Underlayment for vinyl plank flooring on concrete, plywood and hardwood

The strategic choice of underlayment holds paramount importance. When considering vinyl plank flooring installation over concrete, plywood, or hardwood subfloors, meticulous attention to underlayment selection and installation procedures is indispensable. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the underlayment options available for varying subfloor materials, offering practical insights and recommendations to ensure a successful vinyl plank flooring project.

Types of Underlayment

Before delving into specific subfloor materials, it’s crucial to understand the various types of underlayment available:

  • Foam underlayment: Lightweight and affordable, ideal for noise reduction and moisture resistance.
  • Cork underlayment: Offers superior sound absorption and thermal insulation properties.
  • Rubber underlayment: Provides excellent cushioning and impact resistance, ideal for high-traffic areas.
  • Felt underlayment: Offers moderate cushioning and moisture protection, suitable for budget-conscious projects.

Each type of underlayment has its unique advantages and disadvantages, which should be considered based on the specific requirements of your flooring project.

Underlayment for Concrete Subfloors

Installing vinyl plank flooring on concrete subfloors presents unique challenges due to potential moisture issues and uneven surfaces. To mitigate these challenges, it’s crucial to select an underlayment specifically designed for concrete subfloors. Generally, a moisture-resistant foam or rubber underlayment with a thickness of at least 2mm is recommended to provide adequate cushioning and insulation while protecting the vinyl planks from moisture infiltration.

Underlayment for Plywood Subfloors

Plywood subfloors offer a more stable and level surface compared to concrete, but proper underlayment is still necessary to enhance the performance of vinyl plank flooring.

When installing vinyl plank flooring over plywood subfloors, consider using a foam or cork underlayment with a thickness of 1.5mm to 2mm to provide cushioning and minimize subfloor imperfections.

Ensure the plywood subfloor is clean, dry, and free of any protrusions or damage before installing the underlayment.

Underlayment for Hardwood Subfloors

Installing vinyl plank flooring over hardwood subfloors requires careful consideration to avoid damage to the existing flooring material.

It’s essential to select an underlayment that provides adequate cushioning without compromising the integrity of the hardwood subfloor.

A thin foam or rubber underlayment with a thickness of 1mm to 1.5mm is typically recommended to minimize the risk of telegraphing and ensure proper support for the vinyl planks.

Installation Process

Regardless of the subfloor material, proper installation of the underlayment is critical to the success of your vinyl plank flooring project.

Before installation, ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Begin by laying the underlayment perpendicular to the direction of the vinyl planks, overlapping seams by a few inches and securing them with adhesive or tape.

Once the underlayment is in place, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the vinyl plank flooring, taking care to acclimate the planks to the room’s temperature and humidity levels.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoiding common mistakes during the underlayment installation process is essential to achieving a flawless vinyl plank flooring installation.

Some common mistakes to avoid include selecting the wrong type of underlayment, failing to properly prepare the subfloor, and neglecting to address moisture issues.

By taking the time to research and plan your underlayment installation carefully, you can minimize the risk of costly mistakes and ensure the long-term success of your flooring project.