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While many homeowners have spent quite a bit of time considering the best type of flooring for their needs and desired aesthetic, very few have put much thought into the underlayment of their floor. If it has never even occurred to you that underlayment is a factor in hardwood flooring installation, trust us, you are not alone! Most people do not put in the level of thought into flooring that the experts at Texas Hardwood Flooring do. Because we are the flooring experts, we are a wealth of knowledge in terms of floor installation, maintenance, and repair, including underlayment. If you want to learn more about underlayment, read on for important information on what underlayment is, the different types of underlayment, when you need it, and what type is best for each type of floor.

What is Underlayment?

Your flooring is made of three layers: the subfloor, the underlayment, and the actual floor. Underlayment is the layer placed between the subfloor and the new floor. It can be made out of a variety of materials, including cork, rubber, rubber cork, foam, and polyvinyl. This is debatably the most important part of any flooring installation project, alongside the subfloor. Underlayment adds protection to your floors, and depending on what type you choose, it can serve different purposes for your home, including sound absorption. Underlayment is an essential step in any flooring installation because it is what absorbs any issues with the subfloors, ensuring that your flooring is installed on a smooth, supportive surface. It is important to have an understanding of the different types of underlayment and what purpose they serve before you install new floors.


Cork is the best underlayment material for preventing sound transmission, and is generally the most expensive option. If you have anyone living below you, cork is a great idea for your underlayment, because it will help muffle the sound of your footsteps. Cork underlayment certainly makes you a thoughtful upstairs neighbor; however, cork is not the best option for environments where water damage is a concern. If you need to worry about flooring or humidity, go with a different material, such as if you are having new flooring installed in your basement, bathroom, or other flood-prone area.


Rubber is a very versatile underlayment option. If your floors sound hollow, rubber will help get rid of that annoying sound it makes every time you take a step. Additionally, rubber will protect your flooring from mildew and mold because it is completely waterproof, making a great option for basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. Rubber is also simple to install under almost any floor, particularly hardwood flooring and concrete, so you can rest assured that a rubber underlayment is a great choice for efficiency.

Rubber Cork

Unsurprisingly, rubber cork underlayment is a combination of rubber and cork, combining the best of both of these options into one great one. Rubber cork is the right material for you if you are concerned about your tile floors cracking over time, because it will help keep the integrity of your flooring intact.


Foam is a very popular flooring option, and it’s not hard to understand why. First of all, foam is very inexpensive, making it the most cost-effective option. Despite being inexpensive, it provides excellent sound reduction. Additionally, foam underlayment is very easy to install under any type of flooring, so homeowners are very fond of foam when their home improvement project is time sensitive.


Polyvinyl underlayment is another relatively inexpensive option for your flooring needs. Polyvinyl is great for protecting your flooring against moisture, and therefore, mold and mildew build up. Polyvinyl can be installed under essentially any type of flooring, but it is particularly advantageous wherever flooding is a concern.

In our next blog, we will get into what types of flooring which underlayment serves best. In the meantime, if you are in need for hardwood flooring installation, refinishing, or repair in Fort Worth or the surrounding areas, your best bet is Texas Hardwood Flooring. We are the leading flooring experts in the Dallas area, and we would be more than happy to help you with any of your flooring needs. Contact us today for a free in-home estimate!

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