Flooring, Underlay and TOG Rating

In your search for flooring, you may have heard the term “TOG rating”. The definition of this term is important to understand when choosing underlay for your flooring.

The TOG rating is actually a unit of measurement used in the textile industry to indicate a product’s ability to hold heat. The higher the TOG rating of a product, the better an insulator it is. For example, a duvet with a high TOG rating would trap a large percentage of body heat and be best for winter use, where a duvet with a low rating would work best for summer months.

TOG Ratings and your Flooring

The TOG rating of any material will have a significant impact on your purchasing decision. Of course, another factor will be how much area you need to cover. And remember that there are two TOG ratings to consider here: that of the underlay, and that of the flooring which will be placed over it.

All carpets sold in Bedfordshire have a TOG rating. Again, the higher the rating, the better carpeting will be at trapping heat. Underlay is the same. The type of underlay with the most insulating properties is made of felt, and usually has a TOG rating of 1 or higher.

Which TOG rating you will need your flooring and underlay to have will depend on many factors. First, you will need to consider the environmental conditions in the room you plan to install your underlay and flooring. If the room is already warm enough, then you may only need products having a lower TOG rating. But a room that may be damp or tends to have a lot of air flow may need the added insular properties of products with a higher TOG rating.

Another important consideration is where your flooring is located. For example, you may not wish to use a thick underlay of high TOG rating in a musty basement, as it may trap moisture in addition to heat.

TOG Ratings and Different Flooring and Heating Systems

In areas where underfloor heating will be installed or already exists, underlay can be suitable. However, it must have a low TOG rating, typically no higher than 0.35. The reason for this is because this rating of underlay will allow for heat to be transferred from the system to the floor covering itself, where it is needed most.

For carpeting, the TOG rating of underlay is set at a recommended level of 2.5 TOG and above. Where hardwood flooring is considered, a rating of 1 TOG or higher is suggested.

If you have a concrete floor, you will need some kind of moisture barrier, which underlay can provide if it’s of a type suited to this purpose.

Additional Considerations

Some additional items may need to be considered that go beyond the TOG rating itself. For example, there are some situations where underlay should not be used, such as when an uneven sub floor needs to be levelled, or where moisture must be allowed to escape. Where either of these is a concern, other products such as membranes and floor levelling compounds will provide the needed result. One moisture levels have been controlled and/or the floors levelled, this can be the ideal time to consider your flooring and underlay options, and the TOG rating of each.

In cases where you wish to keep existing flooring but increase the TOG rating by using double the underlay, proceed with extreme caution; underlay should never be doubled up, regardless of the circumstances. Doing so can actually cause your floors to sustain much damage because two layers of underlay will slide against one another, and ultimately, cause your floor itself to slide.