8 Best Underlayments For Vinyl Plank Flooring: A Buyer’s Guide In 2022

Kenneth Wilson

In installing new luxury vinyl plank floors, you will need to select the proper underlayment. This can be a rather challenging decision given several factors to consider, and there are quite a lot of vinyl floor underlayment products you need to go through.

A word of caution: Not every underlayment product is ideal or intended for luxury vinyl floors.

It is a great choice to consider in upgrading your whole room's look– with plenty of designs and colors to choose from. It also has easy installation and maintenance. Not to mention, it has a comfortable underfoot feel.

That said, let's explore different available underlayment options for vinyl plank flooring, including their set of pros and cons.

1,052 Ratings

This underlayment product by Roberts proves to be a practical, cost-effective choice for both floating vinyl and laminate floors.

16 Ratings

This premium vinyl floor underlayment is the thinnest– but it boasts high STC and IIC ratings.


29 Ratings

This vinyl flooring underlayment product from M.P. Global Products serves as an all-in-one solution.

This underlayment option gives you twice the moisture protection, given its double-layer vapor barrier.

16 Ratings

This underlayment product by STEICO is a German-made natural wood fiber product. Its wood fibers are held together using wood resin, a natural adhesive. 

360 Ratings

This 2-in-1 underlayment has a thick foam layer measuring 2.5 mm. It offers excellent cushioning as well as sound absorption properties.

101 Ratings

This underlayment from Bestlaminate provides moisture barrier and noise reduction properties. It’s an excellent choice for floating vinyl floors.

414 Ratings

Keep in mind that not every vinyl plank flooring requires a thick underlayment. However, homeowners looking for a product with more depth can consider Amerique's 3-millimeter underlayment.

In This Review & Buyers Guide

Underlayment Ratings Explained

As we discuss product reviews, it’s best to understand the rating systems for underlayment products.

Knowing this crucial piece of information helps you better understand the correct underlayment product you need for your vinyl plank floors.

Sound Transmission Loss Test (S.T.C.)

S.T.C. refers to the Sound Transmission Loss Test. The higher your rating is, the better it is at dampening (muffling) any foreign sound or noise.

Impact Sound Transmission Test (IIC)

I.I.C. means Impact Sound Transmission Test. Similar to the S.T.C., the higher the I.I.C. rating you have, the better it prevents sound transmission.

The main difference is that I.I.C. measures any noise made from a loud impact, such as walking noises or an object falling to the floor.

R-Value

The R-value refers to the thermal rating, measuring the product's heat transmission ability. The higher the rating, the lesser heat can be transmitted. R Values range between .2 and .4.

8 Best Underlayment for Vinyl Flooring

If you're still considering your options, let's narrow down your list to the three best underlayment choices for vinyl floors.


This underlayment product by Roberts proves to be a practical, cost-effective choice for both floating vinyl and laminate floors.

It has a polystyrene foam bead layer between the top and bottom layers, improving its airflow and cushioning. This underlayment product also reduces any hollow noise in standard vinyl plank floors.

The upside: this underlayment product has a good S.T.C. and I.I.C. rating. It also has antimicrobial protection (Gold Guard) and is compatible with radiant heat flooring systems.

Advantages


  • Effective in reducing sound transmission
  • Formulated with Gold Guard for antimicrobial protection
  • Cushioned with Styrofoam beads to ensure steady air circulation

Disadvantages


  • When cutting into the right size, the Styrofoam beads may get all over the place
  • The product is pretty thin. During installation, you will need to handle it with caution to avoid accidental tears.

This vinyl flooring underlayment product from M.P. Global Products serves as an all-in-one solution. It is made from durable, recycled felt and is certified V.O.C. (Volatile Organic Compounds) free to ensure your safety.

It provides ample cushioning, a moisture barrier, and sound dampening features. You can count on the durability of this underlayment product, which you can easily cut with a utility knife. It is designed for floating engineered vinyl planks, floating luxury vinyl plank, and glue-down luxury vinyl tile or plank flooring.

It may be easily installed over wood and concrete subfloors.

Advantages


  • This is a sustainable flooring option made from recycled fibers
  • It is effective in silencing the noises in used with floating floors
  • It can be used with radiant under-floor heating systems

Disadvantages


  • It works best if the vinyl plank floors have a thickness of at least 5 mm
  • When used with nailed down floors, it may pop or squeak

This underlayment product by STEICO is a German-made natural wood fiber product. Its wood fibers are held together using wood resin, a natural adhesive. 

Note that the wood fibers of this underlayment product are made from pine and spruce. It also comes in flat sheets rather than standard rolls.

Ideally, this product must be stored horizontally, installed at a 45-degree angle so the underlayment seams won't line up with the flooring.

Advantages


  • Effective at muffling noise
  • Has the best soundproof rating among underlayment products
  • Made from natural materials
  • The open vapor technology prevents possible mold growth

Disadvantages


  • Available in panels rather than rolls
  • Positioning each panel may take a little longer
  • Cutting the material into panels may generate some dust

This underlayment from Bestlaminate provides moisture barrier and noise reduction properties. It’s an excellent choice for floating vinyl floors.

The product has a 1.5 mm thickness, absorbing sound efficiently. You don’t have to worry about any creaking noise after walking over it.

However, it’s not thick enough to deal with your subfloor imperfections. Some creases may even become visible once you unroll this product on your flooring surface.

Advantages


  • Excellent sound absorption
  • Meets all VOC requirements
  • Every roll is enough to cover 100 square feet

Disadvantages


  • It may not be thick enough to deal with all your floor's imperfection
  • It has a plasticky odor when you first unroll it

This premium vinyl floor underlayment is the thinnest– but it boasts high STC and IIC ratings. It also comes with a self-sealing overlap and tape system and has a moisture barrier.

Advantages


  • It can be used with radiant heat flooring systems
  • It is designed to resist compression
  • The product is recyclable
  • It is suitable for both concrete and wood subflooring

This underlayment option gives you twice the moisture protection, given its double-layer vapor barrier. The material also reduces footstep noise and muffles the hollow sound in floating floors.

Note that this underlayment product only measures a millimeter thick. While it helps even minor subfloor imperfections, it doesn't effectively conceal anything serious. You will need to handle this material with care to avoid accidental tearing.

Advantages


  • It has a double barrier to keep out moisture
  • It is printed with grid lines to make it easier to install
  • It's relatively quick and easy to join together. A seaming tape is also included in the pack.

Disadvantages


  • The material is fragile, so you need to follow precautions to avoid accidental tearing
  • It does not work well with glue-down floors

This 2-in-1 underlayment has a thick foam layer measuring 2.5 mm. It offers excellent cushioning as well as sound absorption properties.

You can use this underlayment material under any wood flooring type. It is also designed with closed-cell foam, giving you excellent moisture vapor resistance. Another advantage to consider is its easy installation, as the product has an adhesive strip.


Keep in mind that not every vinyl plank flooring requires a thick underlayment. However, homeowners looking for a product with more depth can consider Amerique's 3-millimeter underlayment.

This option is best used with floating floors and wood/bamboo/laminate flooring. Additionally, the design has three ways to effectively reduce noise, prevent mold growth, and protect the floors from moisture damage.

Advantages


  • Effective in muffling any noise (vinyl plank floors)
  • Prevents any possible mold growth
  • Protects the floors from moisture-related damage
  • Easy to handle and lay
  • It doesn’t have any harmful substances, protecting you from possible allergic reactions

Disadvantages


  • It has a thin foil coating. Practice precaution when installing it to avoid accidental tears
  • The self-adhesive strip may not be enough to cover the roll’s full length
Kenneth Wilson
January 10, 2022
Flooring, Reviews

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.

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