Modern vinyl/lino sheet flooring roll. Do you need underlay for it?

Do You Need Underlay For Vinyl Flooring?

As a flooring specialist, one of the most common questions we get asked by customers is whether you need an underlay.

For most types of flooring – including carpets, laminate and hardwood – our answer is always a resounding yes! Underlay offers multiple benefits and plays a crucial role in enhancing the comfort, durability and longevity of your floor. It’s the unsung hero that provides extra insulation, soundproofing and a bit of cushioning underfoot. To us, underlay is a must-buy rather than a ‘nice to have’.

But there’s an exception to every rule…

You don’t need underlay for vinyl flooring

You might be surprised to learn that – so long as the surface you’re installing it on is smooth, clean and level – you don’t need an underlay for vinyl sheet flooring (also known as linoleum or lino).

But why is that? Let’s break it down:

Built-in comfort

3 rolls of modern vinyl lino flooring with thick in-built padding/underlay

Modern vinyl flooring is a game-changer. Gone are the days of thin, flimsy, uncomfortable vinyl – the type you’d find in your gran’s bathroom.

Today’s sheet vinyl comes with a cushioned base layer as standard, which provides ample thermal and sound insulation on its own. It’s soft, comfortable and ready to roll out directly onto your subfloor.

Durability comes as standard

Oak effect lino/vinyl flooring installed in a kitchen

One of the key selling points of underlay is its ability to protect your flooring from daily wear and tear, extending its lifespan.

However, lino is an inherently durable material that can withstand heavy foot traffic on its own, without the need for extra protection from an underlay.

In fact, when properly looked after and maintained, we’ve known lino to last for decades.

Ready for installation

Man installing modern vinyl/lino sheet flooring

Vinyl sheeting is designed to be hassle-free. It can be rolled out and installed directly over both concrete or wooden subfloors, so long as the surface is smooth, clean and level.

Plus, it’s water-resistant by nature, making it much less prone to damage from moisture compared to other flooring types.

Sheet vinyl vs. luxury vinyl tiles

Man installing luxury vinyl tiles

While sheet vinyl often goes solo, luxury vinyl tiles (AKA LVT) are a different story. ‘Click’ LVT is usually installed as a floating floor (similar to how you’d fit laminate), which means underlay is a good investment. This extra layer will help prevent tiles from moving, protect against moisture, add insulation and reduce impact noise from footsteps.

Even glue-down LVT can benefit from a specialist LVT underlay. A product like Duralay Dry Back, for example, will help negate expensive subfloor preparation (such as screeding) while allowing for quicker installation. In some cases, you could save yourself up to £20m² on fitting and prep costs!

Forget the underlay

So, good news vinyl enthusiasts – this type of flooring is low-maintenance, hardwearing and doesn’t require an underlay, making it an extremely affordable choice for your home.

However, remember that LVT might still benefit from that extra layer.

If you’re unsure whether you’d benefit from installing an underlay, get in touch with our expert team at and we’ll give you our honest opinion.