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Does Vinyl Plank Flooring Require Underlayment?

Dec 14,20231
Whether vinyl plank flooring requires underlayment depends on various factors, including the specific type of vinyl plank, the subfloor, and the manufacturer's recommendations. Here are some considerations regarding the use of underlayment with vinyl plank flooring:
Floating Installation:
Many vinyl plank floors are installed as floating floors, where the planks are not directly glued or nailed to the subfloor. In floating installations, an underlayment is often recommended to provide additional cushioning, sound absorption, and to smooth out minor subfloor imperfections.
Subfloor Type:
The type of subfloor you have can influence the need for underlayment. Plywood or concrete subfloors may benefit from the use of underlayment to create a more comfortable and stable surface for the vinyl planks.
Moisture Protection:
In areas where moisture is a concern, such as basements or rooms with concrete subfloors, underlayment with moisture barrier properties may be recommended. This helps prevent moisture from reaching the vinyl planks and causing damage.
Sound Dampening:
Underlayment can provide sound-dampening qualities, reducing impact noise and making the floor quieter. This is particularly beneficial in multi-story buildings or areas where sound control is important.
Temperature Insulation:
Underlayment can provide some insulation against temperature fluctuations, making the floor more comfortable, especially in environments with extreme temperature variations.
Manufacturer Recommendations:
Always refer to the specific recommendations provided by the manufacturer of the vinyl plank flooring. Some manufacturers may specify the type of underlayment to use, while others may recommend against using underlayment.
Thickness of Vinyl Plank:
Thicker vinyl planks may be more forgiving of imperfections in the subfloor, potentially reducing the need for additional underlayment. Thinner planks may benefit from the added support and cushioning provided by underlayment.
Warranty Considerations:
Check the warranty information provided by the vinyl plank manufacturer. In some cases, using the recommended underlayment may be necessary to maintain the warranty coverage.
It's important to note that not all vinyl plank flooring installations require underlayment. Some rigid core vinyl planks, for example, come with an attached underlayment or padding. Additionally, certain types of vinyl plank floors are designed to be installed directly on the subfloor without the need for additional underlayment.
Before installing vinyl plank flooring, carefully read and follow the manufacturer's installation guidelines. If underlayment is recommended or required, choose the appropriate type based on the conditions of the subfloor and the room where the flooring will be installed.