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The Significance of Underlay in Parquet Flooring Installation: A Comprehensive Overview

The aesthetic appeal and intricate patterns of parquet flooring have captivated homeowners for centuries. However, to ensure that this flooring remains in pristine condition and delivers optimal performance, the foundation upon which it lies plays a pivotal role. Enter the world of underlays an understated component, but one that holds paramount importance in the installation process. In this extensive guide, we will delve deep into the distinct types of underlays available, underscoring their significance based on specific requirements.

1. Introduction: Underlay

Underlays act as a buffer between the subfloor and your parquet flooring. They provide sound insulation, thermal benefits, protect against moisture, and in some cases, enhance the lifespan of your floor. Selecting the right type of underlay is vital, ensuring that it complements the purpose and environment of the room.

2. The Acoustic Underlay: Silence is Golden

In multi-storied homes or apartments, noise can be a pervasive issue.

  • Composition: Usually made from dense rubber or foam, acoustic underlays are engineered to absorb sound.
  • Benefits:
    • Noise Reduction: Dampens ambient noise and footsteps—crucial for upper-level rooms.
    • Sound Transmission: Reduces the transfer of sound between floors, ensuring peace for occupants below.

3. The Thermal Underlay: Embracing Warmth

Energy efficiency and comfort are the hallmarks of a modern home.

  • Composition: Crafted from specialized foam or felt materials that trap air, acting as an insulating barrier.
  • Benefits:
    • Heat Retention: Retains room warmth, leading to reduced heating bills.
    • Comfort: Provides softer footfall, enhancing the underfoot experience.

4. Underlays for Underfloor Heating: Optimizing Heat Transfer

When combining the luxury of parquet flooring with underfloor heating, the right underlay ensures maximum efficacy.

  • Composition: Paper felt or foam, designed to offer minimal resistance to heat transfer.
  • Benefits:
    • Efficient Heat Transfer: Allows optimal upward heat flow, ensuring the room heats evenly.
    • Energy Conservation: By facilitating efficient heat transfer, it reduces energy wastage, proving cost-effective overall.

5. Damp Proof Membrane Underlay: Guarding Against Moisture

With moisture being wood's nemesis, this underlay becomes essential, especially for ground-level installations or homes in damp areas.

  • Composition: Often made of a thick plastic sheet or specialized material, ensuring complete impermeability.
  • Benefits:
    • Protection Against Moisture: Prevents any moisture from the subfloor from reaching the parquet.
    • Longevity: Protects against potential warping, swelling, or distortion of wooden blocks.

6. How to Choose the Right Underlay

Several factors play into this decision:

  • Room Usage: A bedroom upstairs might require acoustic underlay, while a lounge with large windows could benefit from thermal underlay.
  • Subfloor Type: Concrete subfloors demand a damp-proof membrane, especially in moisture-prone areas.
  • Budget: While investing in good underlay pays off overall, initial costs can vary. Balance your immediate budget with future benefits.

7. Installation Tips

  • Clean and Level: Ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level before laying the underlay.
  • Seams: For roll-type underlays, seams should run perpendicular to the flooring and be taped down securely.
  • Overlap: When using a damp-proof membrane, ensure a slight overlap between sheets to prevent any moisture seepage.

8. The Environmental Perspective

Eco-conscious homeowners can opt for underlays made from recycled materials. Not only do they offer the same benefits, but they also reduce the environmental footprint.

9. The Long-Term Benefits

Beyond the immediate advantages, underlays:

  • Protect the Flooring: They reduce wear and tear, potentially extending the floor's lifespan.
  • Enhance Comfort: With added cushioning and warmth.
  • Add Value: Homes with well-installed parquet flooring, complemented by the right underlay, can see an appreciation in value due to enhanced longevity and functionality.


Underlays might reside out of sight, but their importance in the realm of parquet flooring installation is undeniable. They bridge the gap between the aesthetic beauty of the parquet and the practical needs of a home, ensuring that the flooring not only looks spectacular but also functions optimally. Whether you’re stepping into a warm, cozy room in the heart of winter or seeking solace in the quietude of your study, remember, it's the underlay working tirelessly beneath, supporting every step you take.