3 Best Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring (Including Installation)| Pros & Cons of Underlayments

3 Best Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring (Including Installation)| Pros & Cons of Underlayments

Best Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring | What to Consider When Choosing Types of Underlayments

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1 Best Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring | What to Consider When Choosing Types of Underlayments
1.8 Underlayment For Vinyl Flooring FAQs

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl plank flooring is a very popular choice for homeowners nowadays, largely because of how long it lasts and its ease of assembly. It is also usually one of the more affordable flooring options.

However, like all other types of flooring, there are different types of underlayments available for it.

While most are adequate enough, you can get a higher quality product by looking for one that meets certain criteria such as being breathable and easy to clean.

What to Consider When Choosing Types of Underlayments

1. Breathability

Breathability is one of the best characteristics a vinyl plank underlayment should possess. The inclusion of breathable material will allow for moisture to easily seep through it as opposed to remaining trapped in the sheet.

2.  Easy to clean

You don’t want to have to scrub your floor every time you need to clean it, especially after being out of place for a while.

High-quality material will usually be easy to clean by either hosing it down or wiping it with a damp cloth.

3. Free of VOCs

VOCs are substances that can cause certain types of materials used in flooring, paint, and other uses to release harmful fumes into the air.

4. Thickness

The thickness of your underlayment is something you should pay particular attention to as well.

A thinner underlayment will not be as durable as one that is thicker. A thicker underlayment is going to offer more protection from moisture than thinner ones that are often less breathable.

5. Waterproofing

All types of flooring need some sort of waterproofing but vinyl plank floors are the most susceptible.

This is because they are made from materials that can crease and wrinkle when exposed to water or dampness, causing the entire floor to become worse for wear.

6. Thermal ratings

Vinyl plank flooring can be a truly amazing product but you have to be careful what you get as not all of those which claim to be waterproof will actually hold up to that claim. The materials from which the floor is made of will determine how well it holds up.

A vinyl plank underlayment that has been rated as waterproof and thermal resistant should feel and act like one.

Pros Of Using Underlayments

1. Easy to install

Underlayments are a fairly straightforward product. You can buy a roll of it, cut it to size, staple it down, and have an instant floor beneath your feet.

However, not all underlayments are created equally so you need to be careful when choosing one.

2. Price

This is the most obvious advantage of using underlayment which makes it the favorite underlayment among homeowners in general because of its affordability.

As mentioned previously, there are different types of underlayments, each with varying prices.

3.   Easy to clean

The best underlayment for vinyl floor will be the easiest to clean and also have the best durability. You should always be on the lookout for a product that is easy to clean as well.

4. Protection

Use of an underlayment is going to provide you with added protection from moisture and wear.

Furthermore, some types of underlayments will be able to protect your flooring and make it last longer.

5. Hygienic

A good underlayment will be one that does not allow for the growth of mold or mildew because such material can be harmful to your health if inhaled in high concentration.

6. Sound absorption

It is also important to choose the best underlayment for vinyl flooring based on the material of which it is made and how well it absorbs sound.

You want to choose the product that will provide the best noise reduction and absorption.

Cons of Using Underlayments

1.  Very little cushioning

Underlayments are not made for comfort but rather for providing you with a protective layer between your flooring and what it is resting on.

Many types of underlayments are not designed to offer you any cushioning at all. As a result, they will be extremely difficult on your joints and tendons and may cause discomfort.

2. Low-quality material

Underlayments are quite thin which means they need to be of high-quality since durability is key when it comes to this type of flooring.

If the material of which your underlayment is made is of low quality, it will not be able to stand up to wear and tear and may begin to rip or tear.

3. Can harbor moisture

Because underlayments are made from certain materials that can cause moisture to travel through them, they will tend to retain it.

This is because the surface of the material is not porous and it cannot allow for any water vapor to escape.

Types Of Underlayments for Vinyl Plank Flooring

Underlayments for vinyl flooring come in two different forms: those designed to be directly glued to the subfloor and those made to be laid over a plywood subfloor.

The direct glue-up underlayment can be either foam-backed or adhesive-bonded, designed to provide cushion and soundproofing for your flooring.

Alternatively, the type of underlayment that goes over a plywood subfloor is usually made from rigid foam sheets or old carpeting.

The particular underlayment you choose should be determined by your circumstances.

If you plan to install a vinyl floor to go with a preexisting hardwood floor for example, then the adhesive-bonded underlayment would work better.

The same goes if you are laying the floor over concrete and not plywood.

It is also common to use a combination of the two, relying on the adhesive-bonded underlayment for your walls and other vertical surfaces while using the foam or carpeted one beneath your new floor.

Best Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring

1. Foam Underlayment

Foam is one of the least expensive underlayment you can buy. If your subfloor is made of plywood, foam is often a good choice.

Be sure, however, that you have no moisture issues first. Foam and water aren’t a good mix. If you are laying down a decorator-style vinyl plank, foam will offer the least amount of comfort.

Density: The higher the density, the more expensive it is. Foam is available in various densities. The higher the density, the better quality the material.

Installation: You need a soft float or trowel for installation so you won’t puncture the foam. Coupled with your underlayment glue gun, stick to your vinyl flooring and let them cure overnight before you walk on them.

Pros of Foam Underlayment:

-Least expensive

– Easy to install

– Saves money if installing a wood floor over concrete

Cons of Foam Underlayment

-Adds little comfort to your vinyl flooring

– Needs better installation than many other types of underlayment

2. Cork Underlayment

Cork is another type of material used for underlayment. It is made from natural cork tree bark and offers a soft, cushy feel.

Cork is very durable and will add comfort to your vinyl plank flooring as well as protect it from sound vibration.

Density: Cork is available in half-pound and two-pound density. The higher the density, the less expensive it is.

Installation: Like foam, cork is a very soft underlayment that is easy to install. To install cork, you simply apply glue to the flooring, then lay your cork sheet directly on top of it. Let it cure for 24 hours before walking on it and let it sit for a few days more before removing it.

Pros of Cork Underlayment:

-Improves the comfort of vinyl plank flooring

-Good sound proofing

-Very durable

Cons of Cork Underlayment:

-Expensive to purchase

– Needs a better installation than foam underlayment

3. Polystyrene Underlayment

Polystyrene is a hard material made from petroleum byproducts and can be found in everything from packaging peanuts to insulation.

Polystyrene can last for years. It is somewhat more expensive than foam or cork underlayment but is generally an excellent choice.

Polystyrene can be installed in much the same way as foam, except that it is harder to move around.

If you plan to remove it for any reason (such as moving), make sure you wear a mask since polystyrene insulation is very toxic and can cause breathing problems.

Density: The higher the density, the better the quality of your underlayment. Be sure to choose the right one for your vinyl flooring type.

Installation: Polystyrene can be installed using a handsaw or form tool and a glue gun. Let cure overnight.

Pros:

-Cost-effective- Very durable

-Insulates in a good way

-Not as hard to install as foam or cork underlayment

Cons:

More expensive than other types of underlayment

4. Felt Underlayment

Felt is more expensive than foam and should be considered if you have a carpeted floor. Carpet and felt are a good pair as the former can protect the flooring from heat and moisture.

Density: The higher the density, the better the quality of your underlayment. Be sure to choose the right one for your vinyl flooring type.

Installation: Like foam, felt is a very soft underlayment that is easy to install. To install felt, you simply apply glue to both sides of the material and then secure it to your flooring with screws or staples. Allow it to cure overnight for best results.

Pros of Felt Underlayment:

-Only adds comfort to a carpeted flooring

-Adds protection from heat and moisture

Cons of Felt Underlayment

-Very expensive

-Only used to protect carpeted floors

Note that the type of subfloor you have will  determine what kind of underlayment you should use. When it comes to the type of underlayment to use, it is important to keep certain things in mind, such as the following:

Your underlayment must be made of a suitable material for your flooring. Whether or not you choose an adhesive-bonded or foam-backed one will largely depend on your floor’s nature.

If you are laying down plywood, then you should use an adhesive-bonded underlayment whereas if you are laying down concrete, you’d want a foam-backed one.

If you are installing an underlayment that goes over plywood, there is a chance that the wood will get wet with water vapor from your flooring. This is particularly true if the flooring material you choose is not waterproof.

As a result, a foam-backed underlayment would be more suitable in your case as it will enable for free movement of air and not trap moisture.

If you don’t want to purchase new flooring, you can use carpet or felt underlayment to lay over your current flooring. Make sure to put down a vapor barrier before placing your new flooring on top.

Now that you know a little bit more about what underlayment is, the next step is to determine what your needs are and how much you would like to spend.

Remember that these will affect the product you will ultimately choose.

You also need to consider your flooring’s properties and your circumstances when choosing an underlayment as there can be varying ones depending on these factors as well.

Underlayment For Vinyl Flooring FAQs

What is an underlayment?

An underlayment is a material used to provide the necessary support for laminate floors and vinyl plank flooring.

It serves as a sort of blanket to help protect the floor from any damage that may be caused by moisture. It also helps with sound deadening by absorbing some of the noise and vibration from your feet.

What is underlayment made from?

Underlayment can be made from various materials including paper, foam, or closed cell polyurethane foam.

What is OSB?

OSB is a wood product composed of thin planks or blocks of wood. It commonly comes in 2” (50 mm) x 4” (100 mm) sheets. The planks are then stacked and compressed into 3/4” (20 mm) thickness sheets.

What is the best underlayment for hardwood?

The best underlayment for hardwood flooring is one that you can easily and cheaply find at your local hardware store.

This may be a solid foam or a paper-faced closed-cell foam. The paper-faced closed cell foam may offer better moisture resistance but it is also more expensive.

What is the difference between underlayment and padding?

Underlayment and padding are typically viewed as two different products by most people. While they may look alike, they serve very different purposes in the installation of your flooring.

Underlayment is used on top of the subfloor in order to guarantee a flat surface on which to install your flooring; it also helps to absorb some of the sound while you walk on it.

Padding is designed to cushion your floors. It is often made of polyurethane foam and is designed to protect your vinyl flooring from scratches and damage.

What type of underlayment do I need?

Every type of underlayment has advantages and disadvantages. For example, foam underlayment is more expensive than paper-faced closed-cell foam.

However, you may need to cover a much larger area with foam and therefore it may be more cost effective.

If you are installing underlayment because you have water damage on your flooring, the best underlayment to cover this is closed cell polyurethane foam.

What does underlayment do?

Underlayment provides a strong foundation for vinyl flooring and serves as protection from moisture and scratches. Underlayment also helps to eliminate sound and vibration from your flooring.

Where can I find underlayment?

You can purchase underlayment at most hardware stores, home centers, lumberyards and big-box retailers such as Home Depot and Lowes.

You should make sure that you get the right type of underlayment for your project by understanding the material it is made of and looking for its manufacturer’s name on the package.

Do I need to install underlayment under vinyl flooring?

Underlayment is typically installed underneath your flooring to provide it with a strong and stable foundation.

If you do not install it, then it can lead to warping, buckling and cracking. It can also make your vinyl flooring more susceptible to moisture damage as well as scratches.

What is the best material to use for underlayment under vinyl flooring?

There are several different underlayment options for vinyl flooring. One common type of underlayment is a foam underlayment.

Foam underlayment can help make the floor quieter as it absorbs some of the sound. Another popular option is a wood strip underlayment.

Wood strip underlayment also helps the flooring be quieter because it too absorbs some of the sound. Lastly, one of the most popular underlayments is OSB (oriented strand board).

OSB is a wood product which is often used for sub-floors and roofs. It offers a good level of sound insulation and is also one of the thicker underlayments.

Why do I need underlayment under vinyl flooring?

When you’re putting down a vinyl plank floor, the first few layers of material need to be true, which means they must surface and/or penetrate the sub-floor below.

In order to do this, you will need an underlayment. And the underlayment is not just any underneath; it needs to be right and that is why we recommend going with a high quality underlayment.

Do I need to use a vapor barrier with underlayment?

All vinyl flooring needs to be protected from moisture and any other adverse conditions that may cause it to degrade. This is where underlayment comes in.

Sometimes, you also need a vapor barrier underlayment.

How much does it cost to install vinyl flooring on my own?

The cost of vinyl flooring varies by area. In areas such as New York, the price per square foot can be as high as $8 per square foot.

In other areas of the country like Denver, Colorado, the price may be as low as $3 a square foot.

Regardless of where you live, if there is any damage to your flooring from water or moisture in your home, you may need to replace it with new materials and that will add to the overall cost.

What is the best way to install vinyl flooring on my own?

This all depends on your personal experience. If you are a skilled handyman, you may be able to install it by yourself.

However, if you aren’t really familiar with installing vinyl flooring or are nervous about doing it by yourself, we recommend hiring a professional to do it for you.

Can I install my own underlayment?

Yes, you can install underlayment under your vinyl flooring if you choose to do so. However, it is very important that you use the right underlayment, such as OSB.

This will ensure the flooring stays in place and that your vinyl flooring has a good foundation to stand on.

Can I install vinyl flooring over plywood?

Yes, many people choose to install vinyl flooring over plywood because they think it is better than installing it over concrete.

However, you should not do this because you may end up damaging the underlayment or preventing it from sticking properly.

You may also encounter some problems with the finish on your flooring as well which could lead to peeling.

What are some DIY tips for installing vinyl flooring?

You will need a good saw (preferably an electric one), a screw gun and a level. If you don’t have any of those things, then you should consider calling in an expert to install it.

What vinyl flooring types should I use with underlayment?

There are many different types of underlayment available. Some are better than others when it comes to protecting your vinyl flooring.

If you choose to go with a foam underlayment, be sure to choose one that is certified for use in a moisture area such as bathrooms or areas that can get wet.

What are the pros and cons of vinyl flooring ?

Pros:

-Vinyl flooring is inexpensive.

-It is durable, especially if you choose a good underlayment. Some underlayments can help your flooring last up to 20 years. The flooring itself can last up to 15 years with the right care.

Cons:

-Not meant to be an indestructible product. As with any other wood product, there are some cases where it may get scratched or damaged by pets and other things that may be in your home. And if the floor can’t take the damage, your vinyl flooring may not be repairable.

What is the difference between vinyl floors and laminate floors ?

Vinyl floors are made of a variety of different materials such as vinyl plank or vinyl planks. They can be topped with an underlayment, carpet or luxury wood like teak or oak.

Laminate floors are made of material that is laminated or glued between two layers of wood or other types of materials.

What are the different types of wood used to make vinyl flooring?

The woods that are used to make vinyl flooring include oak, red oak, maple, birch, cherry and hickory.

One advantage of using these woods is that they can help to absorb sound and vibration in the floor as compared to other woods such as teak or walnut.

How do you install a floating vinyl floor?

Floating vinyl floors are one of the easiest types of floors to install. You’ll need to secure your flooring to the underlayment with a few tacks from a hammer or a nail gun.

you simply measure the finished dimensions of your room and subtract at least an inch off the measurements.

Lay out the planks of wood in a random pattern and try to avoid lines that run parallel to the walls or floor molding that is already in place.

How do I secure a vinyl floor to the subfloor?

To secure your vinyl flooring to the subfloor, you can use a nail gun or special adhesive designed for this purpose.

It is important that you make sure that the underlayment is completely flat before securing your flooring.

For best results, make sure that you do not use staples on your underlayment because they can cause damage to the flooring and will need to be removed later.

How to install vinyl flooring without nails?

You should always use a hammer or nail gun in the installation of any type of flooring. However, there are some products on the market that you can use to achieve a similar effect without having to use nails.

These products include plastic edge tape and floor tape. Floor tape is usually made from plastic strips or paper that have adhesive at one end so that you can simply peel it off of the other side

. If you are thinking of installing vinyl flooring and do not want to use nails, then you will need to use either plastic edge tape or floor tape.

How to install vinyl flooring without staples?

There are a variety of products available that can be used to secure your vinyl flooring in place without using any type of metal fasteners such as staples. The best one that I’ve found is called Floor Tape by the Floor Production Company.

I’ve used this particular product for years on all different types of flooring and it works very well. It is a pressure-sensitive product which means that you simply unroll it and press it into place.

How do you install vinyl flooring in kitchen?

Vinyl flooring is one of the easiest types of floors to install in your kitchen. You’ll need to secure your flooring to the underlayment with a few tacks from a hammer or a nail gun.

Then you simply measure the finished dimensions of your room and subtract at least an inch off the measurements.

Lay out the planks of wood in a random pattern and try to avoid lines that run parallel to the walls or floor molding that is already in place.

How to install vinyl flooring in bathroom?

Vinyl flooring is one of the easiest types of floors to install in your bathroom. You’ll need to secure your flooring to the underlayment with a few tacks from a hammer or a nail gun.

Then you simply measure the finished dimensions of your room and subtract at least an inch off the measurements.

Lay out the planks of wood in a random pattern and try to avoid lines that run parallel to the walls or floor molding that is already in place.

How to install vinyl flooring in hallway or living room?

Vinyl flooring is one of the easiest types of floors to install in your hallway. You’ll need to secure your flooring to the underlayment with a few tacks from a hammer or a nail gun.

Then you simply measure the finished dimensions of your room and subtract at least an inch off the measurements.

Lay out the planks of wood in a random pattern and try to avoid lines that run parallel to the walls or floor molding that is already in place.

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