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Originally posted 19th July 2016

Last updated 7th June 2022

Why You Don’t Need Underlay for Vinyl

Vinyl is an excellent choice for many homes, being easy to fit and maintain. You also don't need underlay for vinyl and we show you why.

Paul Hambidge

Managing Director Factory Direct Flooring Ltd

4 min read
Written by Expert

Most vinyl flooring or luxury vinyl tiles do not require underlay. Vinyl floors are designed with a base layer, making the addition of underlay pointless. This baselayer makes the vinyl flooring incredibly durable and comfortable to walk on. The only time a vinyl floor may need underlay is when the surface beneath is uneven or has issues with damp.

Laying brand new flooring is among the most satisfying parts of a complete home renovation, and the choice of flooring is truly unlimited. When it comes to carpeting, we need underlay, we’re told that it softens the feeling of the floor beneath your feet. Underlay will also help your favourite new carpet last long as the underlay absorbs the impact from your feet and doesn’t lead to the carpet deteriorating over time. It stands to reason then, that underlay for vinyl should be installed too, to increase the cushioning effect on bare feet and help the vinyl last.

However, that’s not true. To help you with your vinyl flooring, we look into the old age question of whether underlay for vinyl is completely necessary and why.

Why underlay is not needed for vinyl

When it comes to vinyl floors or underlay for vinyl click flooring, this is not required. It’s a common misconception that you would need underlay for vinyl flooring. This type of flooring has been designed in such a way that underlay is no longer needed – gone are the days when you’d have the thinnest sheet of vinyl to waterproof your room. While this cuts costs for the customer, it still leaves the question ‘why?’

Vinyl flooring today includes a base layer which is cushioned, and it is this which removes the need for vinyl underlay. It is the unique design of vinyl flooring which means that once the flooring is fitted there is no risk of the floor moving around. And the good news doesn’t stop there, by choosing to have an underlay for vinyl flooring, you increase the risk of punctures and dents.

Punctures and dents are vinyl’s worst enemy, and they are tough to hideaway. So if a scratch appears, your options are to glue it down, which will leave the scar slightly visible, or replace the whole sheet. Luckily, vinyl is the cheapest flooring, so if you do have to replace the whole floor, it won’t cost the world.

An image of vinyl flooring samples

What Does This Mean?

While this means you don’t need to worry about finding underlay for vinyl click flooring or regular lino, which makes buying this very affordable flooring even more affordable. It does mean that you need to make sure that the subfloor is completely level, smooth and clean. If there are any slopes, dents or roughage underneath the vinyl when it has been installed this will show on the surface of the vinyl; giving you beautiful new floor an unprofessional finish.

The affordability point is probably the most important, whereas in the past you’d have to include vinyl underlay as a cost, today’s vinyl costs considerably less while also providing a built-in thickness that is soft underfoot and doesn’t hurt your wallet.

Read more: How to Install Vinyl Floors

Where Can Vinyl Be Fitted?

Vinyl is one of the most versatile of floorings – making it perfect for light domestic or heavy commercial use; however, there are various classifications of vinyl flooring which outlines suitable application and how hard-wearing it is. Furthermore, vinyl is completely waterproof which makes it perfect for bathrooms and kitchens. With this in mind, it is vital that you choose the right one for your requirements.

An image of vinyl flooring strips

Our Flooring Calculator

When you browse any type of flooring at Factory Direct Flooring Ltd, each product has a flooring calculator on the page. Simply enter the surface area in either metres or feet squared and our My Project flooring calculator will tell you how many packs you’ll need and how much it will cost you.

By simply measuring your room and entering your dimensions, we will provide you with an instant price which will show on every type of flooring you browse across our website. You can either input the total coverage or your width and length measurements, in meters or feet. You can even save your measurements room by room to make your shopping experience stress-free.

It also offers to add an extra 10% for wastage. While this may cost a little bit more, we highly recommend adding it just in case there are mishaps during the installation process. Enjoy the My Project flooring calculator below:

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If you get stuck or you need some friendly advice, please feel free to pick up the phone today and call us on 0330 100 00 15 and our friendly staff will be happy to talk you through all you need to know about vinyl flooring.

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About the Author

Paul Hambidge, Managing Director

Paul has 32 years of flooring industry knowledge & experience from both an installation and manufacturing perspective. He started out as installer of very large commercial flooring projects for multiple retailers. As director of Factory Direct Flooring Ltd, he has been involved in all aspects of flooring and has worked with some of the largest producers of wood flooring, vinyl flooring and laminate floors.