General Flooring Knowledge, Installation, Laminate Flooring

Laminate Floor with Attached Pad- A Bad Idea

At first glance, laminate floors with pre-attached underlayment seem to be the way to go. After all, the benefits of flooring are all still there – affordable, durable, and easy to install, but without the added hassle of having to lay down underlayment padding on a subfloor. However, while the attached pad is supposed to make your life easier, it is, in fact, an added expense that creates more problems than it solves.

The Three Main Reasons to Install Underlayment

Noise Reduction

Floors snap together using a tongue and groove click lock system that floats over subfloors. The benefits of floating floors are far-reaching but unfortunately one of the drawbacks is noise. As you walk across a floating floor it squeaks and clacks and can sound hollow underneath. A good underlayment creates sound absorption that helps minimize the noise that can occur from a floating floor system.

Helps Hide Subfloor Imperfections

A floating floor helps to hide imperfections in a subfloor with dips and raises.  More so when a premium underlayment is installed.

Moisture Protection

One of the many reasons to go with a premium underlayment is to protect your floor from moisture. Changes in the weather and humidity can cause your floor to expand and contract. An underlayment helps to create a moisture barrier between subfloor moisture and the flooring, especially when installed on a concrete slab.

Why the Attached Pad is Bad

Floors with attached pads come with the promise of “ease of installation”. However, it removes too many benefits to justify the convenience of the attached pad. Underlayment rolls are anywhere between 3′ and 5′ wide so a lot of ground can be covered with each pass. The pad is rolled out and attached to the previous row with adhesive tape to create a consistent barrier. The underlay padding is easy to cut around corners and vents, yet durable enough so it won’t rip while the flooring is installed.

Floors with pre-attached underlay leave gaps between each board because they don’t overlap the tongue and groove. On top of that, they don’t offer any moisture barrier because of the gaps and they’re essentially a part of the plank. In essence, attached pads cost you more in terms of heat loss and also moisture absorption which sinks into the flooring and causes it to age earlier.

Get a Good Pad

Spending extra on a quality underlayment will more than recoup itself in terms of saving you money on your utility bills but also with the lifespan of your laminate floor. Properties of a top-notch underlayment that should be sought after include:

High sound rating – creates a sufficient noise barrier to eliminate creaking.

Vapour barrier – wicks away any moisture that may emanate from below.

Anti-microbial – small amounts of moisture that sneak through won’t create havoc in mold and mildew formation.

Adequate thickness – for added insulation.

Versatile – can be installed on either concrete or wood substrates.

Self-adhesive – attaches to the previous row easier.

With a quality underlayment that provides insulation as well as sound and moisture barrier, there really is no reason to go with a laminate floor with pre-attached underlay. In essence, saving time on installation with an attached pad will only lead you to do the process again earlier because of a lower floor life span – thus eliminating any benefit anyway.

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2 thoughts on “Laminate Floor with Attached Pad- A Bad Idea

  1. Frayne McCarthy says:

    I was so fortunate that Andrew Ray took the time to explain my different options and why some choices far exceed others.

    1. Andrew says:

      Hey Frayne, thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate the support. Have a great day.

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