Choosing Underlay

Choosing Underlay


Carpet underlay is not a mere luxury. Underlay has in fact proven to drastically lengthen the life of the carpet while enhancing the luxury feel of the installation. It also improves the thermal and acoustic insulation.

Most of us spend a great deal of time choosing our carpets, but very little if any choosing our carpet underlay. Why could something that is hidden beneath the carpet be important? Won’t the cheapest underlay be good enough? When you know a little more about it, you’ll see why it’s important to know about underlay. I liken the importance of underlay like putting a set of retreads on a Ferrari. You just wouldn’t do it. You would not be able to get the performance out of the Ferrari. Just like you will not get the same performance or longevity out of your carpets

Why is Underlay Needed?
When asked why carpet underlay is needed, most would come up with one or a combination of these standard replies:

  • It provides a cushioning effect      when you walk on it.
  • Underlay provides better noise      insulation than carpet alone.
  • Underlay provides insulation      against cold, bare floors in winter.

Actually, all of the above answers are correct, and depending on the installation are equally and independently important.

In your home you want luxury and comfort, so that when you walk on your carpet, the underlay has a cushioning effect on the carpet as well as your feet. When you choose a good quality underlay, this works two fold, one: it helps prevent your feet from grinding in to the carpet and two: it can greatly extend the life of your carpet. A good underlay will support your carpet and reduce the trampolining effect that causes your carpet to delaminate. This is in my mind a real valid reason why a good underlay is not a waste of money. On the contrary, in the long run it will save you money.

Types of Underlay

There are three standard types of carpet underlay:

  • Felt underlay is the original type      of carpet underlay. It is made from wool and other fabrics. It is rarely      used today, and is quite expensive, but  felt used to be the only type of underlay      available, and it still holds its own when talking about commercial      installations and woven carpet installations like Axminster in commercial      building.
  • Rubber underlay is springy,      durable and, because of its cellular construction, breathable. This is      something to look at, as it does not retain or absorb odours. In the past      rubber was considered a relatively expensive option, but was considered to      be far superior to any of the other types of 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. There are great foam products available in today’s market,      and the price point between foam and rubber is almost nonexistent.

In addition to carpet underlay, underlays are now available for timber floating floors and vinyl floors. Floating floor underlay’s are primarily for noise reduction while vinyl underlays include noise reduction and to make a strip timbre or a structural floor suitable for the vinyl installation

How to Choose Underlay

First of all, don’t make price your first consideration when purchasing an underlay. Instead, choose the best underlay for your needs. For example, a thick, dense rubber underlay may provide excellent noise insulation, a quality that is well worth paying more for in upstairs bedrooms. Some other things to consider include:

  • If you intend to install a floor      heating system, talk to your supplier before you choose an underlay. Some underlays      are designed specifically for this application.
  • If possible, try an underlay      before you buy it. Depending on your choice of carpet, one underlay may      feel better underfoot than another. Note where I said underfoot. When      shopping for carpet and underlay, always place the underlay on a hard      surface, the carpet on top of that, and where possible take your shoes off      and place your bear foot on the test area. This will give you a 100%      feeling of how your new floor is going to feel
  • When replacing your carpet,      believe your supplier when they tell you that you should replace your      underlay as well. Underlay wears out at the same rate as carpets. Most      manufactures will have a lifetime warranty. This means for the life of the      carpet. Not for ever. Remember the Ferrari example we made earlier. The      few dollars you save by installing your new carpet on top of an old      underlay will be lost when your carpet wears out prematurely

Carpet laying is a viable DIY project, but unless you’re installing an inexpensive carpet in an unimportant room, it’s unadvisable, and we recommend that you employ the services of a professional carpet layer. The end result of getting the professionals in will give you an Absolute Quality Floorcovering installation in a fraction of the time it takes most amateurs to do a substandard job. There’s nothing nicer than the look feel and smell of a professionally installed carpet your home or offices. Leave it to us, and that’s what you’ll get.
At Absolute Quality Floorcoverings we are proud to recommend the use of Bridgestone rubber and foam carpet underlay, Dunlop quality carpet cushioning and MJS quality flooring underlays



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