Get tips on choosing an underlayment for laminate floors in your home or basement. Learn what materials make up an underlayment and what it does.
LESLIE: Nate in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. I understand you’ve got a flooring question.
NATE: Yeah, I sure do. I’ve got a relatively new house here and the basement
is pretty flat and I was wondering what type of underlayment I want to use with a floating floor.
NATE: Yeah, and a few people have told me I can just put maybe a four mil poly or something like that and I know they make, you know, a laminate underlayment; I just didn’t know what the best would probably be for the money.
TOM: Well, most manufacturers of laminate specify a certain type of underlayment. I know Formica has one that sort of looks like foam. Armstrong
has one that looks more like – I hate to say this – crushed paper, but it’s not really paper but it kind of looks that way.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, because it’s waterproof.
TOM: Because it’s waterproof. Yeah. So I would turn to the manufacturer of the laminate for the particular product. You want to put something down that has a little bit of give to it, Nate.
TOM: So just putting plain plastic down is not the solution.
LESLIE: Yeah, because you want most of them sort of – even though they’re thin, they’re made out of this foamy type of fabric, if you will, that sort of covers over any slight differences in height or anything that might poke out of the floor. This way it sort of creates a more even surface. I’m not talking about great differences but, you know, like slight little juts here and there. That foam sort of creates a nice base and then your floating floor goes right over that. And also, some manufacturers of laminates put their underlayment directly on the backside of that plank. So double-check to make sure that that’s not what you’re getting and make sure that you do use whatever the manufacturer specifies.
TOM: Nate, hope that helps you out. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.