Do Vinyl Floors Need Underlayment? (All You Need to Know)

It’s known that when new flooring is about to be installed over a subfloor or directly on the floor, an underlayment underneath the new flooring is required. But do all types of flooring need an underlayment or not, many of you might not know that.

As a result, when you would want to install a new vinyl flooring in your home,  you definitely will want to know if vinyl floors need underlayment too or not. 

This article is going to clear all of the common questions of yours regarding placing an underlayment underneath vinyl flooring. 

Do Vinyl Floors Need Underlayment? 

The requirement of an underlayment depends on the subfloor or existing floor. If vinyl flooring is going to be installed over a wooden subfloor and existing floor-like tiles, it doesn’t need underlayment. But if the subfloor is concrete made, vinyl flooring will be needing an underlayment.

Is Underlayment Necessary For Vinyl Flooring?

Whether an underlayment is necessary underneath the vinyl flooring or not totally depends on the subfloor or existing floor. 

If the vinyl flooring is going to be installed over a wooden subfloor, it will not require any underlayment. The same goes for existing floors as well.

If the vinyl flooring planks are about to install over the home’s existing floor such as tiles or linoleum then the flooring doesn’t require an underlayment. 

However, if the vinyl flooring will be installed over a concrete subfloor, it will need an underlayment. As concrete floors can soak moisture so underlayment will act as a moisture barrier. 

Do All Vinyl Floors Need Underlayment? 

Since there are many types of vinyl floors, you may want to know which type of vinyl flooring planks/tiles need an underlayment. So, to clear your confusion, here short explanations have been provided.

Does Vinyl Flooring Need Underlayment On Concrete?

Vinyl flooring does need an underlayment over the concrete subfloor. Because concrete subfloor is prone to absorb moisture and it’s known that excessive moisture can damage vinyl flooring planks.

So an underlayment will work as a moisture barrier and will protect the flooring planks. 

Also, will provide some soft cushioning feeling to your underfoot and thermal properties that can keep the floor warm in winter. 

Does Peel And Stick Vinyl Need Underlayment? 

Peel and stick vinyl flooring does need underlayment to be installed over a subfloor successfully. Because peel and stick vinyl flooring demands a clean, smooth, flat, and even surface where the planks can be stuck on the subfloor smoothly.

And an underlayment underneath the peel and stick vinyl gives such a smooth surface to it. 

Also, dirty, dusty, grainy, or wet subfloor will not allow peel and stick vinyl flooring to stick on the subfloor properly. So underlayment is required. 

Does A Luxury Vinyl Plank Need Underlayment?

Not necessarily luxury vinyl plank does not need an underlayment. Because these planks are already manufactured with underlayment beneath the planks. Therefore, you don’t have to install another layer of underlayment. 

Moreover, if you install another underlayment layer it may make the flooring too cushiony and soft that will result in dents or wear and tear too soon. 

Does Waterproof Vinyl Flooring Need Underlayment? 

Every type of vinyl flooring is waterproof as they are made of PVC. And WPC/SPC vinyl flooring is also 100% waterproof because these flooring planks have a waterproof rigid core.

So, 100% waterproof vinyl flooring does not need any underlayment and it’s a benefit of waterproof vinyl flooring. 

Another thing is luxury vinyl planks and WPC/SPC vinyl planks already come with a layer of underlayment so you don’t need to install one. 

How Do I Know If I Need Underlayment For Vinyl Flooring?

Sometimes you can get perplexed thinking about how you can know if you need to install underlayment for vinyl flooring. Therefore, a few tips have been provided for you to understand. 

Subfloor 

Understanding your subfloor is the best practical way to understand whether you need to install underlayment for vinyl flooring or not. Because the necessity of placing an underlayment relies on the subfloor you are going to use for installing your vinyl flooring. 

If you are using a wooden subfloor for installing vinyl flooring over it then not necessarily you will need to install an underlayment layer. But you are suggested to place one for getting a cushiony soft feeling while walking. Also, it will work as a sound barrier. 

And if you are a concrete subfloor owner then you must install an underlayment layer for vinyl flooring.

Because concrete flooring absorbs moisture and groundwater also can soar through the concrete floor. And such a situation sure will grow mold underneath or damage the flooring permanently. 

Moreover, an underlayment will act as thermal properties by keeping the flooring warm in winter times. 

Existing Floor 

Know about your existing flooring types as well because all existing flooring doesn’t need underlayment to be placed over it. Therefore, if you have tiles or linoleum you don’t need an underlayment layer to act as a moisture barrier for vinyl flooring.  

However, still, you are suggested to place one as it can help you as a sound barrier and can provide soft cushioning underfoot. 

Uneven Subfloor 

As all types of vinyl flooring require a smooth, flat, and even surface, therefore, if the surface is not even, you need to install an underlayment.

An uneven surface can make the flooring wear and tear sooner than expectations. So when you install underlayment for vinyl flooring, it will provide a clean, smooth surface. 

Luxury/WPC or SPC Vinyl Flooring 

If you are about to install luxury vinyl flooring or WP or SPC vinyl flooring, you will not need an underlayment layer for vinyl flooring.

Because luxury or WPC or SPC vinyl flooring comes with an already installed underlayment. An extra underlayment will make it softer and probe to get damaged. 

How Thick Should Underlayment Be For Vinyl Flooring?

Generally, underlayment for vinyl flooring should be thick between 2mm to 3mm on average. However, some underlayments can have a thickness of around 6mm whereas some can be the thinnest having just 1mm thickness. 

Just know that 3mm thick underlayment would be the perfect thickness of underlayment for vinyl flooring.

The 3mm thick underlayment is cushioned and large enough to withstand any imperfection of your subfloor and is thick enough to act as a moisture barrier as well. So, try to choose an underlayment between 2mm-3mm. 

Also, remember that thicker underlayment doesn’t mean it will be good enough to suit your subfloor, so always check recommendations before choosing underlayment for vinyl flooring. 

4 Vinyl Plank Flooring That Doesn’t Need Underlayment?

For your convenience 4 types of vinyl plank floorings that don’t need an underlayment layer underneath have been filtered out and explained below  

Luxury Vinyl Plank Flooring

Luxury vinyl flooring planks don’t require an underlayment beneath them. Because these planks already have an installed underlayment underside the planks. Therefore, when you are about to install them on the floor or subfloor, you will not be needing an underlayment. 

However, if the surface is a really bad and uneven one, you may need to install an underlayment. Also, to reduce noise and get a warmer feeling underfoot in cold, you are only suggested to install an underlayment. 

WPC Vinyl Plank Flooring

WPC( Wood Plastic Composite) vinyl flooring planks don’t need an underlayment. Because these planks are also a luxury type of vinyl flooring plan.

And these are 100% waterproof and come with an already attached underlayment, so they don’t need underlayment over the subfloor or existing floor’s surface. 

But for click and lock WPC vinyl floor planks, you can install an underlayment. 

Glued-Down Vinyl Plank Flooring

Vinyl flooring planks that are glued down to the subfloor don’t need underlayment. Because these flooring planks are going to be attached directly over the subfloor by glue. However, you must ensure that the subfloor is even and perfectly clean. 

Loose Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring

Any loose lay vinyl flooring plank flooring doesn’t require underlayment. You can directly install them over the subfloor. 

What Is The Best Thing To Put Under Vinyl Flooring? 

The best thing to put under vinyl flooring is a layer of underlayment. And since for some specific type of vinyl flooring and in certain situations you may need to put underlayment beneath vinyl flooring, so here is a list of best underlayment for you. 

  • Roberts 70-193A Super Felt Cushion Roll Flooring Underlayment
  • First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment 
  • FLOORLOT Blue Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Underlayment 
  • QEP 72003 Cork Underlayment 

How To Install Underlayment For Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Steps to install underlayment for vinyl plank flooring have been described below. 

Spread The Underlayment 

From the opposite way of the flooring, spread the underlayment. 

Roll The Underlayment On Floor 

From a corner just keep rolling out the underlayment material. Keep the shiny side up to another side of the area. 

Leave Gaps From All Sides 

Leave 2” from the perimeters of all sides. These will be cut off after installing the underlayment completely. 

Add The Subsequent Pieces 

Without overlapping, lay the other subsequent pieces too. 

Seal The Underlayment Together 

Now use clear packaging tape to seal the trenches and the whole length of the trench. 

Maximum types of vinyl floorings don’t require any underlayment bottom of the planks. But depending on the subfloor’s specific condition and some types of vinyl flooring, you might need to add an underlayment.

Therefore, understand the problem and your home’s subfloor so that you can install a subfloor when needed to protect your vinyl flooring.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why Do Vinyl Floor Tiles Shrink?

Will Vinegar Damage Vinyl Floors?

Will Vinyl Flooring Stick to Plywood?

Will Rugs Scratch Vinyl Floors?

Why Does My Vinyl Floor Creak, Crackle, and Squeak?

Why Does Vinyl Floor Warp?