9 Reasons You Need Underlayment for Vinyl Plank Flooring

why do you need underlayment for vinyl plank flooring

Underlayment: a crucial yet often overlooked component in vinyl plank flooring. Vinyl plank flooring is currently experiencing a surge in popularity in residential and commercial settings due to its durability, aesthetic appeal, and cost-effectiveness.

However, beneath the surface – quite literally – lies the unsung hero of any successful flooring installation: the underlayment.

Despite its unseen status, underlayment plays a pivotal role in ensuring the longevity and performance of your vinyl plank flooring.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the subject and explore the nine compelling reasons why underlayment is a must-have for your vinyl plank flooring project.

1. Enhances Comfort and Insulation

  • Adds Cushioning and Comfort Underfoot

You know, when I replaced the old, worn-out flooring in my living room with vinyl plank flooring, there was one thing I didn’t initially consider: the underlayment.

But boy, did I soon realize its importance! Adding an underlayment beneath my vinyl plank flooring created a soft cushioning effect.

This was immediately noticeable, especially when walking barefoot. The hard, cold floor I was used to had transformed into a comfortable surface, pleasant to the touch.

It made activities like playing with my toddler on the floor a more enjoyable experience. So, friends, never underestimate the comfort an underlayment can bring to your vinyl plank flooring!

  • Insulates and Regulates Room Temperature

I live in a region where summers are scorching, and winters are bone-chilling. It’s like living in two extremes. But here’s where the underlayment came in as a game-changer!

I noticed that since installing it beneath my vinyl plank flooring, it’s been performing a little magic trick: helping regulate the temperature of my rooms.

It’s because underlayments have insulating properties. In the winter, it acts as a barrier, preventing cold from seeping up from the ground.

In the summer, it does the opposite, keeping my rooms cooler. The result? More comfortable living spaces and lower energy bills. Trust me, an underlayment is a great partner when battling extreme weather!

2. Reduces Noise and Sound Transmission

  • Dampens Sound and Reduces Impact Noise

You know, nothing used to bother me more than that annoying clattering sound every time I walked across the living room floor in my heels.

But guess what? After I installed the underlayment beneath my vinyl plank flooring, that clattering sound was history!

The underlayment works like a charm to dampen sounds. How does it achieve this? Well, the material absorbs the impact of footsteps and other noises.

Just imagine a sponge soaking up water, but in this case, it’s sound! So, instead of dealing with the cacophony of noise every time the kids run around or the dog decides to play around in the house, I now enjoy a quieter and more peaceful living environment.

  • The Importance of Noise Reduction in Multi-story Homes

If you live in a multi-story home or an apartment building like I do, you’ll appreciate the wonder of underlayment even more.

It’s not just about the noise you make; it’s also about the noise that comes from above. Before underlayment, I felt like I was living with the people upstairs.

I could hear their every footstep, and it was driving me insane! But since adding the underlayment, it feels like I have my privacy back.

It significantly reduces the sound transmission between floors, so I no longer have to listen to my upstairs neighbors’ late-night dance parties.

If you value your peace, as I do, an underlayment is an absolute must-have!

3. Smooths Out Subfloor Imperfections

  • Leveling Out Minor Subfloor Irregularities

Let’s face it; no floor is ideally level, especially in older homes. When I first moved into my place, the living room floor was as uneven as a roller coaster ride.

It had dips, bumps, and everything in between. Installing the vinyl plank onto such a surface would have been a nightmare.

Here’s where the magic of underlayment comes in. This fantastic material can smooth out all those minor imperfections in the subfloor, acting as a buffer between the surface and your vinyl plank flooring. It almost feels like giving your floor a facelift!

  • The Benefits of a Smoother Surface for Vinyl Plank Installation

Installing vinyl plank flooring on top of a smoother surface is like sailing on calm waters.

With the underlayment caring for those pesky floor irregularities, the installation process becomes much easier and quicker.

More importantly, a smoother surface results in a better finish. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful it feels to walk barefoot on my perfectly even vinyl flooring now.

It not only looks better but also extends the life of your flooring. Remember, a flat surface means less stress on the vinyl planks, which results in less damage in the long run.

Trust me, when installing vinyl plank flooring, underlayment is your secret weapon for a smooth, flawless finish!

4. Provides Moisture Protection

  • Preventing Moisture Damage

Speaking from experience, there’s nothing worse than waking up one day to find your beautiful vinyl floor planks bloated and distorted due to unsuspected moisture.

Upon moving into a basement apartment, I went through this disastrous scenario. That’s when I truly understood the value of an underlayment’s moisture barrier feature.

This impressive layer acts like a superhero, warding off the moisture that might seep from the subfloor.

It protects your vinyl planks from the undesired effects of moisture, such as warping, swelling, or molding.

  • Protection of Flooring Integrity and Longevity

As someone who values not just aesthetics but also durability, I can’t stress enough how underlayment helps preserve the integrity and longevity of your flooring.

Remember my basement apartment disaster? After replacing the damaged vinyl planks and installing a quality underlayment, the difference was night and day.

The underlayment’s moisture barrier effectively shielded the flooring from moisture seeping from the concrete subfloor.

Even during the most humid summer months, my vinyl floor remained as pristine as the day it was installed.

Trust me, the initial investment in an underlayment is worth every cent. It ensures your vinyl planks stay attractive and intact for the long haul, giving you not just a beautiful floor but peace of mind too!

5. Adds Durability and Longevity

  • Acts as a Barrier Against Wear and Tear

The underlayment isn’t just a protective barrier against moisture; it’s also a fortress that guards against everyday wear and tear.

Think of it as a shock absorber for your floor, just like when I started practicing weightlifting at home.

I thought my heavy dumbbells and the multiple reps would indeed leave an impact on my vinyl flooring.

However, thanks to the quality underlayment underneath, my floor remained unscathed. It absorbed the pressure and impact, ensuring the vinyl planks above remained as good as new.

  • Extends the Lifespan of Vinyl Plank Flooring

The underlayment doesn’t only protect against immediate damage — it also significantly extends the lifespan of your vinyl plank flooring.

I learned this first-hand when I compared the longevity of the flooring in two different homes I lived in.

In the first, where I didn’t use an underlayment, I noticed visible wear and tear on the floor within a couple of years.

However, in the second home where I had used a quality underlayment, the vinyl floor remained in excellent condition, even after several years of heavy foot traffic.

This experience proved to me that underlayment is an essential factor in prolonging life and preserving the beauty of vinyl plank flooring.

6. Eases Installation

  • Simplifies the Installation Process

I’ve always been a fan of DIY projects around the house. The sense of accomplishment that comes from creating or fixing something on your own is unparalleled.

When it came time to install my vinyl plank flooring, I tackled it myself. Having the underlayment as part of my arsenal made this task significantly simpler.

It provided a smooth, even base for the planks, eliminating the need for extensive subfloor preparation. The installation became a swift, uncomplicated process, akin to fitting puzzle pieces together.

As a bonus, the underlayment also offered a cushioning effect, making the floor comfortable to walk on right from the get-go.

  • Time and Cost Savings

Beyond the simplicity, there’s another huge advantage of using underlayment that even my penny-pinching self can’t ignore: the cost and time savings.

When I installed the vinyl flooring in my first home (without underlayment), I had to spend additional time and money fixing the subfloor imperfections.

In contrast, when I used an underlayment in my second home, I saved those extra bucks and hours.

The underlayment reduced the time I had to spend on subfloor preparation, and I didn’t have to hire a professional for the installation.

Time is money, as they say, and in this case, the underlayment helped me save both.

7. Enhances Thermal Properties

  • Improves Energy Efficiency

One of the surprising yet pleasing aspects of using underlayment was the noticeable improvement in energy efficiency in my home.

How so, you ask? Well underlayment is an additional layer of insulation that helps maintain a consistent temperature inside the house, reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling.

I noticed this when my energy bills started to show a consistent decrease after installing the vinyl plank flooring with underlayment.

This was a welcome change from the previous home, where the lack of underlayment resulted in fluctuating temperatures and, consequently, higher energy usage.

This newfound energy efficiency reaffirmed my belief that underlayment is a beneficial investment in the long run.

  • Keeps Floors Warm During Cold Seasons

Another point worth mentioning about underlayment is its heat retention capability. As someone who shivers at the slightest drop in temperature, a warm floor during the winter season is nothing short of a blessing.

When I installed the underlayment with my vinyl plank flooring, I noticed the floors were noticeably warmer during the colder months compared to my earlier home.

This is because the underlayment retains the heat within the room, preventing it from escaping through the floors.

Walking barefoot around the house became a cozy, pleasant experience, even during the winter, and that’s something my feet are eternally grateful for!


  • Summary the Reasons

As we reach the end of this journey, let’s revisit the reasons that make underlayment for vinyl plank flooring such a worthy investment.

From enhancing the life expectancy of floors, improving sound absorption, and offering added comfort to leveling minor subfloor imperfections, underlayment plays a vital role.

Furthermore, it supports installation, offers moisture protection, preserves the quality of vinyl plank flooring, and enhances thermal properties.

Each point has impacted my life in small yet significant ways, whether the surprise decrease in my energy bills or the cozy warmth under my feet during cold winter months.

  • Importance of Underlayment

Underlayment is not just another layer below your floor. It’s a performance enhancer, a protector, and a comfort provider.

Without it, the vinyl plank flooring may not live up to its full potential, and the comfort under your feet can be compromised.

I noticed significant differences in the performance of my floor before and after the underlayment installation.

It was a revelation and an affirmation of the importance of underlayment in the overall flooring solution.

  • Invest in Underlayment

If I could share one piece of advice from my experience, it would be to consider underlayment not as an optional addition but as a crucial part of your flooring project.

The upfront cost may seem like an additional burden, but the long-term benefits, in terms of comfort, durability, and energy efficiency, far outweigh the initial expense.

After seeing the benefits in my home, I wholeheartedly recommend underlayment as a wise investment for your floors.

So, when you’re ready to embark on your flooring project, remember the magic the underlayment layer can bring to your home.


Hi! I’m Kobby, one of the co-owners of favoredstoneguides.com and the newest house owner in town. I’m a huge fan of most things natural. Over here on this site, I'm happy to share all the exciting hacks, tricks, and tips I have learned and continue to learn each day about taking care of natural stones.

Recent Posts