The Importance of Moisture Barriers and Underlayment

Why buy hardwood flooring if your not really into protecting it? Many people have opted out of moisture barriers and underlayments due to the added cost of installation and materials. While I can understand the importance of saving a bit of money, I can not understand why one would cut out something that brings so much protection to your flooring. Today we will be discussing why you need moisture barriers and underlayment for your next floor installation.

Why Certain Floors Need Underlayment and Moisture Barriers:

Let’s start with where you think moisture gets into your flooring? I’m sure you pictured a glass of water spilling or a vase being knocked over. Even though these instances can harm your floor, there is no comparison to the moisture potential that can come from below the flooring!

Moisture can seep up through the subfloor, especially if you are using an installation process that requires you to install over a concrete floor or below grade level. Without a moisture barrier of some sort to protect from moisture or vapor, you could potentially lessen the number of years of enjoyment from your flooring.

There are many amazing products on the market today for moisture protection. These include poly sheeting plastic or certain underlayments with moisture blocking benefits.

Underlayments with moisture barriers are usually a must do for floating floor installations. Here are the Benefits:

  • Noise Reduction
  • Moisture Protection
  • Anti-Microbial 
  • R-Value

Noise Reduction – Many kinds of underlayment can act as a barrier against noise. This is a very important think for condos with associations as well as multi level work environments. Also when people are walking around upstairs, you don’t want the noise to echo through the downstairs area.

Moisture Protection – Vapors and moisture can creep up from the subfloor, some underlayments contain a layer of moisture protection. This is invaluable to the health, like and beauty of your floor! Without it installing on concrete is virtually impossible without buckling or swelling during seasonal changes.

Anti-Microbial Properties – Because of technologies constantly changing in the flooring world, underlayments are advancing as well. Many now boast anti-microbial properties that allow a floor to be healthier for you. It will resist mold, mildew and fungus from subflooring!

R-Value – R-Value is the name given to the heat conductivity of a material. The higher the value is, the less it will let heat get through and the same goes for the other end of the spectrum, lower R-Value means more heat will pass through and escape. This can really mean a lot of difference as far as insulating your home goes. Keep it high for maximum efficiency and a lower heating bill!

While not every floor will require a moisture barrier or underlayment. It is always best to check with your installation guidelines as well as your Manufacturer’s Warranty Specifics. This will save you a lot of trouble in the future!

I hope this blog helped shine a light on why you need moisture barriers and underlayment for certain floor installation. Thanks for reading and I’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

Until next time, Happy Home and Flooring!

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