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Do I Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

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  • Andew Das

If you've chosen Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring as a replacement for your current flooring, you've made a very smart choice. It's extremely beautiful flooring that mimics natural hardwood and sometimes even stone.

Most LVP flooring is water-resistant (some types are even waterproof) and it's also very durable, able to resist dents, dings, scratches, and stains. So no matter what your family throws at it, it still looks great!

Installing LVP is a pretty easy process as long as the subfloor is prepared properly. In some cases, may mean using an underlayment and other times, it may not be necessary.

What Is Underlayment?

Flooring is made up of several parts including the joists, subfloor, underlayment, and finish flooring material.

The joists are part of the home's structure and the subfloor, usually plywood, sits on top of them. Underlayment is a thin material that covers the subfloor and the finish floor material is layered on top of it.

Underlayment serves several functions including sound deadening, softening the feel of the floor underfoot, and can also act as a moisture barrier.

How Do I Know If I Need Underlayment?

The easiest way to figure out if you need underlayment for your new vinyl plank flooring is to look at your current floor.

If you're laying the LVP over an existing cushion-backed vinyl floor or a below-grade tile floor, then you won't need to use an underlayment. However, you'll want to use one in every other application including covering existing hardwood floors, vinyl flooring that isn't cushioned, and concrete floors.

You also do not need an underlayment if your vinyl plank flooring has underlayment installed, however, you may need a vapor barrier.

Do I Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring

What Kind of Underlayment Do I Need?

The type of underlayment you should use depends on the subfloor and whether it's concrete, plywood, or an existing flooring material.

Concrete Subfloor 

When installing over a concrete subfloor, consider the fact that it's a really hard surface so you might want an underlayment with some added cushion.

You might also want one with a little extra protection from moisture, and maybe even some insulative properties. 

Plywood Subfloor

There's no need for a moisture barrier underlayment on plywood. It's more important that the underlayment dampens sounds and feels comfortable. An underlayment that offers more cushioning is Armstrong® Flooring Quiet Comfort™

Existing Flooring

Meaning, if you're going to install vinyl plank flooring over tile, vinyl flooring, and even hardwood.

As with the plywood floor, there's no need to worry about a moisture barrier; the underlayment should provide cushioning and sound-deadening benefits. 

Do I Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring

How Do I Install Underlayment?

The process of installing underlayment for a new floor project begins with one crucial action: you must clean the subfloor, or existing flooring, thoroughly.

Make sure every bit of dust, dirt, and other debris are removed and that the surface has been washed and is completely dry.

From there, the installation of an underlayment is fairly easy. 

  • Lay the underlayment in the opposite direction of the flooring.
  • Simply roll the material out beginning in a corner, shiny side up to the other side of the room.
  • Make sure to leave 2" around the edges on all sides (this will be trimmed off after the flooring is installed. 
  • Subsequent pieces butt up next to the previous piece but never overlap.
  • Seal the seams using clear packing tape the entire length of the seam.  

Generally, you won't need to worry about attaching the underlayment to the floor. However, at certain spots, it might be a good idea to glue the underlayment to the subfloor to provide added stability such as frequently used doorways and rooms that get a lot of bright, natural sunlight. 

Where Can I Buy Underlayment?

At Floor City, of course. We not only have the best selection of luxury vinyl plank flooring around, but we also have the underlayment you need.

Visit our website and if you have any questions along the way, go ahead and click the Live Chat button or fill out the form to contact us and we'll help you out. I

f you'd rather call us, that's ok too, our phone number is 888-586-4404.

We're here 24/7 so it's always a good time to shop for flooring.

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