What are flooring underlays?

Underlays are placed between the flooring finish and the substrate to provide a arrange of benefits for different types of flooring including carpets, laminates, timber, LVT, SPC and rugs. Typically underlays come in a roll and are glued, stretched or loose laid depending on the floor finish and space usage. Underlays come in a variety of materials including, rubber (crumb rubber, sponge rubber etc), PU, felt etc.

Why underlay?

Underlays are used for a variety of reasons including:

  • Comfort: underlays deliver cushioning to make your carpets so much more comfortable. High-quality underlay enhances the elasticity of the flooring in your home, so it better absorbs impacts, and cushions your feet when you walk
  • Appearance: underlays absorb shock and impacts from footfall and heavy usage, enabling your carpet to retain its spring for longer. This prevents the pile from flattening and protects your carpet, so it looks brand new for its lifetime.
  • Longevity: underlays act as a shock absorber against wear and tear, extending the lifetime of your carpet by up to 50%. A good underlay also protects your flooring against moisture from the subfloor to prevent damage from dampness.
  • Noise Reduction: flooring with a suitable underlay will act as a barrier to sound, helping you to enjoy a quieter home. Underlays for wood and laminate floors can reduce in-room noise by up to 30%. They also reduce noise in rooms below.
  • Insulation: underlays have high tog ratings, meaning they better insulate a room. The thick materials block cold air and prevent warm air from escaping. Underlays provide an extra barrier to retain heat and could help cut your energy bills by up to 15%.
What are the key installation methods for carpet underlays?

The key installation methods are ‘double-stick’ and ‘stretch fit’ installations.

What is a ‘double-stick’ installation?

A double stick installation is when underlay is adhered to the sub-floor using a release type adhesive. Carpet is fully adhered to the underlay using a permanent type adhesive. This method is uses in high trafficked areas where the carpet does not come loose from carpet grippers and requires re-stretching.

What is a ‘stretch fit’ installation?

A stretch fit installation is when a carpet is held in position using carpet gripper which is nailed to the subfloor. Carpet is stretched over the underlay and secured to the grippers. This method is uses in low trafficked areas where the carpet feel is more ‘bouncy’ and comfortable to the touch.

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