Many customers ask us, “Do I need underlay.” The simple answer from any professional in our industry is - yes! Underlay is required for most types of flooring whether you are buying a carpet or laminate flooring we advise you have underlay below.

Choosing the correct underlay to go with a carpet can be just as important as deciding which carpet you like the best. There are many different types and materials of underlay available on the market today which all offer slightly different characteristics.

Underlay is no longer considered an “extra” when buying a new carpet for any area of your home. Underlay is now an essential and integrated part of any flooring purchase offering many advantages including extending the lifespan of your carpet.

Why Do I Need Underlay?

Carpet underlay acts as a barrier between your chosen flooring and the sub-floor it sits on - usually concrete on the ground floor or wooden flooring upstairs.

While underlay is relatively cheap compared to the cost of a carpet, it will more than repay its own cost over the period you have the flooring. By helping your flooring keep its shape for longer it preserves the look, the feel and lifespan of your carpet. By having to replace your carpets less often the cost of underlay can save you a large amount of money. Carpet Underlay also greatly improves the noise and thermal insulation properties of your flooring.

With laminate flooring underlay this is used for a different purpose. Laminate flooring can be known as floating flooring, meaning there is often a gap between the laminate and the sub-floor due to them not being permanently fixed. These types of flooring require underlay to stop moisture and vapour collecting. Laminate flooring underlay also provides heat and noise insulation the same as it does with carpet.

Which Underlay Should I Choose?

Rubber Underlay

Rubber Underlay is a more traditional method which you may find beneath a carpet which has been down for some years. Rubber is now considered an expensive underlay option and also a poor heat insulator compared to alternatives. Positively, rubber is one of the hardest wearing forms of underlay and can be effective in high traffic commercial areas.

Foam Underlay

Foam Underlay, or PU Underlay as it can be known, has become the most popular underlay solution in the UK in recent years. Available in a variety of thickness’ from thinner underlay around 7mm up to premium products at 11-12mm thickness. The thicker foam underlays are some of the nest noise and heat insulators on the market while offering a superior feel to your carpet. Foam carpet underlay is considered a much more budget-friendly solution compared to rubber underlay however, it can not be recycled. It is generally the prefered option of carpet fitters due to how easy it is to cut, bind and lay.

Felt Underlay

Felt underlay is considered to be one of the cheaper choices for carpet underlay alongside PU Foam. It is normally made from recycled material, so offers a more environmentally friendly option to your carpet underlay. Modern felt underlay provides good heat and sound insulation in addition to a comfortable underfoot feel. The durable nature of the material makes this a good choice for high traffic areas such as stairs and living areas.

The Great Big Floor Store offers a wide range of carpet underlay as well as underlay for laminate flooring. Our selections can be broken down into the best types of flooring for the room you need to replace. If you have any questions regarding the type of underlay you need, contact the GBFS team who will be happy to advise you.