Do You Need Underlayment For Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Even after deciding on the vinyl tile as your new flooring, there are still a plethora of options to consider. There are countless combinations of hues and designs to pick from.

However, it is vital to keep in mind that what is beneath your Vinyl tile floor is just as significant as its surface! Luxury vinyl tile and other types of flooring can benefit from the use of an underlayment.

Wood, concrete, flooring, or any other form of subfloor can be used as a base for this installation. In order for the vinyl tile to better absorb sound, underlayment should be used.

It can also make the tile more comfortable to walk on and prevent several issues. If you want to get the most out of your vinyl plank flooring.

We have prepared this comprehensive guide on your query “do you need underlayment for vinyl plank flooring” and answered everything you need to know about it.

What Is Beneath Vinyl Plank

To begin, be sure that the type of flooring you’re considering is compatible with the type of flooring you now have. Your subfloor’s condition should be good.

Is it free of imperfections and squeaks? When the subfloor isn’t exactly smooth, underlayment can help. On the other hand, some vinyl planks include an existing underlay or are designed to be put without one.

How thick is the subfloor? Underlayment may or may not be wise if the flooring is concrete. Moisture will be kept out, and a little cushion will be provided to make stepping onto it more enjoyable.

Even in the colder months, installing a heating system is a good idea. In the case of a wood subfloor, there is no need for a moisture barrier; however, underlayment might give comfort.

The use of underlayment may not be necessary when putting vinyl plank flooring over the current floor materials, although it can help with cushioning and sound absorption.

Keep Reading: Guide To Install To Install Vinyl Flooring On Stairs

Do You Need Underlayment For Vinyl Plank Flooring? Reasons Explained

The short answer to this question is “it depends on your current flooring situation”. Below have provided adequate information so that you can decide whether you need it or not.

Seeing your cherished home improve from its state yesterday is a beautiful feeling, and altering the floors is frequently a significant step in that direction.

However, if this is your first time installing vinyl plank flooring, you may have a lot of questions. One of the most important questions is whether or not you should use underlayment at all.

Here are five causes we think you should take advantage of it:

Repair Improper Subfloors

Subfloors aren’t always perfect and smooth despite our best efforts, which is a shame. Some problems can exist even in flooring that appears to be in good condition.

It’s not uncommon for the flooring to have slight imperfections, such as mild tiny indentations, unevenness, and the like. This is terrible news for those of us who have a preference for a particular type of flooring.

If you’re going to use vinyl plank, your subfloors need to be immaculate. Do you have any hope if they aren’t? There is no such thing as underlayment!

Using this type of cushioning, you can hide all of the dings and dents in your subfloor and create a smooth surface for your upcoming flooring installation.

Remember that this is only for minor issues, not major ones. Underlayment alone will not be sufficient to cover large divots and obvious damage.

Before any new flooring can be installed, you’ll need a contractor who knows what he’s doing to fix any problems.

Better Underfoot Comfort

Love the beauty of hardwood floors but can’t stand the feeling of hardwood underfoot? You’re not the only one who feels this way.

There’s a reason carpet was so widely popular in recent years despite being a lot less hygienic and tougher to care for. Foot care has never been easier or more pleasant for the existing overworked soles than it is with this footwear.

However, it’s time to face the facts. Some of the more expensive luxury vinyl flooring options on the market now just look better than carpet. That’s where underlayment seems relevant.

Adding a layer of padding to your floors can make them more forgiving, allowing you to walk on them more comfortably. During the course of the day, you won’t notice much of a difference, but in the end, you will.

Your feet will appreciate the relief even if you’ve been cleaning, cooking, and doing dishes. Your knees won’t scream out in pain because of the padding whenever you go down to play with the kids. As a result, parents should indeed pay attention.

Keep Reading: Grouting Vinyl Tile Guide

Moisture Barrier

An underlayment is an excellent option if you’re looking for a way to make your vinyl fantasies come true despite any slight subfloor concerns.

However, these aren’t the just reasons we suggest it to nearly everyone we meet. It’s also because it’s a great technique to increase the moisture resistance of your floor.

Vinyl plank flooring can be installed over a subfloor that isn’t immediately visible. There’s a little but noticeable obstacle in the way.

As a result, your subfloors are protected from structural damage as a defense line against water seeping through your flooring.

Additionally, it prevents mold and mildew from growing beneath your floors, where you’re unlikely to notice it. This means that underlayment is beneficial not just to your house’s health but also to your and your family’s health. We’d say it’s a win-win scenario.

Sound Reduction

Hard flooring makes a lot of noise when people walk on it, which is no secret or surprise. Unlike carpet, there is nothing to hide the sound and keep the hum of everyday life and the pitter-patter of young feet to a minimum.

In some ways, that’s a good thing. Not everyone is bothered by the sound of each step, but if the foot traffic is high or you have highly active children, or animals (especially cats), you’re likely to be more concerned.

If your walls are also on the thin side, things can get very noisy very quickly. Even if you don’t have a carpet, underlayment can dampen some noise, just like a carpet would.

Soft flooring has advantages and disadvantages, and this compromise allows you to enjoy some advantages while avoiding some disadvantages.

This is a terrific option in multigenerational households or flats because it provides more freedom of movement while keeping everyone else in the vicinity at ease.

Keep Reading: Detailed Guide To Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring

Blocking The Cold

Cold weather is a non-negotiable for the vast majority of Americans. It’s just one of the perks of getting four seasons to choose from. Unfortunately, dealing with that isn’t often a lot of fun.

Your heating cost will go through the roof, and you won’t even be protected from the freezing cold on your feet because of it.

You’ll be compelled to wear slippers for your money and inconvenience to avoid freezing your limbs. If you were to describe it as rude, you’d be doing it an injustice.

Are you sick of it? At the very least, underlayment can help with the second half of this issue. For the second time, installing this type of cushioning beneath your vinyl plank acts as insulation between the outside and you.

As a result, the cold air outside is kept out of your house, while the warm air from the heater is kept inside. There is a noticeable difference in the room’s temperature and the floor’s comfort level. You can’t go wrong with it.

Factors You Need To Consider For Underlayment

Vinyl, laminate, and wood flooring are just a few of the options you’ll have to choose from if you’re installing new vinyl floors.

However, numerous factors, some of which are not so obvious, come into play when deciding on the best underlayment for vinyl flooring. The most important considerations are:

  • The type of vinyl flooring you buy.
  • The installation style you use.
  • Your subflooring material.
  • The specifications of your specific product.
  • Your specific needs.

All of them will be discussed in detail, but before the situation, when we get into that, we need to make one thing crystal clear.

Depending on the type of vinyl flooring, an underlayment isn’t always necessary. Several warranties will be canceled if you use improper underlayment with particular floors.

Check the flooring maker and installer first before making any decisions.

Keep Reading: Guide On Laying Flat Vinyl Plank Flooring

Types Of Underlayments

Depending on your preference, vinyl planks can be laid with either a hard or a soft underlayment.


In most cases, the stiff underlayment consists of underlayment and plywood panels. As an underlayment for vinyl plank flooring, plywood is a popular choice.

Wood, linoleum, and tile subfloors can all benefit from the underlayment provided by 4×8 foot sheets of plywood that are 14 to 12 inches thick.

Using the A-graded side is appropriate for even the thinnest vinyl boards. Underlayment panels can also be used without the plywood.

These come in the form of 2×2 foot tiles, which are excellent at insulating against both moisture and sound. Installing vinyl planks placed on a concrete slab calls for using these adhesives.

Because it is way stable and can provide a superior water vapor barrier, stiff underlayment can boost the height of a floor.

Adding too much underlayment to the subfloor can cause the floor to rise so much that you may need to make structural changes to your home.

Some doors require trimming at the frame so that they can close and open properly.

Keep Reading: All About Using Vinyl Flooring Outdoors


As there are the obvious drawbacks of stiff underlayment, many individuals are now preferring soft underlayments such as sheets of cork or foam.

In most cases, these underlayments are free-floating, which means they are not tied with the subfloor in any manner.

This can be a benefit for persons who frequently relocate because these underlayments can be easily removed and reinstalled.

Soft underlayment’s only drawback is that this material isn’t as robust as plywood or other hard underlayments.

Concrete subfloors may not be the most excellent candidates for this type of flooring since they may not be able to keep moisture out of the subfloor.

The softness of vinyl planks allows them to be installed on wood floors, ceramic tiles, and linoleum since they are easy to work with.

It can also be applied over solid underlayments to dampen sound and create a new floor that feels less empty. The sort of subfloor you intend to place it over and your personal preferences will both influence your decision on the underlayment.

You should search for a solid underlayment when dealing with a concrete floor. A soft underlayment is the best choice when it comes to soundproofing and softening the floor underfoot.

Common Underlayments For Vinyl Plank Flooring

Your subfloor and finished floor are separated by an underlayment, which you are probably familiar with. It can reduce noise, regulate humidity, and even soften hard flooring for bare feet.

This list includes a few of the most often encountered materials.


To save money, consider using foam underlayment. Foam is an excellent flooring covering for plywood subfloors. If you’re concerned about moisture, ensure you’ve taken care of that first.

Adding water to foam isn’t a great idea. We’re not referring to packing peanuts when we say “foam,” though. We’re talking about a more durable, air-filled product here.

There are a variety of thicknesses to choose from, and it is usually sold in rolls.

Keep Reading: Ways To Get Rid Of Grout Haze From Vinyl Tiles


Another sound-absorbing substance is cork. However, this isn’t the best option if you’re dealing with an abundance of water. Is mold a result of water damage? Mold and mildew are great foes of cork.


When it comes to noise reduction, nothing beats felt as an underlayment. Because it is denser than foam, it is superior at reducing noise.

It also serves as a good form of insulation. However, on the other hand, it’s pretty thin, so it doesn’t help as much in terms of providing comfort.


Plywood underlayment is much more durable and resistant to water than particleboard. However, because it cannot support the entire load’s weight in one area, weight must be distributed equally above it.


Particleboard is a composite material that combines wood fibers with polyurethane foam. You can get it for a low price, but it’s also unstable, so you’ll need a solid subfloor underneath.

Particleboard will deteriorate if it is exposed to water in any way. Simple as that.

Process Of Installing Underlayment For Vinyl Plank Flooring

Here’s a step-by-step guide on installing the underlayment of vinyl flooring on your current subfloor-floor layer.

  • The underlayment panels should be given time to adjust to the new environment before installing. For at least three days, please keep them in that room. This will reduce the likelihood of future expansion/contraction issues.
  • Next, use a broom and a damp mop to clean the subfloor. Alternatively, a vacuum cleaner can be used.
  • After preparing the subfloor, install the underlayment sheets and secure them to the flooring with staples, screws, or nails. The sheets should be stapled every two inches if you’re using staplers. Nail or screw them in at a six-inch interval, and you’ll be good to go. You should also ensure that the plywood subfloor is aligned with the underlayment sheets if you use plywood.
  • Finally, use seam filler to close any small gaps between the underlayment panels.

Final Verdict

If you came to this page to learn about the query “do you need underlayment for vinyl plank flooring”, we hope this guide was helpful and solved your doubts.

If you have concrete subfloors, an underlayment will help to reduce noise, add insulation, improve the comfort of the underfoot that acts as a moisture barrier, and make it easier to lay new flooring.

A thin one will help you avoid having to lessen the room’s length or alter other portions of it.

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