Laminate flooring Underlayments

Laminate flooring underlayments serve three main functions: protecting the laminate from water damage, acoustical dampening and stability.

A moisture underlayment is the material that is placed on all concrete subfloors prior to the installation of the laminate. This underlayment prevents any water or moisture that is present in the concrete from reaching the laminate floor. Note that a moisture underlayment is only used on concrete subloors and should not be placed over raised wooden subfloors. This moisture undelayment is available in rolls ranging from 100s/f to 1000s/f and is generally 4' in width. This material is generally made from plastic or a form of Poly and ranges from 4 to 10mm in thickness. Roll the underlayment out over the concrete subfloor, overlap the edges and use duck tape to keep in place and ensure a waterproof seal. Overlapping will prevent any moisture from seeping through the edges. Also be sure to place the underlayment all the way to the wall and slightly up the wall to ensure a good seal. Do not use masking tape instead of duck tape as it makes a noise when walked on and is not waterproof.

The acoustical underlayment is used to reduce the transmission of noise that is created when walking on the floor. As laminate floors are installed according to the floating floor method, they tend to sound hollow when walked on. The addition of this acoustical undelayment will reduce and in most cases completely negate this hollow sound, making your floor sound more like real laminate. Note however that an acoustical underlayment does not have any water repellent qualities and thus must only be used in conjunction with a moisture barrier when installed over a concrete subfloor.

The moisture barrier is placed directly on the concrete and the acoustic barrier lies on top. Do not overlap the edges of the acoustical barrier, as this will result in high spots on the floor. Use Duck tape to attach the edges. Acoustical underlayments are available in an assortment of materials, ranging form cork to felt. When installing a laminate floor in a condo, be sure that the acoustical properties of the underlayment meet or exceed the noise reduction specifications set by the condo regulations.

Today, many laminate floors come with an acoustical backing already attached to the laminate flooring boards. The only advantage of this method over a separate acoustical barrier is that it makes for a quicker installation. Note that when installing over a concrete subfloor, it is still necessary to utilize a moisture barrier.

As well as offering acoustical dampening and water repellent properties, these underlayments also offer a certain amount of stability to the laminate floor, as well as evening out any minor undulations in the subfloor.

 
   
   
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