Choosing Underlay for Your New Carpet

If you’re having a new carpet fitted you will no doubt be thinking about choosing underlay as well. When buying a new carpet, opting for a new underlay is one of the smartest decisions if your existing underlay is old and tired. Those that choose to remain with their worn underlay from previous carpets often regret it and return for underlay in the future because they recognise that the comfort levels and heat efficiency is lost. This is something you will want to avoid when refurbishing a room in your home.

There are many different carpet underlay options you can choose from. What type of underlay you choose will depend on a number of factors including

  • Types of carpet chosen
  • Room you are fitting the carpet in
  • Amount of footfall on the carpet
  • Personal comfort expectations
  • Insulation requirements

Ideally, we all want to go for the best underlay available to us. This may cost a bit more overall but the benefits gained will be worth the increased price. Those that choose to go for cheap underlay often regret it, especially if the low price means low quality. This is not always the case, and Colourbank do always monitor our prices so that we can provide the best underlays available at competitive prices, but please be cautious of any carpet traders whose prices seem to be significantly lower than other traders.

To help you choose the right underlay, we have put a small list of guidelines together. Each point will direct you towards choosing the best underlay available for you. We will then discuss the benefits of choosing higher quality underlays over lower quality. At the same time, we will identify when it is best to go for lower quality underlay – after all the less premium underlays are manufactured for a reason.

Fit Thicker Underlay in Rooms with High Footfall

Rooms with a higher footfall will require a thicker undelay. A thicker underlay will provide a more comfortable feel under the foot and will also be more resilient when it comes to handling the weight and stresses that come with constant traffic. A thicker underlay for heavy traffic rooms will help the carpet wear longer. So whilst the idea of spending more might be daunting at first, it is in fact a long term investment when you consider that the carpet will last longer as a result of choosing a thicker underlay. Underlays are available in thicknesses between 7mm to 12mm. For most rooms anything around 10mm – 12mm is suitable and will help make your carpet last longer.

Upgrade Underlay Before Carpet or At the Same Time

Most honest carpet fitters will tell you that if your carpet is in good condition, but the underfoot feel is uncomfortable, you are best to upgrade your underlay first and opt for a new carpet after a few years. However, if your carpet is worn and tired you will want to upgrade your underlay at the same time as the carpet. This may seem daunting at first, but with rational thinking and a clear plan, it can be inexpensive, especially with traders that offer fair discounts and reliable guarantees.

When choosing your carpet really think about the room you are installing it into as the way the carpet is used will have an impact on what type of underlay you will choose to install.

Before going in-store, think about what you want from your carpet and write it down. Your pre-plan will be very helpful and will make your discussions with sales advisors much easier. Remember that any sales advisor at an honest trader is there to help. There is a misconception that carpet sales advisors will try to direct you towards the best carpets in terms of margins but this is not the case! They are there to help and the more you are able to help yourself before the discussion, the easier it is for them to direct you towards the best underlay and carpet for you!

Do I Need Underlay Under all Carpeted Areas?

Realistically you will need to install underlay under all carpeted areas if you want to live in comfort and to a standard expected in the UK. You should think long and hard about your own circumstances before you listen to anyone telling you to avoid underlay. Underlay is there to protect your carpet and provide the best comfort possible for you. Without underlay, your rooms will be colder, more uncomfortable and will also be a lot noisier, especially on wooden floorboards. Plus without underlay your carpet will not last half as long as it would with underlay, so the investment benefits of underlay are well worth the price!

How Thick Should My Stair Underlay Be?

Choosing Underlay for your stairs can be difficult and there are a number of opinions as to what thickness you should choose. Some recognise that stair carpet is most likely going to wear the quickest in your home because of the constant footfall, so a thicker underlay will help keep the carpet looking fresher for longer. However, others suggest that a thicker underlay can impact how well the carpet sits on the stairs. In our opinion, we recommend that you go for an underlay of around 11mm on the stairs. Our expert fitters can fit stair carpets perfectly, therefore avoiding any issues when it comes to thickness and underlays.

Underlay for Stair Carpets

Will Underlay Cancel Sound from Underneath?

One of the great benefits of choosing an underlay with a higher density is that it will cancel out sounds from under the carpet and underlay. Whilst all noises cannot be avoided, i.e a squeaking floorboard may need looking at by a trained carpenter, underlay can help to stop persistent footfall noises which are especially useful for anyone that is heavy-footed.

Where possible we always recommend going for underlay between 10mm and 12mm. 10mm will provide comfort underfoot and stop noises, whereas 11mm and 12mm will provide a much more luxurious feel underfoot, offer warmth and reduce sounds from underneath more than the 10mm options. It is always best to go for thicker if you live in a cold home or are intended on investing in a premium carpet.

Are There Different Types of Underlay?

There are different types of underlay including PU form, crumb and sponge rubber. Each type offers different benefits. When choosing underlay be sure to ask for advice. A trained carpet expert will be able to help you choose the best option for your needs.

PU Foam Underlay

The most popular tends to be PU foam as it offers value for money and provides the comfort and insulation levels required for most UK homes. These are often manufactured from recycled materials and are very lightweight compared to alternative options. The product can often be recycled again after so as a material it is a very renewable option which is proving to be a huge advantage for many environmentally inclined homeowners.

Crumb Underlay

Crumb underlay is often used for rooms and areas that have high traffic volumes. It provides optimum protection but has been known to be less comfortable compared to alternative options. However, it is very flat and dense and is very good over stair nosings.

Sponge Rubber Underlay

This underlay is perfect for a number of different applications and is a great option for providing comfort. It has a durable spring retention and is available in flat or waffle patterns. A wide variety of different weights are available, so whether you’re looking for maximum comfort in your living room or require something thinner in your spare room then it is the perfect option for you.

Other Types of Underlay

Whilst the above are the main types sold, there are a number of other options including memory foam, felt, underfloor heating underlay, laminate underlay and combination. Not all carpet traders will have all underlay types, but the ones that are commonly required will most likely always be available.

I Am Only Putting the New Carpet Down for a Few Years

Even if you only intend on putting your carpet down for a few years before you move forward with your main refurbishment it is worth putting down underlay. Where possible still spend a reasonable amount as you will still benefit even if it is only for a few years. However, if you have financial restraints, there are budget options available that will see you through the temporary period.

High Priced Underlay Over Low Priced Underlay

From the above, you will have no doubt identified that there are real benefits to spending that little bit more for your underlay. Whilst lower priced budget underlays will see you through the advantage of spending that little bit more include sound insulation, heat insulation, comfort underfoot, longevity and improved appearance for your carpet. As mentioned in the above point, there are times when it is worth purchasing budget underlay, but overall you want to spend that little bit extra for enhanced comfort.

This article should help you when deciding on what you require from your underlay. We always welcome everyone to our stores and are always available to help. If you have an idea of what you are looking for and would like to discuss, you can also call us on 0116 350 0630 (Crest Rise Store) or 0116 350 0635 (Cavendish Store). Alternatively, you can contact us directly through the website.