does vinyl flooring need underlay

Does vinyl flooring require underlay?

When it comes to flooring such as carpet, it is usually a requirement to first add an underlay. This is so that you get more endurance from your purchase, saving you money on early replacements. An underlay will help to absorb the impact of foot traffic while providing a cushioning effect that makes the floor comfortable for your feet. However, does vinyl flooring need underlay?

Does vinyl flooring require underlay?

The short answer would be no, but there are a few exceptions where underlay may be necessary. Generally speaking, the design of vinyl flooring prevents any need for underlay. This is because vinyl flooring comes with a base layer that already acts as an underlay, removing the need for any additional flooring aids.

By design, vinyl flooring is exceptionally stable. As such, they do not wobble or buckle under your feet. This is why underlay is rarely necessary when buying vinyl. This is quite beneficial considering how much you would save from choosing vinyl alone. The fact that you needn’t buy underlay is a great financial bonus!

Why you don’t need an underlay

·         Insulating underlay is not necessary. This can cause your floor to become unstable, becoming a burden as opposed to a benefit.

·         Vinyl floors are designs for direct installation over the subfloor, which must be smooth, clean and free from damage.

·         Even if you think your subfloor is too damaged for new flooring, you can still choose glue-down vinyl flooring without an underlay!

·         Vinyl plank flooring using loose lay installation is a cut-to-fit method. There is no need to accommodate expansion gaps, meaning there is still no need for an underlay.

The exception

As mentioned, there is one exception: you might need a subfloor if you are using click-lock vinyl on a concrete subfloor.

You must always check your subfloor for weak areas that can attract water and moisture. If you find any of these areas, you must add a vapour barrier underlay. This is so that no moisture can creep through and trap itself in the planks, preventing damage to the floor structure.

If you wish to increase the height of your floor, then you may then be able to use underlay. In these cases, you must choose vinyl flooring with a thickness of 4mm or more. However, it is recommended that you refer to the instructions by your flooring manufacturer before doing so. If you use an underlay when it isn’t necessary, you could nullify your floor warranty.

Get in touch with Floorbay to find out more about our vinyl flooring products and more.