smooth surface for your vinyl planks.

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Decide on the Thickness

The thickness of your underlayment can affect the height of your finished floors. It can also affect the transition to the next room. Make sure the thickness of your underlayment complements your floors and your vinyl planks. At the Wholesale Cabinet Supply Company, our FirmFit Platinum vinyl planks are 5 mm thick. Remember to add this to the thickness of your underlayment to get the total thickness of your finished floors.

The Best Underlayment for Your Floors

Before picking underlayment for your vinyl plank flooring, do some research on the material, thickness, and how it will match your vinyl planks. Your choice of underlayment will also depend on the kind of budget you have. However, once you have looked at all these factors, the renovation can begin.

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