Do you need a base for laminate floors on concrete? Yes, you will definitely need a subfloor when installing laminate flooring on concrete (or any other surface, in fact). The laminate is a “floating floor”, which means that it is not nailed or glued to the surface. Laminate flooring is a strong, cost-effective floor covering that will last for many years. However, for some subfloors, the underlayer is not strictly necessary, it is recommended. The base helps the laminate planks to be evenly distributed in the subfloor and supports the locking system between the planks to ensure that the floor is sturdy.
The laminate placed on concrete floors must have a vapor layer under the bottom layer. In the Chester, Wrexham and North Wales regions, there is a large amount of annual rainfall and there is a chance of flooding. Laminate floors withstand moisture and minor damage caused by floods, as long as a layer of steam is installed under the bottom layer. Cold subfloors on the ground floor are often prone to wetting, which can damage the laminate. If the installation is done on concrete, we recommend that you use a 15 mm polyethylene vapor barrier, even if the subfloor you are going to install already has a vapor barrier installed.
Why? Involuntary nicks or tears during the installation process can violate the integrity of the attached vapor barrier. Adding another vapor barrier is an additional level of protection. When installing a laminate floor on concrete, there are many factors that need to be considered. The first, and probably the most important, factor is the humidity of the concrete surface.
In the case of newly built concrete floors, there is a period of time that must be considered for the concrete to dry properly. In case of large imperfections in the concrete, they must be leveled before installing the subfloor. It is highly recommended to install a vapor barrier between the concrete and foam subfloor. That way, moisture from the concrete won't damage laminate floors.
The vapor barrier is also another temperature barrier that prevents cold air from the concrete from influencing laminate floors. Concrete is a very cold material, so it is better to install thicker barriers between concrete and laminate, which will make the laminate floor warmer and more welcoming. It is also possible to install laminate floors on wooden subfloors. The best subfloor to place on the wooden subfloor is made of rubber or foam.
Regardless of the subfloor, it is always necessary to use a thin underlayer with laminate flooring. But in the case of concrete, it must also have a moisture barrier. The best base for laminate floors is foam because it's easy to install, it's a good sound barrier, and it's very cost-effective. Some of the best foams have an additional layer that works as the best moisture barrier. The best foam that can be attached to the laminate also ensures that the floor is not so cold.
The best base for laminate floors, which can be placed or disassembled, also allows the natural shrinkage of the boards, which occurs when the temperature and humidity of the room vary. If an incorrect independent subfloor is installed, the laminate floor will not be stable and will not last as long as it should. This can be avoided if you buy a laminate with an attached underlayment. Choosing the right or the best base for laminate floors is just as important as choosing the best desired laminate floor.
There are many different base layers that can be attached to laminate floors. The thicker lower layers are the best, offer the best soundproofing and usually also serve as the best barrier against water. In the case of newly built concrete floors, it is best to measure the humidity of the floors before installing laminate floors with an attached underlayment. The floor must be dry enough so that moisture does not cause mold or deformations on the laminate tiles later on.
If the base is not used, there is a danger that the laminate will be damaged when many people walk on him. This is the most common form of laminate subfloor and is often used in cases where a laminate floor is installed on a plywood or OSB subfloor. While reusing the base layer may be attractive, using a carpet base layer with laminate flooring will cause problems in the long term. Nowadays, you can find many laminate floors that have been manufactured with underlayment padding incorporated into the underside of the material.
In high-traffic areas, such as stairs and the corridor, a padded base will not be durable enough and, in addition, it will be difficult to place it around of the stairs. In addition to being potentially cold and hard, concrete subfloors can also cause moisture, which can be problematic for certain types of floors. For low-traffic areas, such as the bedroom and living room, a thick, luxurious base is a great choice. If it is a new concrete subfloor, it must be left for at least 30 days before laying any new floor.
If the subfloor is full of imperfections, the laminate with the attached underlayment will not look good and will not offer the best stability. Installing a base layer levels out any imperfections in the subfloor, helping to ensure that the laminate is level and stable. Cork, one of the most expensive underlayment options, can sometimes increase the cost of installing laminate flooring by up to 50 percent. A base with a low corrosion resistance index will have better thermal conductivity, so that heat can easily penetrate the floor and enter the room. If the floor has vinyl, you can lay laminate flooring without the need for an undercoat, but the base can add additional cushioning.
It is important to check that the concrete is dry before laying any type of floor, but it is especially important for laminate and wood, as moisture is extremely harmful. The proper selection and installation of subfloors and subfloors is crucial for the proper wear and stability of any floor.