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Does Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Require Underlayment?

Does Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring Require Underlayment?

When choosing to redo your flooring there are a lot of things to consider. Luxury vinyl plank flooring is a smart choice because it looks and feels like hardwood. It's durable, easy to install, and is water-resistant. No matter how much you throw at it, it will last a long time. When looking at installation, you may have some questions. One question in particular: Do you need an underlayment? In some cases it may be necessary, but not in others so let's take a look. Visit us today and speak to a flooring consultant to have all your questions answered.

What is Underlayment? 

To begin figuring out if you need an underlayment, it might be helpful to start at the beginning. Flooring is made up of several different parts including subfloor, the joists, an underlayment, and the flooring material. Joists are naturally part of your home structure. The subfloor is usually made of plywood and sits above the joists. Next would be the underlayment - a thin material covering your subfloor. Finally comes the finished floor material as the very top layer. Underlayment serves a few functions including sound reduction, can act as a moisture barrier, and softens the feel of the flooring. Underlayment can cover up minor imperfections in your subflooring and offers added support for the new flooring. It can also go to great lengths to increase the longevity of your luxury vinyl plank flooring

Do I need an Underlayment? 

You may know luxury vinyl plank flooring can be installed directly over your existing flooring. This is where you determine whether you need underlayment or not. If installing your luxury vinyl plank flooring over an existing vinyl floor or tile then you won't need an underlayment. This is because other vinyl may be backed by a cushion and tile can build the necessary level to prevent needing another layer. Another reason you may not need an underlayment is if your luxury vinyl plank flooring has one pre-installed on it. When it comes to installing over other types of flooring like hardwood or concrete, you will need an underlayment. 

What Kind of Underlayment Is Necessary? 

The type of underlayment depends on the material you are going to be installing luxury vinyl plank flooring over. 

  • Concrete Subfloor: Concrete is hard so naturally you'll want an underlayment with added cushion to keep the flooring softer underfoot. You may also want one with an extra moisture protection layer and insulation properties for added comfort. 
  • Plywood Subfloor: With plywood, an added moisture barrier isn't necessary, but you will want one that offers more comfort and reduces sound noise. 
  • Existing Floors: The idea remains the same when installing over plywood, tile, vinyl, and hardwood - the underlayment should provide sound reduction and comfort. 

Ready for Your New Flooring? 

Installing new flooring doesn't have to be complicated. Our team can help you figure out the perfect underlayment for your needs and existing flooring. We are here to help you pick the perfect luxury vinyl plank flooring for your home. Visit us today to get started!