Thinking of laying authentic hardwood flooring in your home and wondering whether you’ll need underlay to pair with it? A question we get asked a lot here at British Flooring, and a perfectly acceptable one too! Most people are familiar with underlay as it being a must for under your carpets, which leaves some wondering if the same applies for flooring too? Well, the truth is, underlay for a hardwood floor isn’t absolutely crucial like it is for your carpets. However, in order to get the best results you possibly can, wood underlay is a worthwhile and we would say essential investment, and here we take a look at some of the main reasons why!

Hardwood Flooring - British Flooring

Moisture protection

If the subfloor you plan to lay your hardwood floor is subject to rising dampness, this can prove problematic when it comes to your new floor, as damp can cause wood flooring to warp and distort, which I’m sure you would rather avoid if possible. Before beginning to fit your floor, whether installing yourself or getting fitters in, it’s important you check the subfloor for any signs of moisture or dampness. If there is a sign of this, or any sign this could occur in the future, we recommend you invest in a foil wood underlay. This will essentially create an effective water-resistant barrier, protecting your hardwood floor from any unnecessary water damage caused by your subfloor.

Noise reduction

Wooden floors are known to be fairly noisy, although they are technically supposed to create a noise-free surface – any wear and tear or movement over time can unfortunately tweak the wood sections and essentially lead to noises such as creaking or clacking as you walk across the floor. This however can be fixed by adding underlay! Wood underlays feature an extra high-density layer that has the ability to block out impact sounds, such as those we’ve just mentioned.

Noise Reduction Flooring - British Flooring

Easy installation

Another benefit of investing in wood underlay is that it makes the installation much easier and quicker. I know you may be thinking that this doesn’t sound right, as underlay is essentially an extra step you’ll need to take during installation which you’d think would make things longer, but believe us when we say that this can actually save you time and make things easier for you in the long run. Wood underlays feature a smooth texture, and this essentially allows the flooring boards to slip into place much easier. It also creates a smooth subfloor surface, leading to a smoother finished look for your new flooring.

Improved laying surface for installation

As well as making installation easier, wood underlay also creates a much better laying surface for your new floor during installation. Hardwood floor essentially ‘floats’ above your subfloor, similar to laminate flooring, it isn’t secured down with any glue or nails, the planks simply click into place. This is a good thing in some ways as it makes installation easy, however, it means that any defects in the subfloor can unfortunately affect the finish of your floor. Wood underlay can luckily prevent this though, levelling out any height differences in the subfloor and also successfully smoothing over any bumps or cracks that might be there.

Wood Underlay - British Flooring

Increased heat insulation

Even though wood underlay is actually made from lightweight materials, it is actually an amazing form of insulation for your home. Wood underlay works to limit the amount of heat that can escape through your floor. As a result, your room in which your wood floor is laid will be kept at a comfortable temperature, and in some cases, it can actually lead to a drop in your heating bills! Result! Who wouldn’t want to save on their bills wherever possible?

So, which underlay should I use?

Changed your mind about investing in wood underlay now you’ve heard all the benefits and wondering which underlay you should use? Well, here at British Flooring, if you’re looking for a wood underlay for domestic purposes, we would normally recommend either 5mm or 7mm Fibreboard Underlay, made specifically to be paired with wood or laminate flooring. Fibreboard underlay is perfect for rectifying any defects in your subfloor, and also features excellent acoustic properties. However, if dampness is your main issue and reason for investing in wood underlay, then in this case we would recommend either 5mm Sonic Gold Underlay or 3mm Acoustic Silver Underlay, as their foiled backings can help prevent moisture from reaching your floor.

5mm Sonic Gold Underlay - British Flooring

Still not quite sure?

Still not quite sure whether to invest in underlay for your new wood floor or perhaps you need some more help deciding which underlay is going to work best for your project? If this is the case, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our lovely team here at British Flooring who will be more than happy to assist you. Simply give us a call on 0203 3259082 or alternatively drop us an email to

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