Do I Need Underlayment For Hardwood Flooring: The Most Satisfying Answer

Every homeowner who is looking forward to adding a natural feel to their home installs a hardwood surface. Therefore, hardwood floors are simple to maintain and last for years to come. 

But the question that comes to their mind before installing the hardwood base is- Do I need underlayment for hardwood flooring?

The short answer is- Yes. Underlayment helps to protect your hardwood planks from water damage and absorb the annoying sound. 

You can also enjoy other benefits by installing your hardwood floor on the underlayment. To discover those advantages, stay in tune with us till the end of this guide.

So, let’s dive in.

Do I Need Underlayment For Hardwood Flooring


Do you love to see any inconsistency in the subfloor or walk on the squeezy hardwood floor? Then, installing the hardwood plank on the underlayment will be the solution to these issues. 

Underlayment will help you even out the inconsistency in the subfloor and provide better sound deadening. 

Apart from these, an underlayment will add the following advantages to the list. 

01. Reduce Subfloor Inconsistency

A well-leveled or even subfloor is the prerequisite of installing hardwood flooring. Otherwise, you will get an uneven or unfinished surface if you nail or glue the hardwood planks on the uneven subfloor. 

Yeah, it’s impossible to fix every minor issue, but it is recommended to solve major flaws before installing the hardwood surface. Regarding this, a quality underlayment will be your go-to solution. It is the fastest way to fix small, uneven areas.

Therefore, it doesn’t cost you a leg and arm and requires less effort than pulling out the entire subfloor. 

02. Reduce Noise

Installing your hardwood surface on the naked subfloor will make a lot of noise. When your baby or pet will walk and run around your house, it creates a loud noise. 

We recommend you put an underlayment between the subfloor and the hardwood base to reduce the noise. Some underlayments can absorb noise instead of deflecting them. It is also thick enough, which works as a cushion. 

03. Function as a Moisture Barrier

The downside of a hardwood floor is it can’t resist water damage. When water gets soaked into the hardwood planks, they start warping. Therefore, they buckle up. To keep your hardwood floor protected from water damage, you can install an underlayment. It works as a vapor barrier and shields the wood boards against water. So, you need to put an underlayment if you want to give long-lasting life to your floor. 

04. Cushion

An underlayment doesn’t only designed to reduce noise but also helps cushion flooring. The hardwood surface is smooth and extra-hard to ensure durability. That’s why it also feels hard beneath the feet while walking on this surface for a long time. So, a little cushioning will give you a lot of comfort. 

Yes, most underlayments are not thick enough, but it makes the hardwood surface gentle, especially when you step on the joints. Therefore, the underlayment helps to reduce floor squeaking. 

Is It Necessary to Put Underlayment with Engineered Hardwood?

You may know the solid wood floor and the engineered hardwood surfaces are not the same. But our goal here is not to discover the differences between them. We aim to figure out whether it is necessary to put an engineered hardwood floor on the underlayment or not. 

Well, it depends on the engineered hardwood surface you are going to purchase. Some come with built-in underlayment, while others do not. If the engineered wood doesn’t include underlayment, you should go the route of rosin or wax paper. 

Putting the rosin paper down will help to seal the subfloor off. Then, install your engineered hardwood surface on the rosin. The advantage of putting rosin paper is it is less expensive and doesn’t take a long time to install. At the same time, it functions like underlayment.  

Also, you can go for the roofing felt instead of an underlayment. However, we don’t recommend you put the roofing felt as it takes a long time to dissipate the smell. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use carpet underlay for wooden flooring?

No, you can’t put your hardwood floor on the carpet underlay as it will bring compression issues. It’s better to install your wooden surface on the recommended underlayment. 

Do you need a moisture barrier on the second floor?

No, you don’t need a moisture barrier on the second floor unless there is any possibility to get water under the hardwood base. 

What to put under hardwood flooring

Rosin paper or waxing paper are two common elements that are used between the subfloor and the hardwood surface. 

Final Words

We hope you get your answer to this question: Do I need underlayment for solid hardwood flooring?

Underlayment is a must as it reduces noise, protects your hardwood surface from water damage, and makes the floor gentle to walk on. 

On the other hand, if you don’t put your hardwood planks on the underlayment, it makes a route for water to penetrate your subfloor to damage the hardwood. 

To sum up, it’s a must to put underlayment between the subfloor and the hardwood base.

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