Subfloor vs Underlayment
Floors play a vital role in supporting the various pieces of furniture that make up a home. Beneath the ﬂoors are subfloors, underlayment, and joists that many hardly ever know of. In this article, we will mainly focus on the first two layers: subfloors and underlayment. We will explain the details, including the types, functions, etc.
First Layer Below Floors: Underlayment
An underlayment is any piece of material that is placed between the bare ﬂoor and the ﬂooring materials like mattresses, bedding, and carpets. These materials conceal the bare ﬂoor from the harsh external environmental elements. They also prevent the feet from getting into direct contact with bare ﬂoors.
Second Layer Below Floors: Subfloor
Subﬂoor is simply a rough piece of material which is laid as a basis upon which the ﬁnished ﬂoor shall be installed. It basically complements the other kinds of ﬂooring material. As hinted, it is hidden from the view of homeowners and occupants of the rooms and buildings wherein they are utilized.
Joists cannot exactly be considered as a layer, although Joists is an important component that is used to sustain the entire flooring structure.
TYPES OF UNDERLAYMENT & TYPES OF SUBFLOOR
Underlayment can be classified as standard foam underlayment, upgraded foam underlayment, and combo underlayment.
Standard Foam Underlayment
Standard foam, as the name suggests, is a simple and thin layer of foam material which is placed over a subﬂoor. It is often paired with a moisture barrier to prevent the percolation of moisture into the room and ﬂoor.
Upgraded Foam Underlayment
It is an advanced form of the standard foam materials. Other than concealing the bare ﬂoors, it also serves as a noise reducing agent. It lasts longer than the standard foam and is thus a worthier purchase.
This is basically a combination of foam and a ﬁlm that blocks moisture. It may be overlaid atop a concrete subﬂoor or plywood. The underlayment serves the dual roles of conferring added comfort and suppressing capillarity.
We can usually find these four types of subfloor in the market: Plywood, Pine, Flakeboard, and Particleboard.
Plywood is a building material that is manufactured by laying several sheets of wood. The constituent sheets of wood are glued together to form one giant and strong material. It is by far the most common form of material which is used for this purpose of its ﬂatness, strength, and evenness.
These are ﬂooring materials that are made of the pine wood. This kind of wood is soft, malleable, and easy to shape to the desired outlook. It is mainly used in homes, apartments, and residential buildings due to its limited lifespan.
As the name suggests, this kind of subﬂooring is made of ﬂakes of wood that are pressed and glued together by a synthetic resin. The material is highly susceptible to water and is as such utilized in drier areas only.
Also called chipboard, is kind of subﬂoor is made of ﬁner wood particles like sawmill dust, wood chips, and sawmill shavings. It is more compact than the ﬂakeboard and is also better at resisting the percolations of moisture than the said material.
HOW WILL UNDERLAYMENT IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF A FLOOR?
The following are the top beneﬁts of Underlayment:
Evens out Minor Subﬂoor Imperfections
Floors are generally uneven. The underlayment helps to level them by evening out the surfaces. This gives rise to added stability and reliability on your part. They can also absorb any excess stress and pressure to bring along added comfort.
Helps to Reduce Noise
Most people with laminate ﬂoors usually complain about the noise. The underlayment comes in to reduce the noise. This is because they absorb excess vibrations while walking on the ﬂoors. They are great for those installations that are sensitive to noise like libraries.
Keeps your Flooring Warm
Given that they can prevent the escape of heat and warmth, these materials also contribute to keeping the ﬂoors warm. They thus let you walk atop the ﬂoors barefoot without any worries at all. This is not to mention the extra comfort they yield.
Aids in Moisture Protection
These underlayment substances are generally impervious to water. They, therefore, act as a barrier to shield the percolation of water into the rooms or the ﬂoors underneath they are ﬁxed. They thus safeguard the carpets and wooden furniture from dampening and possible damages.
Acts as a Cushioning Agent
They may also be used to cushion the ﬂoors by reason of the soft material makeup. This way, they absorb strong impacts and other injurious stress and impacts. They, in turn, make the surfaces where they are ﬁxed quite comfortable to walk on.
Offers Added Support
Lastly, these materials also confer added support to the existing ﬂooring materials. They mainly do this by resisting the possibilities of the existing ﬂooring materials from warping or compressing excessively. They thus lengthen the lifespan of the ﬂoors in the long run.
HOW WILL SUBFLOOR IMPROVE THE PERFORMANCE OF A FLOOR?
The following are the top beneﬁts of subfloor:
Stabilizes the Foundation
Subﬂoors, as has already been hinted, do add stability to the subﬂoors. They basically reinforce the strength and structural composition of the bare ﬂoors. In light of this, they improve the abilities of the ﬂoors to accommodate furniture and other occupants.
Creates a Firm Base for Subsequent Flooring
Floors are the foundations upon which the rest of the household activities are carried out. They have to be strong and reliable enough to be able to discharge this role well. The subﬂoors come in handy to enable this to take place.
Improves the Overall Lifespan
Floors that are complemented by subﬂoors last longer on average than those which do not. The subﬂoors are hence great to purchase and install as they see to it that a higher value for money is attained.
Prevents Absorption of Moisture
As stated repeatedly, these materials block or suppress capillarity. They, in so doing, prevent the percolation of underground moisture into the rooms. They are great especially for areas that are prone t dampness and clogging.
Improves Support to Overlying Furniture
Given that they prevent moisture from percolating into the rooms as stated, they also safeguard the household furniture. This is mainly because the furniture is less likely to absorb the moisture and deteriorate in quality.
There you have it! You now know subﬂoors and underlayment. You may now proceed to make the right choice between these two materials. Why don’t you now go ahead and acquire at least one of these two construction materials? Remember also to share this information with others who might want it.
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