When installing laminate flooring, underlayment is an important step everyone should consider. In fact, most laminate floors require an underlayment nowadays. An underlay greatly enhances the performance and feel of the floor and also acts as insulation.
You must use underlayment to insulate laminate flooring. You’ll need to consider different underlayment options as they all have different qualities. You should ideally look for a thick underlay with a high tog rating to ensure maximum comfort.
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Can You Insulate Laminate Flooring?
Yes, it is recommended to insulate laminate flooring as there are several advantages of doing so. Proper insulation can help keep your floor warm during the winter season. Similarly, the insulating layer can help keep the floor cooler during the warm season.
This may even help lower your electricity bill as it reduces the need to run electric appliances.
Not only does insulation regulate the room temperature, but it also protects your floors from moisture, mold, mildew, and other damage.
Are Laminate Floors Cold In Winter?
This will depend on what the laminate flooring is laid on. If it is at ground level, straight onto a concrete / stone floor, it will be quite cold therefore insulation is highly recommended. If it is being laid onto wood or on an upper level of a property, it won’t be too cold in the winter.
In general though, laminate floors are a great choice for flooring in all climates including cool ones. It looks a lot like natural wood and has insulation properties similar to vinyl planks. It is usually comfortable to walk on without your feet getting too cold.
That being said, laminate flooring is still much colder than a carpet. So, you might want to consider adding insulation for getting that extra warmth on cold winter mornings.
You might be surprised to know that ceiling fans can also really help in the winter.
How do I keep my laminate floor warm other than insulation?
If you have a laminate floor, there are a number of options you can consider to make it warmer and more comfortable during the winter.
The simplest and most straightforward solution that always works is adding a rug on top of your laminate floor. Rugs can act as a form of insulation and prevent heat loss from the floor. Plus, they are extremely cost-effective as they’re inexpensive and can minimize the need for turning on heaters.
For bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen, sheepskin rugs are usually quite effective. You can also look for runner rugs to place in the hallway or floor landings. Not only do rugs add a cozy feeling, but they can also improve the aesthetic of your home.
2. Under-Floor Heating
Another option for keeping your laminate flooring warm is under-floor heating. Just like a regular heating system, you can adjust the temperature and set a timer according to your needs. Electric and water underfloor heating are both compatible with laminate flooring. However, this solution will be quite expensive.
Not only does the installation cost a lot, but the heating system will give you a higher electricity bill too. So, you might want to consider the pros and cons of this solution, especially from a financial perspective.
Placing a small heater in the room can easily help you keep the temperature warm with laminate flooring. Electric wall heaters are very easy to install and they do a good job at radiating warmth to the surroundings.
Insulation for laminate flooring
Insulation under your laminate flooring can make your home much more comfortable. In fact, it’s advised to have some form of underlayment if you’re considering laminate floors.
It is a necessary step while installing laminate flooring as it acts as a cushion between the subfloor and the laminate. This makes the floor more resistant to extreme weather changes and works as a vapor barrier to prevent the floor from absorbing moisture.
Which floors should be insulated?
If you want, you can get all the floors in the house insulated. However, it is usually the most beneficial to insulate the ground floors. It isn’t always necessary to get the upper floors insulated.
Floors located above any unheated rooms should also be insulated.
Thermal Ratings For Insulation
If you’re looking for an underlayment that can also insulate your home, you need to look at thermal ratings. This rating measures the ability of the underlay to actually insulate your home.
Not all underlayments are the same, nor are they equally effective. So, thermal ratings can work as a guide for those who prioritize insulation.
An R-value is the standard measurement assigned to different types of underlayment. The higher the R-value, the more insulating effectiveness you will get from the underlayment. A low R-value means less insulation, whereas a high R-value means there will be less heat loss from the underlay.
People living in colder climates should look for high R-value underlays for additional heating under the floor. This also helps if you already have a floor heating system in place. Similarly, a high R-value can also keep warm air away in the hotter months.
Most underlayments come with an R-value of 2 or 3. Of course, as the R-value goes up, so does the price point of the underlay.
What is the warmest underlay for laminate flooring?
One of the most important factors while searching for the warmest underlay is the tog rating. A higher tog rating means that the underlay will be more effective at keeping the floor and room warm.
In terms of material, felt is usually considered best for insulating a laminate floor. Another option is cork which has a high quality and provides a lot of comfort with similar insulating properties.
Here are some of the top underlay recommendations for insulating a laminate floor.
FloorLot Super Gold Laminate Underlay
FloorLot Super Gold is famous for being one of the best insulating underlays especially made for laminate floor. With a high thickness of 5mm, and a high tog rating of 0.9, you can count on it to add warmth and comfort to your living space. You can use this solely on its own, as it’s not recommended to use it with underfloor heating.
In addition, it also has a useful plastic vapour barrier to protect the floor from humidity. It also features a noise reduction of 22db, which means you can say bye bye to creaky floors.
- ROLL SIZE - 200 sq. ft.
- USE - For laminate, engineered wood, and solid hardwood floor systems
- EXCELLENT MOISTURE PROTECTION - Protect your floors from harmful subfloor moisture with built-in moisture...
- SUPERIOR SOUND ABSORPTION - Helps quiet sounds from foot traffic. Reduces noise in today’s active...
- EASY INSTALLATION - Easy to roll out and connect seams with included tape; Printed grid lines help create...
3mm Laminate Underlay
The 3mm Laminate is another excellent choice that works very well with underfloor heating. This underlay has a tog rating of 0.45.
It is only 3mm thick which allows the heat from under the floor to radiate into the room easily. In addition, it has a noise reduction rating of 19db which makes the floor less noisy.
- For use with engineered wood and laminate flooring
- Provides cushion over concrete and wood subfloors
- 360-Feet square roll.The IIC and STC tests measure sound transference from an upper level room to a lower...
- Sound Transmission Lost Test (STC) rating of 66
- Impact Sound Transmission Test (IIC) rating of 67
QuietWalk Laminate Flooring Underlayment
Another well-reputable brand in the underlay market is QuietWalk. This specific underlay has great insulation properties and can work with under-floor heating systems as well.
One major plus is how this product is super easy to install. Without the need for nail or glue, you can easily attach the QuietWalk Plus to your laminate floor.
It also has one of the highest sound reduction rating which even reduces the noise of talking and doesn’t allow sound to travel from one room to the other. QuietWalk does this by an improved technology that absorbs the sound rather than drawing it away.
- ✔ Use with Laminate, Floating Engineered and Luxury Vinyl Plank (5mm and thicker)
- ✔ Superior Sound Reduction ‐ Recycled fibers absorb sound and keep it from traveling to other rooms....
- ✔ Compression Resistant ‐ Dense recycled fiber structure supports the click-together mechanism and...
- ✔ Moisture Protection ‐ Recycled fibers allow installation over concrete to &; breathe; ‐ managing...
- ✔ Certified Clean and Safe Indoor Air Quality ‐ No VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) or off-gassing...
QEP 72003Q 1/4-Inch 6mm Cork Underlayment
This cork underlay provides a cushioned layer under a laminate floor for added comfort and protection from cracks. It also has great thermal abilities to trap heat in the colder weather and maintain a cooler temperature indoors during the hotter months.
With ample sound absorption abilities, the underlay reduces the noise of footsteps and prevents other sounds from traveling.
The only downside is that this cork underlay does not have an easy installation like other products.
- Easy to install in both glue-down and looselay configurations
- Coverage: 100 sq ft/roll Dimensions: 25-ft x 4-ft x 1/4-in
- Reduces thermal transmission, increasing the effectiveness of floor heating systems
- STC rating of 52 and IIC rating of 51 with 6-Inch cement slab
- STC rating of 60 and IIC rating of 61 with 6-Inch cement slab and suspended ceiling
Does Underlay Really Work As Heat Or Floor Insulation?
Absolutely. An insulating underlay made from high-quality material can act as a thermal barrier and help regulate room temperature significantly.
While choosing your underlay, just remember to consider all the important factors including:
When choosing your underlay, you need to take the location of the floors in account. If the laminated floor is upstairs, you should look for an underlay with noise reduction abilities. In the case of kitchens and basements, an underlay that controls moisture would be more useful.
The thickness of the underlay needs to be just right for insulation to be truly effective. If the underlay is too thin, your floor will continue to feel hard, loud, and not provide much comfort. On the other hand, if the underlay is too thick, it may begin to warp and push the floor away.
You should also remember that the required thickness varies according to the material. If you choose a cork underlay, you will need double the thickness as compared to a felt underlay. For felt underlays, 2-3mm thickness is usually adequate.
You must have heard the term “tog rating” a lot but what does it really mean? Tog actually stands for ‘Thermal Overall Grade’ so it measures the thermal insulation of the product.
Tog ratings are usually given to quilts, duvets and sleeping bags, but they are also given to underlays. With a higher tog rating underlay, you will get higher insulation. Remember, underlay tog ratings also vary, depending to the material of the floor you use.
Hopefully that has helped explain everything about insulating laminate flooring. It’s a highly recommended step to take before laying your floor to keep heat in your home and to keep your feet nice and warm!
You may also be interested in our article about insulating behind shiplap.