Do you want to expand the lifespan of your floors or have a new carpet of floor installed, but aren’t sure where to begin? Protecting your floors from future issues can be done with either underpads or underlayment materials. They are a necessary investment to keep your floors in optimal condition. However, it can be difficult to comprehend each of their functions and what they’re suited for. They are not interchangeable, and here’s why:

Understanding Underpads

Underpads are essentially an additional padding layer that is placed directly underneath your carpet. They function as the middle padding layer between the carpeting and subfloors. Underpads help to reduce skidding on the floor and keep the condition of the carpet in top shape by minimizing floor pressure and tension. Underpad materials can also function as effective insulation, reduce stains and carpet odour by stopping dirt or spills from seeping into the sub-floor and forming bacteria and mould. 

Underpads also tend to be significantly thicker than underlays and are made of polyurethane foam. That is the same material often used in various mattresses and car seats, which make it supportive and comfortable.

Understanding Underlays

Underlays are a crucial part of new flooring installations, especially when it’s laminate flooring. It allows for extremely smooth flooring and adhesion to be possible. When installed and fitted correctly, underlays can extend the lifespan of your floors and help avoid issues such as cracking, open seams and squeaking floors. Underlays are made from a variety of different materials that differ based on whether the underlay is soft or hard. Here are the materials often used for either soft underlay and hard underlay:

  • Soft Underlay: Made up of cork, foam, rubber, felt and fibre materials.
  • Hard Underlay: Made from either plywood or recycled wood.

Choosing Between the Two

Ultimately, choosing between having underpads or flooring underlayment installed depends on the floor type and the type of heating system you have. Underpads are installed under carpet flooring material, whereas underlays are installed under smoother floorings. Prior to choosing, you should consider the density, moisture barrier (if there is one), odour control and thickness in either the padding or underlay. This is based on the quality of your carpet or flooring, the expected foot traffic and the area of the house it will be installed in. 

What Are Your Options?

If you’re having carpet installed, there are a variety of options, including:

  • Waffle/Sponge pads
  • Foam rubber pads
  • Flat rubber pads
  • Felt pads
  • Bonded Urethane
  • Memory Foam and Bonded Urethane

Underlay can go under the following flooring types:

  • Hardwood or engineered wood flooring
  • Vinyl flooring
  • Laminate flooring

Pour It On offers premium flooring underlayment and various floor leveling compound products to solve various flooring issues. It’s our mission to provide clients with safe and effective floor resources that make for a cost-effective investment. Working with residential, commercial and other industries, we strive to provide safe flooring solutions for everyone. If you’re interested in the effectiveness of flooring underlayment, give us a call or fill the form out on our site for a free estimate!