The benefits of laminate underlay

The Benefits Of Laminate Underlay

Among the plethora of flooring options available today, laminate flooring stands out for its versatility, durability and ease of maintenance.

However, an often overlooked aspect of installing laminate is the underlay, a seemingly small detail that can significantly impact the look and feel of your floor, as well as its longevity.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the world of laminate underlay, explaining what it is, why we consider it a must-buy and the myriad benefits it brings to the table.

What is laminate underlay?

Roll of foam laminate underlay underneath wood effect planks

Imagine underlay as the unsung hero of flooring, quietly working behind the scenes to ensure your laminate performs at its best.

It’s a thin layer of material that sits between the subfloor and the laminate, designed to create a smooth, stable surface for the laminate to be installed on while bringing additional benefits to the table (see below).

There are multiple types of laminate underlay, all made from different materials. Some of the most popular include foam, cork, rubber and felt, with each offering its own distinct benefits.

Do you need laminate underlay?

Man installing laminate flooring without underlay

So, do you really need an underlay for laminate? The short answer is no. While it might sound crazy for an underlay retailer to say you can go without, the truth is that so long as your subfloor is smooth and level, you can install laminate directly onto it.

However, this doesn’t mean we would actually recommend going without. Underlay plays a crucial role in the performance and lifespan of your laminate, as you will see below.

The benefits of laminate underlay

Enhanced comfort

Woman walking barefoot on  comfortable laminate floor with underlay underneath

Walking on a floor with underlay is noticeably more comfortable. The underlay provides a slight cushioning effect, making it feel softer underfoot.

This is particularly important with laminate as the boards can be quite thin and unforgiving. It’s something you’ll notice even more in areas where you spend a lot of time on your feet, like your kitchen or hallway.

Improved acoustics

Woman sitting in a quiet, peaceful room with laminate flooring

One of the most significant benefits of laminate underlay is its ability to reduce noise. Whether it’s heavy footsteps, dropped items or general room echo, underlay can help dampen these everyday sounds, creating a quieter, more peaceful home.

For example, our best-selling acoustic laminate underlay, Duralay Silentfloor Gold, is proven to reduce in-room noise by up to 30%!

Thermal insulation

Man turning down a smart thermostat

Underlay acts as an insulator, keeping your floors warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. This can lead to potential energy savings, as your heating and cooling systems won’t have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Moisture protection

Foil backed underlay laid underneath laminate boards to stop moisture and damp

If you’re installing your laminate planks over concrete, cement or tiles there’s the chance of moisture rising from the subfloor and damaging your laminate. 

Installing a plastic damp-proof membrane (DPM) prior to fitting is one way you can counteract damp issues, but many modern laminate underlays now incorporate an in-built DPM, allowing you to skip that step and extending the lifespan of your laminate.

Negate subfloor imperfections

Man sanding wooden floorboards to make them smooth and level

Laminate boards tend to be thinner than hardwood planks. As a result, any unevenness or imperfections in the subfloor can affect how the flooring locks together and its finished appearance. 

No subfloor is perfectly level, but a dense, high-quality underlay will smooth out minor imperfections and bumps (up to a couple of millimetres), creating a flat, stable base for your new flooring. As a result, you won’t have to spend time or money fixing small nicks, holes and grooves.

Make your floor last longer

Damaged and bubbling laminate flooring planks

By providing a stable foundation, underlay helps to distribute weight evenly across the floor, reducing wear and tear on your laminate.

This can extend the life of your flooring significantly – up to 50% in some cases! Clearly, underlay is an investment that will pay dividends in the long term.

Don’t skip the underlay

As you can see, it would be foolish to skip the underlay when installing any laminate floor. The right underlay will not only ensure your new flooring looks and performs its best, but it will actually increase its lifespan, making it a no-brainer investment.

If you’re unsure which laminate underlay would be best for your project, get in touch with our experts at We will be more than happy to help.