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Picking the perfect partner for your new flooring: Does your choice of underlay really make a differ

Underlay acts like a cushion for your beautiful new flooring. Helping it last longer, it protects your carpet, laminate, wood or vinyl against the hard subfloor, giving it spring to withstand the daily pressure your feet and furniture inflict on it.

There are various types of underlay available, and the one you pick will depend on your chosen flooring - but much like pizza toppings, getting the combination right is crucial. The most popular types of underlay are rubber (waffle and crumb), PU foam and felt. It is also worth bearing in mind location; some thicker or particularly soft underlays will be unsuitable for use on stairs, for example.

Tog ratings

As with duvets; underlay and carpet comes with a tog rating to let you know how much heat it absorbs. The higher the tog rating; the better the heat absorbency and therefore the more superior the insulation.

Underfloor heating

When fitting underfloor heating, adequate heat resistance is essential so taking tog ratings into account is important. We recommend checking the specific guidelines from your chosen underfloor heating manufacturer to establish the TOG and heat setting they recommend.

Underlay for carpet

When it comes to carpets, your choice of underlay will firstly be affected by its location; namely whether it's for home or commercial use. Obviously a carpet in a busy office, airport or shop will need different support to your carpet at home, so you'll be over the moon to discover that the clever chaps in charge of underlays have that all catered for.

The right choice of underlay will keep your carpet looking and feeling springy. Underlay is an essential barrier between the carpet and the subfloor, helping it spring back against pressure from furniture and feet.

When it comes to your home, thicker underlays such as the Cloud 9 Cumulus are fantastic for adding insulation - both acoustic and thermal. Pairing carpets with underlays such as these is great if you have heavy footed family members and will provide wonderful news for your heating bills.

For commercial flooring, choose a thicker, more durable underlay which will stand up to the additional wear and tear from office castor chairs or high traffic in busy reception areas. Something like the monster Durafit 500 will help your carpet last the course.

Choosing underlay for wood or laminate flooring

As with other types of flooring, underlay is important as it covers flaws and uneven surfaces on sub-floor and offers thermal insulation.

However, as laminate flooring can be susceptible to moisture and dramatic changes in temperature, insulation will further protect your lovely laminate. Additionally underlay has the added benefit of muffling sound and acting as a shock absorber, a useful addition for potentially noisy flooring such as this.

The type of sub floor will affect your choice of underlay, but choosing one specifically for laminate or wood flooring is a wise choice - a brand such as Elka offers all the necessary features you'd want or need.

Vinyl flooring

If you have vinyl floor then you may still wish to consider the use of underlay to offer protection against the rougher sub floor surface. Simultaneously it will smooth out any lumps and bumps present, helping give you a wonderfully flat finish.

With Luxury Vinyl Flooring Tiles fitted with the click system, it is recommended you use the Xtrafloor Underlay; this is designed to add a friction base to prevent the boards from sliding around during installation, making it even quicker and easier.

When making your decision, ensure you lay good foundations by choosing a quality underlay compatible for your flooring of choice. Pick the right one and your floors, ears, feet and wallet will thank you for many years to come.