Installing new flooring is a costly enterprise, so you want to get it right the first time around. If you've chosen to go the vinyl path, you're probably wondering about the best underlayment for vinyl plank flooring. Actually, you may not even need underlayment depending on the product and where you plan to install it.
If you've chosen Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring as a replacement for your current flooring, you've made a very smart choice. It's extremely beautiful flooring that mimics natural hardwood and sometimes even stone.
Most LVP flooring is water-resistant (some types are even waterproof) and it's also very durable, able to resist dents, dings, scratches, and stains. So no matter what your family throws at it, it still looks great!
Installing LVP is a pretty easy process as long as the subfloor is prepared properly. In some cases, may mean using an underlayment and other times, it may not be necessary.
What Is Underlayment?
Underlayment serves several functions including sound deadening, softening the feel of the floor underfoot, and can also act as a moisture barrier.
Why People Use Underlayment
People turn to underlayment for comfort underfoot, sound reduction and moisture barriers. Comfort may seem like a strange thing to worry about with flooring, but walking on concrete and hard surfaces can be tough on the body. For some people, a good underlayment can make a big difference in how it feels to be on their feet all day.
Sound reduction is also a big consideration with underlayment. It's not just about dampening the sound of footfalls but all sound. If you're putting flooring in your children's rooms, for instance, or you have downstairs neighbors, sound-dampening underlayment can help muffle any noise happening in that space. It means less sound carrying from room to room and between floors, and it can be required in some condos and homeowners' associations.
Not all underlayment offers moisture barriers, and not all flooring situations require it, but they are useful in numerous situations. When laying floors over concrete, it's necessary because groundwater can rise up through concrete and damage the floor or cause mold. Other situations benefit from a moisture barrier too, like when flooring a room adjacent to a swimming pool or a bathroom or kitchen where moisture is common. For spills and frequent dampness, having that layer of moisture barrier means protecting your subfloors for the long haul while also slowing down any potential flooding damage.
Luxury Vinyl Plank and Underlayment
This product is one of the fastest-growing products in flooring. Luxury vinyl plank is engineered to look fantastic while being both affordable and an easy product to install. If you're wondering about luxury vinyl plank underlayment, that's one of the appeals – it usually doesn't need underlayment. In fact, as a softer flooring, adding an underlayment could mean too much cushion, resulting in dents and more wear and tear sooner. Opt for a dense underlayment if you go for one.
A selling point of luxury vinyl plank is that it is designed to be a thin installation, so it can easily go in over existing floors without raising your floor height. Because of its thinness, it's critical that existing floors be level and smooth since any raised portions will cause uneven wear on the vinyl surface, ruining the effect. This means that installing it over tile is not recommended.
Luxury vinyl plank generally doesn't get affixed to the subfloor in any way. Since it's a floating floor system, it's also not recommended to install it over other floating floor products.
How Do I Install Underlayment?
The process of installing underlayment for a new floor project begins with one crucial action: you must clean the subfloor, or existing flooring, thoroughly.
Make sure every bit of dust, dirt, and other debris are removed and that the surface has been washed and is completely dry.
From there, the installation of an underlayment is fairly easy.
Lay the underlayment in the opposite direction of the flooring.
Simply roll the material out beginning in a corner, shiny side up to the other side of the room.
Make sure to leave 2" around the edges on all sides (this will be trimmed off after the flooring is installed.
Subsequent pieces butt up next to the previous piece but never overlap.
Seal the seams using clear packing tape the entire length of the seam.
Generally, you won't need to worry about attaching the underlayment to the floor. However, at certain spots, it might be a good idea to glue the underlayment to the subfloor to provide added stability such as frequently used doorways and rooms that get a lot of bright, natural sunlight.