Do Hardwood Floors Need an Underlayment?

Your hardwood flooring needs an underlayment for added warmth and moisture protection.

The enemy of hardwood flooring is moisture. If you’re not careful, a hardwood floor installed below-grade can endure all kinds of damage over the years. Therefore, it’s important to install an underlayment, or a moisture barrier, beneath your hardwood flooring. It’s an additional cost added to your new flooring project, but you need to think of your hardwood flooring as an investment.

For many potential buyers, hardwood is worth paying more for a home. Whether you’re living in the house long-term or planning to sell it, your floors are a big part of your home’s worth. That’s why you need to protect your beautiful hardwood floors now.

Manufacturer Requirements for Hardwood Floors

Most hardwood flooring manufacturers require an underlayment or vapor barrier underneath the floors. You can check your warranty on any new flooring you purchase. You’ll likely find that installing hardwood without the vapor barrier will void the warranty altogether. That means that if something were to happen, such as a heavy piece of furniture dropped on the floor, you’re not covered. The manufacturer won’t replace that board.

It’s best to protect your investment. You can meet the vapor barrier requirement held by manufacturers by stapling a six mil plastic sheet or tar paper to the subfloor. That’s the bare minimum. There are far better underlayment options available. For instance, you may choose foam or vinyl underlayment, both of which may come with vapor protection added. Furthermore, both offer sound and thermal insulation on top of moisture protection.

Reasons You Need an Underlayment

If voiding the manufacturer’s warranty isn’t enough, here are a few more reasons why you need a hardwood floor underlayment:

  • Imperfections – You want an even subfloor for a quality hardwood floor. However, there may be minor imperfections. An underlayment can help address these minor imperfections to create a stable, smooth floor above.
  • Noise Reduction – With a floating floor, you hear every footstep. As flooring products have evolved, noise reduction has become more commonplace as long as you have an underlayment.
  • Warmth – For most, hardwood flooring is about elegance and appearance. However, it is also quite cold. During the winter, your bare feet on the hardwood can be jarring. With an underlayment, your new hardwood will avoid the cold and dampness of winter.
  • Moisture Resistance – As previously said, hardwood flooring does not do well with moisture. It’s extremely damaging. With an underlayment and an attached vapor barrier, any moisture is eliminated.

If you have ever dreamt of installing hardwood flooring in your home, now is the time to invest in your property. Contact Starwood Distributors for hardwood flooring installation and repair. Give us a call at 214-718-7304.

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