Wooden and laminate floors look nice to the eye and comfortable to the touch. However, installing them is tricky. Without taking some necessary precautions, these floors won’t last long or stay in good health.
One such precaution is to install underlayment beneath them. This is not even an option. You have to get it in order to install these floor panels.
And since it’s not optional, we recommend that you get the best underlayment for hardwood floors once and for all, so that you don’t have to worry about replacements.
A good underlayment will keep your floorboards stable.
The layer will provide cushioning so that you can walk swiftly in your house without making it sound like you’re in a horror movie.
5 Best Underlayer For Hardwood Floors Reviews
As with everything else in the market, you will get tons of options with underlayment too. But don’t be fooled. Many of those are not worth your time and money. Then the question arises what is the best underlayment for hardwood floors on the market?
So let’s begin by talking about 5 of the best ones that are indeed worth it.
1. AMERIQUE AMSLV3MM1R 200SFT Premium 3MM Thick Super Quiet Floor Underlayment
Walk like a cat with this underlayment below your floorboards. The foam comes in the standard 3 mm thickness, and owing to this; it has the capacity to muffle the sounds of the house. Moving furniture won’t be a dreaded blasting task anymore – do everything quietly with this padding installed in your house.
You can install this pad fearlessly in your house even if you have allergies, pets, or children. It’s entirely non-allergenic, so it won’t attack you or your pets with unknown allergies. Be safe and be completely at peace with this piece of advanced foam technology.
When the sun shines, don’t worry. When it rains, don’t worry, because the pad provides protection against mold and moisture as well. It’s not going to soak in the water from its surroundings, and neither is it going to become damp in any way.
To keep the padding in tight condition, an anti-crush technology has been incorporated into this system. By the merit of this, your pads will last you long without losing its body under the weight of your feet.
This is a heavy-duty hardwood floor underlayment, with each roll measuring 200 square feet. Installing this is very easy due to the adhesive and the overlap strips that come with it.
2. QuietWalk Plus QW100PLUS Underlayment for Hardwood Flooring with Vapor Barrier
The name is accurate – with these underlayments in your house, you will get much more than just the peace of walking around quietly.
Whether you have floating floors or glued down floors, all have a problem adjusting with all the adjacent layers. This is why you need to get these paddings underneath.
With QuietWalk Plus underlayments, the boards will be perfectly stabilized against each other. There won’t any tiny empty spaces left between them, so you won’t hear the floor creak under your feet.
Moreover, the pads have an especially dense microfiber structure. This helps it to retain its shape and form under the weight of the overlying floor and your feet. No matter how hard you stomp on them, or how frequently you walk around the house, these pads will not give up on you.
Another feature of the recycled fibers of these pads is that they provide a solid moisture barrier from within. The purpose of the barrier is to manage all the moisture that collects underneath the floors so that the pads don’t get damp.
Finally, the extra-special feature of this underlayment is the radiant heating system. The in-floor heating mechanism helps to distribute heat evenly from a small corner of the house to all the rest of the house so that the padding doesn't get any thermal shock damage.
3. AMERIQUE 3-in-1 Wood Flooring Underlayment with Vapor Barrier and Sound Reduction
Some floorboards are quite sturdy by themselves and don’t require thick padding for extra stability. If you have such a case where you don’t need thick padding underneath the boards, then this underlayment from AMERIQUE with its thickness of 2 mm will suit you really well.
It has all the technology that comes with thick pads, so you will get the full benefits to bring you peace at home.
You will get 4 rolls of underlayment with this purchase. The padding may be thin, but it spreads out to 800 sq ft, and so it will cover large rooms without any problem.
A heavy-duty foam has been used to construct these pads, so it has anti-crushing advantages. Your floorboards will stay stable and well-adjusted with the help of these durable pads for many long years.
If you are looking for underlayment for nail down hardwood floors, or floating floorboards, then these will be ideal. The structure within the foam is multi-fibrous and quite dense. Therefore, it will help to muffle sounds as well.
The material is non-allergenic, so they are completely safe for installment in houses with pets, children, or people with sensitive skin.
Moreover, it has an additional barrier to lock out moisture and keep your floorboards dry and in good health.
4. Roberts 70-193A Super Felt Cushion Roll for Engineered Wood and Laminate Flooring Underlayment
This is not only limited to wood or laminate, but it can be used as an underlayment for hardwood floors on concrete and engineered floors as well. It has been tested several times, and all the results have concluded that this underlayment is extremely capable of providing stability, noiselessness, and protection against moisture.
With this, you will get a thick cushion underneath your floor, and it will help to keep the boards stable. They won’t slip or break, and you will be able to remove worries about floorboard replacements from your head completely.
Each roll of this padding measures about 360 sq ft. A recycled super felt material has been used to make the pads. They are 3mm in thickness and can cushion the floor so as to absorb noise, keep away moisture and redistribute heat evenly over the entire floor.
This padding actually absorbs the sounds rather than deflecting it away. Therefore, with this installed in the house, you won’t hear your furniture being moved over the floor, and even the sounds from television will also stay within the space - they won’t travel to other rooms to create a noisy environment.
Your floors will stay stable, and the house will have a peaceful ambiance.
Read more about Best Underlayment for Laminate Flooring on Concrete
5. MP Global Products INSUL100 Insulayment – Best Underlayment for Glue and Nail Down Hardwood Floors
Imperfections may be left on your subfloors during installation, and when that happens, the floor looks patchy and cheap. However, when you lay down this special underlayment, you can ease those imperfections out so that the floor remains stable and looks glossy from every angle.
This padding has been titled insulayment instead of an underlayment because of it has an R-value of 0.57, which makes it incredibly insulating and makes your house resistant to thermal energy so that it stays cool in hot days and warm in the cold days.
So, with this, you are getting to stabilize your floorboards and also keep a steady temperature in the house.
These pads are compatible with all kinds of floors - wooden, engineered, bamboo, concrete, and even on ceramic tiles. The insulayment additionally has noise absorbing features as well.
There is, however, one disadvantage with this, and that is - it doesn't have a vapor barrier. If you need one, you have to get it installed with the underlayment separately.
Without the vapor barrier, the insulayment has a higher quality and a longer life, so if you want a reliable product, this will still be a good pick for you.
Buying Guide: Things to Know Before Buying your Hardwood Floors Underlayment
If you want the best underlayment for hardwood floors, you need to know what makes one the best. So, let’s get into the details right here.
The Thickness of The Underlayment
This might seem like the most important factor to consider here, but it’s really not. However, it’s important enough to begin the discussion with.
Choosing the thickness is, fortunately, not that tricky. Most underlayments are quite of the same thickness of 2-3mm. This is the standard thickness that will be good for most subfloors.
However, if your floors have been laid down with some unevenness, then you have to opt for a thicker one than the standard.
You can also use thinner underlayment for boards that are thinner than the standard.
Types of Material
There are about 4 types of materials that are used to make the most accessible underlayments under reasonable price tags.
This is the cheapest and the most widely used material for underlayment. If you are trying to spend money reasonably, then this will be a great option for you. These foam underlayments are great at absorbing sound. Some of these are just a basic layer of foam, and others have 2-in-1 systems that include a vapor barrier.
These foam underlayments are good with all types of floors ranging from wood, laminate, vinyl to engineered floors, and carpet rolls.
These are made by recycling fibers, and they are much denser than foam. Due to the higher density, this material is also better at absorbing sound. But that’s not its specialty – the special feature of felt underlayments is that they are great insulators too! The structure of felt makes it great at absorbing moisture, and this same structure can be chemically tweaked to make it repel moisture so that your floorboards stay dry and last longer with the protection of felt underlayment.
These can be used for many types of flooring – hardwood, vinyl, concrete, laminate, and so on.
Some felt paddings come with a vapor barrier too, but even if they don’t, you can have it installed very easily.
Being a recycled product, the felt underlayments are environment-friendly. And given the situation of the Earth’s climate, they are quite a smart option for you right now.
If you are tired of being distracted by tiny sounds around the house and want absolute silence, then the cork underlayment is your rightful stop. This material can absorb sound better than any other. It is also good at providing insulation. But most importantly, it has an antimicrobial nature that keeps your house free of mold and bacteria.
One problem with this type of underlayment is that it gets damaged by water. So these are not good for places that are prone to getting wet.
4. Rubber + Cork:
This is a great material for underlayment. It will seal your floorboards, even the cracks in it. This is great at holding the floorboards even and sturdy. It’s a good choice for wooden and tiled floors. Due to the cork in it, underlayments made of rubber cork have the same antimicrobial properties as cork underlayments. But you’ll need to get a vapor barrier separately installed with these as well.
FAQs About Hardwood Flooring Underlayment
1. Is it a good idea to get multiple layers of underlayment under the floorboards?
This is inadvisable because such an installation might take away the stability and have the underlayments sliding on top of each other. Underlayments are designed to be installed in a single layer only.
2. Is foam a better underlayment than felt?
Foam provides better cushioning than felt. But felt can smoothen out furniture marks more quickly, and they are incredibly sturdy as well.
3. What is the best underlayment for wooden stairs?
9mm would be the best for stairs.
4. Why is underlayment mandatory?
Without underlayment, your boards won’t be stable for long. Also, if these are wooden or laminate floors, there are chances that the boards will get smashed in panels where there is high foot traffic. Read more about it.
5. How long do underlayments last?
They will usually last for about 15 to 20 years.
If you are getting underlayments, make sure to get the best underlayment for hardwood floors. Otherwise, it won't last long, and you will need to replace it sooner than you'd be comfortable with. It's also a huge hassle, so try not to cheap out on this.
With good underlayments, your house will have a peaceful ambiance. There will be no problems with leakage on the floor, and the house will stay fresh, and you will feel more comfortable walking on your beautiful hardwood floors!