How Important Is Your Flooring’s Underlay, Really?

If you no longer love your underlay, it might be time change things up. But before you go and purchase the first underlay you see, you need to know that they are not all created equally. Different types of underlay perform different tasks, and choosing the incorrect underlay for your flooring can result in a lot of money wasted.

When looking for underlay, the object of the game is to get the right one for your flooring type.

Types of Underlay

There are several types of underlay on the market. However, for the home, underlay is available in PU (polyurethane) foam and rubber. Polyurethane foam underlay is characterised by its light weight. PU foam tends to recover more quickly from weight, making its springy nature ideal for areas of high traffic. It also offers a high degree of sound reduction as well as being a heat insulator.

Rubber underlay has been on the market a long time, and where springiness is needed, a higher quality rubber underlay is best. However, in areas like an office where soft carpeting is not a requirement, lower-cost underlay will usually do the job. The percentage of rubber content usually determines the cost of this type of underlay. The benefit of rubber underlay is that it can cost less, which can mean that more can be purchased to cover larger areas.

Does TOG Rating Matter?

The TOG rating of underlay does matter, and for several reasons. First, it tells you how well a particular underlay will insulate your flooring. A low TOG rating on underlay indicates that it will be better at allowing heat to rise, making it ideal for floors with underfloor heating. A high rating will indicate that an underlay is best for thicker flooring such as carpeting.

The Ideal Carpet Underlay

If you are looking for underlay for your carpeting, then the first thing that must be considered is where in your home the carpeting is located. A flight of stairs will benefit most from underlay that is thin, where you may desire the more soft and luxurious feel that thicker underlay can provide in a bedroom.

Underlay for Wood, Vinyl and Laminate Flooring

It is just as important to have underlay for your wood, vinyl and laminate flooring as it is for under your carpeting. This is because underlay provides the insulation needed to keep cold air from coming up through the floor. As well, adding underlay to your wood, laminate or Karndean wood flooring will protect it from the potentially-damaging effects of moisture, traffic, and everyday mishaps.

Other Benefits of Underlay for your Floors

In addition to the sound and heat insulating benefits, underlay can also help keep your flooring looking newer for longer. Its shock-absorbing quality allows for the quick recovery of floors from applied weight, but it also helps even out the height of flooring for a cleaner and newer-looking appearance.

Contrary to popular belief, carpet underlay can actually help reduce allergens. It works to trap dust before it becomes airborne and irritates the eyes and nasal passages of allergy sufferers.

When looking for the right underlay, it’s a good idea to remember that the higher the density of foam used, the higher the quality it will be. Foam density can be determined by consulting the weight per cubic metre. A high value will indicate a denser foam.

The thickness of the underlay is another consideration. For areas needing flooring that lasts, consider a foam underlay having both a high thickness as well as a high-density weight value.

Purchasing underlay will increase the overall cost of the flooring in your home. However, it should be looked upon as a worthy investment that will save you the cost to purchase new flooring every few years.