This is a complicated issue with no simple yes or no answer. Many factors determine if you need one, such as sub or surface floor type and condition, moisture issues, or installation technique.
If your luxury vinyl flooring comes with an underlayment already pre-attached, there's no need to buy an extra one. Also, if you are placing over a resilient, cushion-like surface such as vinyl flooring, you may not need one, but you may need a vapor barrier.
Sometimes you may also choose to have one for the extra cushioning, however, such as if you have young toddlers just learning to walk or senior residents prone to falling. You also will use one if your subfloor is concrete or an existing hardwood floor.
Always speak in detail with your flooring expert about underlayments when shopping for luxury vinyl in Houston.
About the underlayment
First, you should know the anatomy of your floor. Just under the subfloor are the joists. That's part of the home's structure. Then, directly on top is the subfloor, which is usually concrete or plywood or an existing floor if you're installing over it. If an underlayment is used, it gets placed in between the sub and surface floor.
Underlayments add cushioning and eliminate sound. There are many underlayments, from vapor barriers to cement boards, cork, felt, and rubber. Seek the advice of a flooring expert, so you select the best one for your floor.
Subfloors and underlayments
There are two types of subfloors. One is concrete, which is a hard, often damp surface. In that case, you’ll most likely want one for some extra warmth and softness and a vapor barrier.
If the subfloor is plywood, concerns about water are eliminated, but the underlayment will provide extra sound insulation, and you may want something different to hide subfloor imperfections. If the subfloor is an existing floor, you need to check about requirements and suggestions.
Come into the Carpet Giant showroom in Houston, TX, to learn more about luxury vinyl, underlayments, quality installations, and free quotes. We work with homeowners and businesses in and around Houston, Sugar Land, Katy, The Woodlands, and Clear Lake.