Can I Use a Thick or Double Layer Underlayment with Laminate?

The right thickness in underlayment is crucial for any type of flooring, but it is especially important when installing laminate flooring. Some people claim double-layer underlayment works really well. However, some claim it to be unstable or even damaging. 

Using too thick or double-layer underlayment is not recommended because the locking system may break because of it. It may also cause increased movement, inevitably leading to irreparable damage. 

One of the most common questions you would find online is whether or not you can use a thick or double-layer underlayment with laminate. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple answer to this question. Why? Because, in some cases, you might actually damage your flooring by laying the wrong thickness. 

What is the purpose of underlayment?

The primary purpose of underlayment of any material is to ensure a smooth surface for laying your laminate flooring on. Most of the subfloors cannot provide the same smoothness because they’re simply not designed that way. 

This is where underlay comes in. It not only creates the smooth surface you’d need (whether you choose to install it in an L-shaped or H pattern or Herringbone pattern), but it also can act as a sound and moisture barrier. 

Why do some people opt for double or thick underlayment? 

There is a common misconception about how thick your underlayment must be. Many people tend to think that the thicker the barrier or underlay, the better protection or “easier” the installation would go. This is unfortunately not true. 

How Thick Can Underlayment Be for Laminate Flooring?

To effectively act as a sound and moisture barrier (especially if your laminate flooring is prone to dampness), you need to keep its thickness somewhere between 3 to 5 mm. This specific thickness of the underlayment will provide your floor with ground leveling properties and comfort. Check out this guide if you wish to know how thick your underlay should be.

Can You Double Up on Underlay for Laminate Flooring?

Any expert would tell you that laminate flooring needs underlayment (unless they come with attached pads). However, they would never recommend using more than a single layer of underlayment. Why? Because using more than one might actually cause irreparable damage.

This is especially the case when it comes to the double-layer underlayment. Doubling on underlayment has several disadvantages. Some of these include your panels becoming unstable and soft, causing the joints to break, or even worse, the entire locking system may break.

You’re probably thinking now, ‘how thick should underlayment be?’ Well, let’s see, shall we? 

What Happens When You Use a Double Layer Underlayment with Laminate?

There are several disadvantages associated with doubling down on underlayment beneath laminate panels. 

  1. The locking system of your floorboards may become under strain, especially if the bounciness of the floor increases. As a result, the system may break, or the locks may dislocate.
  2. Underlayment has been designed and manufactured with the sole purpose of serving as a single protective layer. Laminate floorboards have a lock and click mechanism, which starts to experience problems if it is additionally cushioned.
  3. With two layers of underlayment, the laminate panels start to experience increased movement. As a result, the plank seams become wider, separate, and even make noises whenever you step on them. 

What Is the Alternative to Using a Thick Underlayment with Laminate?

You don’t need to double down on underlayment to maximize sound (or moisture) reduction or to ensure enough cushioning to minimize the damage from accidental falls. There are several very good alternatives mentioned here below.

  1. 3 in 1 Silent Vapor Underlayment from Roberts 

Roberts Silent Vapor Underlayment measures 3mm in thickness and is one of the best underlayment options you can find on the market. It boasts superior sound-reducing properties, as well as a thick core to bring about an improvement in airflow technology and small imperfections in your subfloor. 

Moreover, the airflow technology present in this 3-in-1 underlayment is responsible for providing your laminate floorboards with appropriate exposure. As a result, you can also ensure that your room and flooring remain mildew and mold-free. 

  1. Ultraseal Underlayment of 2mm from Floor Muffler

If you are looking for one of the top underlayment options out there for sound-reducing properties, then you cannot find one better than Ultraseal from Floor Muffler. It has also received an award from researchers for being the greatest underlayment in the world. This underlayment is well-known, especially amongst people who routinely work with laminate. 

It will please you to know that the Ultraseal Underlayment consists of advanced cell technology using polypropylene. Due to this technology, the Floor Muffler product can provide superior advantages, despite being 1mm less thick than traditional underlayment. 

Ultraseal Underlayment can ensure excellent structural stability of your laminate floors. It is also resistant to moisture, so you can now be safe from mildew and mold. 

  1. 3 in 1 Felt Cushion Underlayment from Beslaminate Inc.

A Felt Cushion Underlayment can provide you with three exceptional benefits in a single product, which include offering a superior level of protection. This ensures that no unwanted sound and moisture make their way through the seams of the laminate panels.

In addition, you can easily keep moisture and water out of your floorboards and introduce additional layers of sounder buffering through one layer of this product alone. With all three benefits rolled into a single layer of underlayment, you can ensure that your laminate floorboards have the required support and aesthetic appeal for years to come. 

  1. 3 in 1 ProVent Silent Vapor Underlayment 

The Silent Vapor Underlayment from Kronoswiss has gained popularity for the simple fact that it boosts breathability. It is a multifunctional layer that can provide you with heavy-duty noise insulation.

ProVent has undergone a series of tests, especially in the laboratory, to ensure that the underlayment you receive is optimized, of high quality, and has a lasting impact on sound insulation. 

The product is known for ensuring that the noise level is minimized when you walk on the floor and preventing the transmission of sound from one floor to another. It is a perfect choice, especially if you reside in a multi-floor construction or condo. 

Furthermore, ProVent also comes with a unique micro-pumping system, which supports enhanced air circulation. Its underlay has been shaped in a way to make room for the formation of several air channels. As a result, there is a consistent exchange of air, eliminating any water vapor in the floorboards. 

  1. Gold Premium Silent Underlayment from Floorlot

This underlayment accommodates no less than three layers of comfort, sound absorption, and protection within 3mm. It has been deemed to be one of the top combination underlayments for laminate floorboards. It can help you level seams and uneven sections in your subfloor with only a single layer.

The Gold Premium Silent Underlayment has been designed to ensure that your bare feet are comfortable, especially in winter. This product from Floorlot is ideal for condos, apartments, and upper floors. Its vapor barrier, which is built-in during production, further makes this underlayment suitable if you reside in a moisture-prone area.


What Happens If You Put Laminate on Uneven Floor?

Even though it’s difficult to install laminate floorboards on uneven floors, it’s something you should avoid at all costs. Bumps in the flooring may warp the product and result in a shift in the floor. Consequently, your panels will make a hollow sound or suffer damage whenever you walk on them. 

Can I Install Underlayment Under Laminate with Attached Padding?

No, you cannot install underlayment beneath laminate floorboards with attached padding. This is because the primary purpose of attached padding is, so you won’t need to install underlayment. Installing it anyway might cause your laminate flooring to get damaged.

What Underlay Should I Use for Laminate Flooring on Concrete? 

If your subfloor is made out of concrete, use an underlayment that can act like a vapor barrier. This allows it to prevent any moisture penetration.

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