How to Choose the Right Underlayment for Your Hardwood Floors

Just as you would spend time looking for the right hardwood floors for your home, it is essential to consider the right underlayment option.

Underlayment offers many benefits, including durability, sound absorption, and acting as a moisture barrier for your hardwood floors. Understanding which option is best for your home is something AA Floors can help with.

So, here are some factors to consider to choose the right underlayment.

Best Ways to Choose Underlayment for Your Home

There are many options when it comes to the underlayment, so it is easy to get confused. Check out this simple guide to make the right choice.

Guide to Your Various Underlayment Options

Underlayment comes in a range of materials and thicknesses. Here are some popular options.

  • Felt:This is a very basic underlayment option that helps with sound and moisture absorption.
  • Foam: This underlayment material is popular for its affordability and ease of installation. Foam is also great at sound insulationto get rid of hollow sounds.
  • Rubber:If you want to reduce noise and get moisture resistance for your hardwood floors, then rubber underlayment is definitely a superb choice. It is also easy to install.
  • Cork:This natural material is a wonderful choice that offers both sound and temperature insulation. If you are looking for an eco-friendly choice, consider cork.

How to Pair Underlayment with Hardwood Flooring

Different hardwood species require different underlayment options. Here is a look at some popular hardwood species and their best underlayment option.

  • Maple and Hickory: Maple and hickory are some of the hardest hardwood species available. Foam and rubber workwell for maple; whereas, for hickory, foam is sufficient.
  • Cherry:This popular hardwood species is known for its warm and cozy hues. It works well with cork or rubber underlayment because it offers better support and protection.
  • White and Red Oak: Oak flooring is on the softer side when it comes to strength and pairs well with rubber underlayment. It also helps with sound, moisture, and temperature insulation.
  • Walnut:This hardwood flooring pairs well with cork underlayment, as it offers support and added durability.

Factors to Consider When Buying Underlayment

Factors to Consider When Buying Underlayment

Keep in mind these factors when buying underlayment for your hardwood floors.

1. Analyze the Condition of Your Subfloor

Before laying down your underlayment or hardwood flooring, it is very important to understand the condition of your house’s subfloor. When damaged or uneven, it tends to work well with a flexible underlayment layer as it removes imperfections and creates a flat, smooth surface for proper installation.

If your subfloor is made with plywood, go with an underlayment that is semi-permeable so it won’t trap mould or mildew. Water damage is bad news for hardwood floors, so watch out for signs of it and take measures to prevent it from getting worse.

2. Purpose of the Room

When installing the underlayment in a specific room, keep its purpose in mind. A moisture barrier is suggested for rooms that are exposed to moisture, such as kitchens and bathrooms. If your hardwood floors are exposed to moisture, use underlayment with a moisture barrier in these areas.

3. Assess Building Requirements

It is important for the contractor or any other professional installing your underlayment to assess the building’s requirements. Make sure to check if your building has an isolation class rating (IIC) which indicates its ability to absorb the sound generated by footsteps.

4. Check Manufacturer Guidelines

Different hardwood manufacturers have different parameters for their products; this includes the best type of underlayment. Make sure the underlayment you choose complies with and is compatible with your hardwood flooring, otherwise, you may end up voiding the warranty.


Underlayment can greatly increase the durability of your hardwood flooring. With so many underlayment options on the market, it is good to know what to shop for. Ask the experts at AA Floors to help you pick the best product. We can also flawlessly install underlayment along with hardwood flooring.

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