Choosing a good quality underlay is an integral element that shapes how flooring feels, wears and looks and will ensure your carpet has a long life. Underlay adds a level of cushioning underneath your carpet, making it more comfortable underfoot. It can also help to significantly reduce your energy bills as it insulates the room by trapping heat under your floor.
BENEFITS OF UNDERLAY
Improve underfoot comfort.
Increase appearance retention, reducing flattening.
Absorb the pressure of foot traffic and reduce wear.
Improve thermal insulation and warmth.
Increase sound insulation.
Smooth out sub-floor imperfections.
Last the lifetime of the carpet.
TYPES OF UNDERLAY
The market’s most popular underlay is available in flat or waffle patterns in a wide range of weights for different applications. It performs well for comfort and has a durable spring retention.
PU (polyurethane) Foam
PU foam is a relative newcomer to the market, typically made from recycled foam offcuts. The foam provides excellent comfort and performance levels with lots of thickness options and densities and its light weight helps handling. The product can be re-cycled again after use.
Flat and dense, crumb rubber is good for heavy footfall—offering maximum protection but a little less comfort (and very good over stair nosings).
There’s still an opportunity to sell underlay with laminate flooring, improving the acoustic performance of the floor and helping the boards float above any imperfections in the sub-surface.
A rubber crumb base with a felt top layer offers a good combination of protection, durability and comfort. It also allows carpet with seaming to bed to the top felt.
Underfloor Heating Underlay
Always ask if there is underfloor heating. Most manufacturers offer specialised products. Underlay and carpet with a combined tog rating up to 2.5 can be used which means the underlay would normally have a tog rating of 1.0.
This traditional (but environmentally friendly) underlay is made from recycled fibres such as wool, jute and synthetic to create a firm, dense pad with excellent thermal insulation. Still a very popular choice among contractors when stretch fitting woven carpets.
A self-adhesive single stick underlay in both needlefelt and PU. A removable system for heavy use when comfort is desired.
A maximum of 12 mm is recommended (working with gripper will be difficult thereafter) but rooms with heavy traffic will need a thinner, denser pad. The combination of thickness and density is all important as a thick underlay with low density may not perform well.
Typically, the thicker the underlay, the better quality it will need to beó11 mm is often used for luxury installations with 9 mm and 7 mm the common domestic thickness.