Do I Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring? – Let’s Know Whole Thing

Do I Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring

You are all set up to go with your new flooring installation and this time it’s the ravishing, luxurious vinyl one. With the gloves on and a nicely tightened lace for boots, you are almost ready to install. But Hold on For A While! Are you missing something?

Take a few steps back and let’s just admire overall floor of your kitchen or maybe the bathroom. Now think about how much stable surfacing and smooth finishing will give you the ultimate satisfaction? 

I am assuming the amount would be nothing close to meek. You and almost anyone would want their flooring to be extra smooth and super stable. And to make that happen, you should be questioning this one thought… Do I need underlayment for vinyl plank flooring or should I just skip It? I’m here to sort that confusion out today.

Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Need Underlayment: Breaking Down the Whole Thing 

Experts really support the idea of getting underlayment for vinyl flooring. Now there are definitely reasons behind that. Do you really need to go for an underlayment or is it alright to skip the part? That’s what we would be routing for today…

I won’t give you an unexplained answer, because that’s just not right. Let’s know wholly about underlayment is and when to or not to think about getting one…

When Do You Need Underlayment

What Is Underlayment?

Floor installation is all about several layers. The buffer like component that stays between surface and sub floor is known as underlayment. 

It’s usually rolls of fiber boards or even plywood. And these are used to improve and enhance the stability of flooring. The final layer for installation is the visible material while walking such as stone or tile.

Basically, the layer sub floor comes with several flaws and mistakes sometimes. And so, there could be issues related to these mistakes later on. Underlayment is basically a process or step that makes such issues vanish from the beginning. Especially for the acoustic performance of a floor, underlayment plays a huge role.

With an underlayment, one can ensure comfortable underfoot as well as sound reduction benefit. This also works well as a moisture barrier. Sometimes walking on concrete and hard floors seem to be uneasy. And underlayment can really swipe away those discomforts. In short, with a properly done underlayment, one can feel the comfort on their feet all day.

Another very bright reason that you should consider for your downstairs neighbor at least is the fact that sounds get reduced to minimal. Imagine the dampening sound of football troubling people staying downstairs. This becomes even more necessary when it comes to kids’ rooms since they tend to make a lot of sounds while running or playing.

Moisture barrier is not a confirmed benefit with every underlayment, but some do offer this facility. Groundwater coming above the floor can eventually lead to damage and even mold. So, a moisture barrier will play as an invisible blessing from time to time.

When Do You Need Underlayment?

How to Install Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring

The first and foremost case where you can’t skip underlayment is when it is already recommended. You should not do so since that leads to a very disturbing clapping sound. Usually, it happens due to variation in height with the plank length. Even with 1 millimeter of variation, this irritating sound can take place.

If you are installing the vinyl planking floor over concrete basement, moisture riding above should not be a problem. However, for the sake of air humidity control in that space, having moisture barrier could be essential. Sometimes climate is the major reason behind such needs.

Also, vinyl is pretty soft. And so, it might need the support of hard but thin underlay to keep balance. If you choose something soft for the underlayment, there will be more chances of unstableness that could lead to unnecessary damage, sometimes puncturing.

When Should You Avoid Underlayment?

Sometimes, you need to skip underlayment over tiles to avoid difficult installation. Especially when you decide to install the flooring yourself. Usually the process this way will save from one to four dollars every square foot. Also, using a built-in underlayment could give better opportunities.

When using glue-down vinyl plank flooring, it’s not necessary to use underlayment in most cases. This might bring further problems later if you ever wish to remove the product. However, the underlayment cost gets saved this way.

Also, if the flooring comes with a built-in underlayment, it’s better to avoid another underlay installation. Since this could cause a problem with the warranty.

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How to Install Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

How to Install Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Plywood is a common underlayment choice to use for vinyl plank flooring. So, let’s go with that. With uniform dimensions and edges, these sheets are pretty much weightless. Using a circular saw, table saw, handsaw or even jigsaw, you can simply cut the sheets.

You can put the underlayment with or without glues. But the manufacturers these days suggest using the one without glue. Since that makes the installation quite simple. The most important part here is the underlayment panel’s fastening process.

Air-powered staplers combined with galvanized staples work best for the process. Some even suggest using galvanized or coated screws/nails for this fastening process. It’s not right to use any nonstandard or uncoated fastener. If you do so, get ready to be affected with discoloration, rust and similar issues later.

Keep panels in the room of installation for at least 3 days. So that there is a minimal rate of expansion or contraction after installation. Make sure the sub floor is cleaned nicely and thoroughly. 

Then install the panel directly to sub floor with one at a time. Following plywood sub flooring direction, let the sheets run. However, offsetting the underlayment seams from sub flooring is also critical. The underlayment joints over sub floor.

Every two-inch fastening of the underlayment sheet along to edge happens through staple installation. This is around 4 inches for the field area. Keeping the nails and screws a bit apart is necessary. Also, it’s best to hit the sheets together. Keeping gaps for around 1/8 inch or so on is also fine. Just make sure to fill those gaps with seam filler. And the installation should be done!


Ask yourself once again, do I need underlayment for vinyl plank flooring or not. What’s the answer this time? I’m sure you will have a better resulting answer this time after knowing everything about when underlayment works best with vinyl plank flooring. Also, don’t forget my tips on the installation. I hope it helps you with the process. Good Luck on That!

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