Wood Flooring Underlayment: What It Is and Why You Need It

Wood Flooring Underlayment: What It Is and Why You Need It

While you’ve spent lots of time with your samples, moving them around your home to see them in every corner, meticulously choosing the Scandi floor that looks best in your house, you probably haven’t given much thought to the underlayment. We’re here to simplify this decision making process (and maybe introduce you to underlayment for the first time) so that you can be sure you’re ordering everything you need for a smooth install day.

Let’s start simple: what is underlayment? Underlayment is a thin layer of protective high density foam that will protect your floors for a lifetime. It is installed between the subfloor and the wood floors to provide a barrier that will not only dampen some sound but protect your beautiful hardwoods from mold, mildew, and moisture.

Why do you need underlayment for your wood floors?

The number one cause of damage to a wood floor is moisture coming up from the subfloor. To ensure your floors are 100% covered by our warranty, typically an underlayment with a moisture barrier is required (with one exception, which we’ll talk about in a minute). Our Nature All in One Underlayment is made from 100% High Density Foam which provides a protective barrier for your floors against any moisture that may come from the subfloor. It’s antimicrobial, which means while it’s protecting your Stuga floors it’s not growing any mold. 

We know that one of the reasons you chose floors from the happiest forests on earth is because they are healthy. Healthy for the planet, but also healthy for your family. Our underlayment produces no off gassing, making it a perfect match for your Stuga floors. We want you to walk into your #EyeScandi dream home and smell that forest scent we all love, so we have sourced an underlayment that will allow for that, while also providing the barrier your floors need.

When your Stuga floors are replacing carpet, many owners wonder how the change will affect the noise levels. While we can’t speak for the dog barking at the mailman or the kids chasing each other down the hall, we are pleased to tell you that our underlayment has an excellent acoustic rating, meaning it will absorb some of the echoing noise people may worry about when switching to a hardwood floor.

Can you staple your underlayment?

Before we dive into the installation of your underlayment (spoiler alert: it’s very simple), let’s talk quickly about the different subfloors your home may have. Chances are your engineered floors will be laid on a plywood or a concrete subfloor. You can, and should, use an underlayment on all types of subfloors.

On a plywood subfloor, you have your choice of installation methods. You can float your floors, staple your floors, or glue your floors. If you are floating your floors, you will simply roll out your underlayment, just like unrolling a sleeping bag, before laying your floors right on top. If you are stapling your floors, you’ll still unroll the underlayment, then as you staple through your hardwoods during installation, you will staple right through your underlayment into the subfloor. We recommend using ¼” crown staples for this straight forward install.

Does underlayment need to be glued?

You may recall there is one exception to our “underlayment = full warranty coverage” statement above and that is a glue down installation. Your Stuga floors can be glued on any subfloor that is firm, flat, and dry, however our underlayment is not recommended for use with a glue down application of your floors. In this scenario, we would recommend a premium flooring adhesive with a moisture barrier (something like Bona R851 or Bostik Greenforce). 

If you are on a slab foundation and your subfloor is concrete, you can glue your floors to the subfloor or if you like the idea of using an underlayment, float your Stuga floors over your unrolled underlayment (again, unroll like a sleeping bag!) for an easy install job. There are underlayments on the market that can be glued directly to a slab foundation, with your wood floor glued directly to the underlayment.

While underlayment may be an afterthought and won’t be visible when your floors are ready for their sock dance party, it is an important piece to your installation. Stuga floors will last a lifetime when cared for properly, and that begins with choosing the proper underlayment.