So, you’ve decided to re-carpet your home? The carpet has been picked, the room measured, and you’ve watched countless videos on YouTube to ensure you know what you’re doing. But what about the carpet underlay?
What is ‘underlay’?
Exactly as its name implies, carpet underlay is placed under carpets before they are laid. It’s not an optional extra. It’s an integral part of the carpeting process and shapes how the flooring looks, feels and wears.
A good quality underlay acts as a barrier to protect your flooring from damage caused by temperature and moisture. It increases underfoot comfort, improving the feel as you walk along the flooring, and prolongs the lifespan of your brand-new carpet by 30-50%!
Something that you may or may not know about carpet underlay is that it is an insulator which will save you some serious cash on your energy bills each month! It traps heat beneath your flooring, insulating the room and keeping it at the perfect temperature. Although it’s great for retaining heat, underlay can provide sound insulation too – minimising the transfer of unwanted sound.
Types of underlay
There are various types of carpet underlay – suitable for use with different flooring and different rooms in the home (i.e. bedroom, living room, landing, stairs, etc.). To help you make an informed decision, here we look at the different types of underlay:
- Foam underlay – one of the most versatile types of carpet underlay, made of PU (polyurethane) foam and available in an assortment of thicknesses and densities. Both soft and lightweight, it’s a brilliant all-rounder and is remarkably easy to lay in difficult areas, such as staircases or hallways.
- Felt underlay – though a more traditional type of underlay, felt provides exceptional cushioning, noise reduction and insulation. These underlays are typically constructed from wool which makes them cheap and easy to lay. So, if you’re conscious about the environment, wool felt underlay is a great choice
- Crumb rubber underlay – renowned for being dense and durable, crumb rubber carpet underlay offers heavy-duty protection for carpets. Perfect for all rooms in the home (including those that are susceptible to high foot traffic!) and commercial properties.
- Combination underlay – specifically designed for carpets, and unsuitable for most types of flooring, combination underlay combines the luxurious comfort of felt with the resilience of rubber. It offers unrivalled thermal insulation and durability which makes it ideal for all rooms and, particularly, Axminster and Wilton carpets.
- Sponge rubber underlay – comprised of soft sponge rubber, and available in a waffle or flat profile, these underlays can be used in every area within the home. They’re often considered the no.1 choice for concrete floors and underfloor heating as they allow heat to distribute evenly into the room.
Is rubber underlay better than foam?
There’s no denying that PU foam is one of, if not, the most popular types of carpet underlay you can buy, but that’s not to say traditional rubber options should be completely disregarded.
Yes, PU foam is lightweight, easy to lay and affordable. There is also a vast range of foam underlays on the market which make it easier for you to find the perfect one for your flooring. However, sponge rubber underlay has been around for many years and is extremely durable. It’s made from recycled vehicle tyres which makes it both environmentally-friendly and budget-friendly.
Should you use the same underlay throughout the house?
The simple answer is no. Although there are many types of carpet underlay that work as all-rounders, they each offer their own unique properties and benefits. For example, comfort is key when looking for underlay to go in the bedrooms whereas you need something dense and long-lasting for the landing and other areas that handle lots of foot traffic.
Below we outline a couple of key factors to consider when shopping for carpet underlay for the different rooms in your home:
Best carpet underlay for bedrooms?
Bedrooms are supposed to be relaxing and comfortable places to retreat, so it makes sense to choose an underlay that feels great to walk on in socks, slippers and bare feet. Ideally you want a thick, sponge rubber underlay or a wool combination felt variation.
Best carpet underlay for living rooms and lounges?
Whether it be somewhere to kick back and relax after a long day or a place to entertain guests, the lounge deserves a comfortable floor. Whilst there is a vast range to choose from, the best type of underlay for this room is one that is sumptuous and velvety soft – something snug.
Best carpet underlay for dining rooms?
The dining room is one of the most frequently occupied areas in the home – used for mealtimes and dinner parties. A good quality underlay, preferably one that’s hardwearing and durable, will help to minimise marks and indentations and keep your new flooring looking like new for longer.
Best carpet underlay for stairs, halls and landings?
There’s no denying that your staircase takes the brunt of foot traffic – and the best underlay will be one that is strong enough to withstand heavy footfall yet thick enough to ensure a warm, comfortable underfoot. If you’ve chosen a thick carpet, you should consider getting a combination underlay which is a little thinner than others but remarkably easy to fit.
Which underlay should you choose?
The truth is, the best carpet underlay depends on several factors, including:
- Your chosen carpet
- The type of flooring it will sit on (i.e. concrete or underfloor heating)
- The room you’re laying underlay in
- Your budget
- What matters most (i.e. comfort, durability, noise reduction, etc.)
A carefully chosen carpet underlay will act as a shock absorber – great for protecting your floors against heavy footfall and impact – ensuring your carpeted floors look and feel fabulous for as long as possible. And it shouldn’t burn a hole through your wallet!
So, why not browse the range at Carpet Underlay Shop and, if you’re still not sure which carpet underlay to choose, get in touch with their experts on 0203 887 0994?
If you want to learn more about carpet underlays visit carpet-underlay-shop.co.uk.