Why is underlay so important?

Date posted: 03/05/18

When you are looking at new floor coverings for your home, you probably spend a great deal of time and effort thinking about how you want it to look and feel. You might well set a budget and have a particular style or colour in mind; however, one thing you probably pay very little attention to is what goes underneath the flooring, despite this being just as important as the floor covering.

Having the right underlay is essential if you want to keep your new flooring in great condition for as long as possible. It can also help to prevent draughts, reduce your heating bills and muffle sounds, turning your home into an oasis of peace and quiet.

If you have ever renovated an old house, or lifted up flooring from a long-neglected corner of your home, you will probably have found worn out, crumbling underlay beneath the floor covering. This should give you some idea of the amount of wear and tear underlay goes through and what an important job it does in absorbing much of the impact that would otherwise be borne by your flooring or sub-floor.

Let’s look at some common types of floor covering and how underlay helps to protect them:


Carpet underlay keeps your new carpet looking new for longer. It absorbs much of the wear and tear caused by foot traffic and furniture, and can help the pile to retain its bounce. It can also make your floor feel softer, warmer and more comfortable underfoot, which is invaluable in bedrooms in particular.


Laminate underlay cushions your flooring, preventing it flexing. It helps the flooring to remain stable and goes a long way towards muffling the sounds associated with harder floor coverings such as laminate. It can also help to stop moisture reaching your floor.

Engineered wood

You might think you don’t need underlay for engineered wood flooring, but you would be wrong. It helps your floor to look new for longer and can prevent moisture seeping through, which can cause staining, discolouration and warping.


While vinyl is far more forgiving than most other types of flooring, it can still benefit from the correct underlay. Underlay adds another layer between the vinyl flooring and the hard, possibly uneven sub-floor, helping to cushion your flooring and protect it from wear and tear. Underlay can also add an extra layer of insulation and help to reduce noise transfer.