Laminate flooring or a floating engineered real wood floor require a
foam underlayment, which cushions the floor underfoot.
Underlayment also deadens sound and allows the entire floor to function
as a single unit held down by the base moldings.
What Goes Under The Flooring?
has its own underlayment products and specifications for their
installation. Exactly what combination of products you need
depends on your situation.
Installation on a concrete slab requires a moisture barrier.
Some floating-floor manufacturers build a moisture barrier into
underlayment. Others require a two-step application. Be sure
to to use only the materials recommended by the manufacturer of your
flooring. Some choices are:
6-Mil Polyethylene: Keeps moisture out of the laminate
flooring, but requires a separate foam underlayment.
2-in-1 Foam: A more expensive product than separate
moisture barriers and underlayments, but it allows you to cover the
floor in one application. Install the film side down (facing the
Foam Underlayment: This companion to polyethylene
moisture barriers is made of closed-cell poly.
Rubber-Backed and Solid Poly: A more expensive product,
but worth it if you want the most comfortable floor and the highest
degree of sound absorption.