Some homeowners choose to perform floor installation in their homes by themselves. However, some of them end up with less satisfactory results because they neglected an important part of the process; the installation of underlayment. Underlayment refers to the material you place between the subfloor and the floor material. For instance, you place plywood underlayment beneath a tile floor. This article discusses why you should put a layer of underlayment beneath the new flooring that you wish to install in your home.
It Improves Soundproofing
Sound is easily transmitted through materials that are thin. For instance, sound easily travels through a plywood room partition than through a concrete wall. This ease of transmission is because the plywood partition is thin, so it can be made to vibrate as sound waves reach it. The same principle applies to floors. A layer of underlayment increases the thickness of a floor. This has the effect of muffling different sounds (such as the noise produced as someone walks on that floor).
It Acts as a Moisture Barrier
Moisture may find its way through any kind of flooring material. For instance, gaps can develop between the floor tiles in your home. Moisture can seep through those gaps and damage the floor support structure if there is no barrier to halt its infiltration. An underlayment serves this role of keeping moisture from damaging the floor joists and other support structures beneath your floor. Talk to a flooring contractor to recommend a special underlayment in case the floor is going to be exposed to excessive amounts of moisture (such as a bathroom floor).
It Levels the Floor
Another important role that underlayment plays is that it removes minor depressions within the subfloor. This can help to prolong the useful life of the floor that you install above that underlayment. For instance, tiles will easily crack if they are installed on a surface that is not level. Underlayment also enables the floor to cope with minimal movements within the building structure. For instance, wooden planks underneath a tiled floor may develop gaps when the foundation settles. The underlayment will reduce the impact of those gaps by providing a stable surface to hold the flooring materials (such as tiles).
As you can see, underlayment plays a very important role in the performance and lifespan of a floor. Do not be tempted by budgetary limitations to forego purchasing appropriate underlayment for the floor you wish to install. Contact a flooring contractor for advice on affordable underlayment materials that you can use during that floor DIY renovation project.