As you go about picking the ideal colour, material and brand name of your carpet, you may not have given much thought to the underlay that will be placed underneath. But the truth is that the underlay you choose is just as important as the carpet that will cover it.
Why is Underlay Important?
Believe it or not, carpet underlay serves many purposes. Not only does it provide additional noise insulation to that provided by your carpet, but it also provides a nice cushion for your feet, back and legs whenever you walk on it.
Another reason that underlay is important is because it contributes a great deal to your carpet’s longevity. Instead of grinding your carpet into bare floor with every step, the underlay is there to take the brunt.
If you hate cold floors in the winter, then you will understand the importance of underlay. Laid between your home’s concrete floor and the carpet, underlay provides a barrier against the cold coming up form below whilst it holds in the heat circulating above.
Carpet Underlay Types
Generally, carpet underlay is available in three types: rubber, foam and felt.
Rubber underlay, also called ‘rubber waffle’ gives your floor a bit of springiness when walked on. This type of underlay is not only durable, but it’s also breathable thanks to its cellular construction. Rubber underlay is expensive, but it’s also superior to other underlay types.
Foam underlay is a good choice for those looking for something in the mid range as far as cost is concerned. Foam was originally manufactured with the purpose of being an alternative to rubber underlay.
Felt underlay represents the cheapest of the three as far as cost is concerned. Although rare today, felt underlay’s construction of wool and other fabrics offered many benefits to homeowners over the years, not the least of which was heat retention.
Underlay for Other Types of Flooring
It’s even possible to get underlay for other types of flooring such as wood and vinyl. The benefits of underlay are the same for these flooring types; they offer a softer and springier step as well as insulation properties.
How to Choose the Right Underlay Type for You
Whether it’s being placed under lush Mayfield carpets or durable Karndean flooring, choosing the right underlay is of vital importance.
The first thing to remember is that your underlay will not outlast your carpet. Most often, carpet and underlay will wear at the same rate. Therefore, every time you replace your carpet, you should check your underlay for wear. There’s simply no sense in keeping underlay that’s worn and placing new carpet over it, as this will only result in added carpet wear and ultimately, far less value to you.
Consider your needs when choosing underlay, and not price. For example, if you require your underlay to be excellent at helping to reduce noise, then this may be worth the extra cost to you.
You may even be able to try before you buy, which give you a lot of assistance with choosing the right product. You may be surprised to find that the underlay you were considering wasn’t the best one for your needs, or you may find that it was exactly what you were looking for.
Under-floor Heating and Self-Installation
Carpet underlay doesn’t necessarily need to be professionally installed. However, if you’ve invested in expensive carpet that will be placed in a much-used room, you may wish to reconsider. Those rooms which see less wear may be the best place to try your hand at installing underlay.
Areas having under-floor heating may require special underlay. In fact, some underlay types are designed to work with under-floor heating. Where this is the case, the best advice is to talk to your flooring supplier.