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Flooring layers

Definition of Backing

Simply put, backing is the underside or backside of flooring. It's meant to add to the durability, stability, and support of the flooring product.

Backing is especially important for hardwood flooring as it contributes to sound insulation and provides extra comfort.

There are several types of backing that vary in terms of application, longevity, and performance. These include:

  • Polypropylene: Also known as action backing and is made from a combination of synthetic polypropylene and natural jute fibers. It's lightweight, stable, moisture and mildew resistant, plus highly durable. Best for low traffic areas.
  • Felt: Made from compressed wool or synthetic fibers and adds to the comfort, warmth, and soundproofing of a floor. Felt backing also hides minor imperfections in the subfloor but is not recommended for wet or concrete floors.
  • Jute: Also known as burlap backing and is made using woven natural fibers. Jute is often used for carpeting or vinyl plank flooring. It makes for a strong, durable, and soft backing. 
  • Vinyl backing: Available in various thicknesses and requires no glue for installation in small areas. Unfortunately, its varying thickness compromises the comfort of this type of backing.

Example of Backing in a Sentence

“Backing can be coated with fire-retardant.”

Related terms:

  • Back layer
  • Felt 
  • Jute
  • Vinyl backing
  • Polypropylene