Installing a wood floor underlay

Before you start installing your wood floor, it is vital to first put down an underlay. This helps to protect the wood from moisture as well as providing thermal and acoustic insulation.
Following the correct procedure for installing underlay will help prolong the lifespan of your wood floor. Read on to find out what an underlay does and how it should be installed.

Why do wood floors require an underlay?

The main function of an underlay is to insulate your wood floor and protect it from moisture. A correctly installed underlay will help extend the lifespan of your floor as well as enhancing the comfort for household members.

Protecting your wood floor from moisture with a vapour barrier

Moisture can spell disaster for wood floors. That's why your first underlay should be a vapour barrier. This is especially necessary if you're installing strips over a heated floor or on the ground floor of a building without a crawl space. Quick and easy to install, a vapour barrier will help prevent wood from expanding or warping.

Thermal and acoustic insulation of your wood floor

The second underlay will ensure optimal comfort in your home. Designed to thermally and acoustically insulate your floor, it will help prevent noise from spreading to other floors and is all the more important if you're installing floating wood floors.
The layer of air below floating wood floors magnifies any sound, which can be a nuisance for your neighbours and other household members.
But that's not all. Underlays can also help save your money. Ensuring your wood floor is thermally insulated will reduce your heating costs. A correctly installed underlay will reduce any extremes of temperature, keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer.
If you're looking for an underlay, we're here to help you choose the best one for your floating wood floor.

How to install a wood floor underlay

Installing an underlay isn't rocket science. With patience and precision, you can easily enhance the comfort and durability of your wood floor.

Preparing the room for installation

First off, it's important to check that your floor isn't too uneven. This can cause air to leak in and damage the underlay. A levelling compound can provide a solid base on which to install the underlay, provided that the floor isn't too uneven.
However, if your floor is significantly warped or uneven, installing chipboard panels 10 to 12-mm thick and placing expansion wedges around the edge of the room will ensure a completely flat surface on which to lay the underlay and wood floor.

Installing the underlay

Underlay usually comes in rolls, making it easy to install. Simply unroll each sheet across the floor, enabling it to ride up the walls. We advise cutting it wider as it's better to have an underlay that is too high than one that does not sufficiently cover the floor. You can always trim the excess once you've finished installing your wood floor.
Ensure that the sheets of underlay overlap and use aluminium tape to seal the gaps and therefore prevent any air leaks.
Underlay also comes in panels and slabs. To install it, simply slot the pieces together. If there are any gaps between the different pieces, use aluminium tape to seal them and ensure the underlay is airtight.

Making precise cuts

All rooms have obstacles: pipes, doorways, corners, etc. To ensure seamless underlay installation, it's worth investing in a profile gauge. This tool makes it easy to measure any obstacles in the room and to make the necessary cuts in the underlay.
Once the underlay is installed, you can move on to laying your wood floor. Don't delay – check out our complete guide to installing floating wood floors.
If you require any more information, you can also get in touch with one of our ambassadors, who will be very happy to assist you with your queries.