Underlay is something everybody says you need when you buy a new carpet but if you have had a carpet before you may not understand why underlay is such an important part of the carpet buying process. Underlay is in no way as exciting as the flooring you are choosing to go on top, however it may be more important.
When you know a little more about it, you’ll see why it’s important to know about underlay when you are thinking about and choosing your new carpet. Underlay is needed for a couple of really good reasons:
- Underlay provides a cushioning effect when you walk on it.
- Carpet underlay provides better noise insulation than carpet alone.
- Underlay provides insulation against cold, bare floors in winter.
- Carpet underlay saves you money as it extends the life of your carpet because you are not grinding your beautiful new carpet into the bare floor.
Types of Underlay
- Felt underlay – Felt underlay is normally the cheapest type of carpet underlay. It is made from wool and other fabrics. Although rarely used today, felt used to be the only type of underlay available.
- Rubber or “rubber waffle” underlay – This type of underlay is springy, durable and, because of its cellular construction, breathable. A relatively expensive option, it is often considered to be superior to other types of underlay.
- Foam underlay – Foam underlay was originally introduced as an inexpensive alternative to rubber. However, foam technology has improved to the point where this is not necessarily the case anymore.
In addition to underlay for your carpet, underlays are now available for timber and vinyl floors ask one of our underlay specialists at our carpet warehouse in North Shields for advice on the best type of underlay for your flooring choice. Wood underlays are primarily for noise reduction while vinyl underlays include the extra benefit of making a vinyl floor feel springier and softer underfoot.
Remember that underlays wear out at the same rate as carpets. If you are replacing a carpet check the condition of the underlay as it is not economical to place a nice new expensive carpet on old underlay as it will wear out faster and quicker.
Choose the best underlay for your needs and don’t make price your first consideration when purchasing an underlay. For example, some of the more expensive rubber waffle underlays provide excellent noise insulation, a property that is well worth paying more for in upstairs bedrooms
If possible, try an underlay before you buy it. Depending on your choice of carpet, one underlay may feel better underfoot than another.
Yes, you can lay underlay yourself, if you are laying an inexpensive carpet in an unimportant room, this is the place to try your DIY carpet skills, for everywhere else professionals will do a better job.
If you are considering an underfloor heating system, talk to your supplier before you choose an underlay. Some underlays are designed specifically for this application.