Laminate flooring underlay is used to help level the existing floor and to help quiet the new laminate floor. Without underlayment, the new floor would have a hollow sound when walked on, especially with hard-soled shoes. Laminate flooring underlay typically comes in a roll and is made out of foam. A few simple tips will help you to install the underlay with ease.
Choosing the Underlay
Consider the room where you are installing the laminate flooring before purchasing the underlay. There are some underlays that are inexpensive but do not provide a waterproof barrier. If you are installing laminate flooring in a kitchen or bathroom, you need an underlay that provides a moisture barrier. There are also underlays that provide more soundproofing than others. Most manufacturers of laminate flooring will recommend which type of underlay to use.
Check Your Subfloor
Before ever installing your underlay, check how level the subfloor is. Underlay will help level the floor imperfections to about 1/8 inch. You can check how level your floor is by using a 12-foot, 2-inch-by-4-inch board. Set the board on its side, and use a tape measure to determine the depth of the low places in your floor. There are self-levelling materials that you can purchase for concrete, and wood floors can be sanded. You may need to install a new wood subfloor. Checking your floor first will help you to avoid sagging areas in your laminate flooring and possibly voiding the warranty.
Installing the Underlay
Some laminate flooring underlay will have a straight edge and an edge that has tape. The straight edge is placed against the wall, and the tape edge will overlap the next piece that is installed. Lay the straight edge tight to the wall. Unroll the underlay until it reaches the opposite wall. You can use a box knife to cut it off or a pair of scissors. Fold back the taped edge. Lay the next piece up against the edge of the first one that you installed. There is a protective strip covering the tape. Remove the strip, and press the taped edge onto the second piece that you installed. This procedure will help keep the underlay pieces from separating.