Best Underlayment for Basement Floor Reviewed

Have you ever felt that your basement floor was kind of ‘not right?’ Do you feel an uneven sensation when you’re walking across the room? How about any loud thumping sounds or creaks?

Here’s a test for you, grab a ball and walk over to one corner of the room. Now just roll the ball on the floor and try to get it to the other side. Does the ball maintain a consistent speed, or does it start to roll faster halfway? Or maybe, it decreases momentum somewhere along the line and comes to a halt?

If you see similar results with your basement flooring, you might have a slight problem there. But don’t worry, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. All you have to do is get an underlayment for your basement floor.

Why do you need an underlayment? Well, to start, having a good quality underlayment for your basement floor ensures a consistently flat and even surface. What’s more, it provides a protective layer for extra cushioning, absorbs loud sounds, and safeguards your flooring from wear and tear.

We’ve taken the liberty to compile a list of the best basement floor underlayment available on the market today. Read ahead to find out more.

Basement Floor Underlayment

All the products in our list come from the highly acclaimed Roberts brand. For those of you who don’t know, Roberts is one of the top producers of flooring installation items and adhesives. Their brand of innovation is renowned worldwide and is currently one of the most dominant players in the industry today.

1. First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment

First on our list is the durable and high-quality First Step 630 Square Foot Roll Underlayment. This underlayment works great for engineered wood flooring as well as floating laminate floors. What’s more, it’s absolutely compatible with floors that use radiant heating.

The First Step Underlayment can be used on concrete and wooden subfloors that are both above and below grade. Multi-level environments benefit the most from this kind of underlayment and provide a long-lasting effect. Most importantly, it efficiently levels any minor physical imperfections on your sub-floors.

If your floor is often loud and creaky, this underlayment is the perfect choice for you. The First Step Underlayment ensures absolute and effective sound reduction, resulting in smooth, noiseless basement floors. Additionally, the underlayment safeguards against moisture build-up, ensuring a comfortable and chilled environment.

The First step underlayment went through a compression test using an insane amount of pressure (1,320 lbs). Despite this, the product retained 96 % of its original thickness after seven days of testing. Meanwhile, the remaining brands managed to retain only 57 %. We don’t know about you, but we’re definitely sold on it!

Pros of the First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment

  • Superior quality materials at an affordable price.
  • Provides superior durability to your flooring and makes it last much longer.

Cons of the First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment

  • Although a great choice, it is not compatible with Vinyl planks.

2. Roberts Black Jack Underlayment

Roberts Black Jack is a premium 2-in-1 underlayment specially designed to be used under floated laminate, engineered wood and bamboo floors of about 100 sq. ft. It comes with a thick foam layer measuring around 2.5 mm that guarantees soft and smooth cushioning. On top of that, it is a convenient way to reduce sound absorption on a huge level.

The underlayment is designed with a closed-cell foam that safeguards against moisture build-up. Additionally, the material is highly resistant to vapour. Roberts Black Jack is an ideal choice for radiant heated floors; not to mention, it prevents the formation of moulds and mildew.

The installation is simple and easy because of the 4-inch overlap and high-quality adhesive strip, which can be used to join multiple rolls. Moreover, it is a great way to seal out any moisture buildup.

Pros of Roberts Black Jack Underlayment

  • Roberts Black Jack is one of the easiest to work with for floor underlayment.
  • The adhesive strip is especially beneficial as it can be used for several essential tasks, such as joining multiple rolls.

Cons of Roberts Black Jack Underlayment

  • Roberts Black Jack Underlayment is only available for 100 sq ft, which might not be enough for most people.

3. Roberts 70-010-XL Serenity

The Roberts 70-010, also known as the Roberts Serenity, is great at bringing optimal comfort and full-proof cushioning to your basement floor. This underlayment is designed to be used under engineered wood or floating laminate flooring.

It comes with a thick polyethylene foam that guarantees protection from wear and tear or damage from excessive moisture buildup. The material is robust and durable while being easy to handle; you simply have to roll out the underlayment and install it. The Roberts Serenity underlayment also corrects any imperfections on the subfloor level.

The underlayment is quite compatible to use with radiant heated flooring systems. It can be used separately by itself during above-grade installations, while below-grade installations need a moisture barrier.

Pros of the Roberts Serenity Underlayment

  • Xl size, 400 sq ft, is great for any installation work.
  • Strong and durable material that can last for decades.

Cons of the Roberts Serenity Underlayment

  • Does not include a plastic layer which would have resulted in stronger support.
  • The edges are not necessarily straight; hence, you will have to manually trim them to avoid any overlaps.
  • Adhesive strip is not included.

4. Roberts 70-193A Super Felt

Roberts 70-193A Super Felt Underlayment is made of premium quality materials. The product can be used on laminate flooring as well as engineered wood. The underlayment is extremely thick and provides optimal cushioning over wooden and concrete subfloors. This robust underlayment will safeguard your basement flooring by forming a barrier against excessive moisture vapours.

The product is compatible with radiant heat floors and comes with an adhesive and 3inch overlap film for joining multiple rolls. This underlayment is excellent at maintaining a pleasant room temperature. It regulates a comfortable level of warmth during the winter and helps to cool off the floors during summers.

Roberts 70-193A Super Felt Underlayment specialises in sound reduction, making it a great choice for musicians and people with home studios. The highly thick insulating underlayment was designed to cut even the loudest sound waves.

When it comes to sound suppression, the 70-193A Super Felt underlayment does things a little differently than others. It doesn’t deflect the noise but instead absorbs it, reducing overall sound transmission.

Pros of Roberts Super Felt Underlayment

  • Thick and robust materials that provide greater cushioning.
  • Absorbs noise instead of deflecting it, resulting in more significant noise suppression.
  • Tough plastic backing results in increased protection against wear and tear.

Cons of Roberts Super Felt Underlayment

  • Inexperienced users may find difficulties while cutting the material.

5. Roberts 70-190A Super Felt Insulating Underlayment

Roberts 70-190A Super Felt Underlayment is made of recycled fibre that adds an extra firm quality to it. It was created using a manufacturing process requiring extreme levels of heat. The underlayment is best used with wood and concrete subfloors.

A strong film overlay helps to safeguard laminate and engineered floorings from the risk of excessive moisture buildup. The thick 3mm pad corrects most minor inconsistencies on the sub-floor levelling. Once this underlayment is installed, any buildup of moisture vapours, mould or moss is impossible.

The underlayment specifically focuses on sound reduction and uses the absorption method rather than deflecting it. It also comes with an adhesive strip to fix overlaps and link multiple rolls.

Pros of Roberts 70-190A Super Felt Underlayment

  • Made from recycled fibres that give added protection.
  • Regulates temperature during seasons, maintaining a comfortable environment.

Cons of Roberts 70-190A Super Felt Underlayment

  • Difficult to use on wooden flooring with nails in them.

Why is flooring underlayment important on basements?

Flooring underlayment safeguards the quality and longevity of hardwood, laminate or carpet floors in the long run. It also acts as a barrier against moisture and vapour, which could damage the quality of the floor. Moreover, installing an underlayment is a great way to increase the ventilation of air through the empty spaces.

An underlayment also limits moss growth and prevents excessive moisture from collecting between the concert and the flooring. Finally, it acts as a cushion and successfully absorbs sound waves.

What is the best underlayment for concrete basement floors?

The choice of underlayment entirely depends on the type of flooring you plan to install. For example, cork underpayment is the best option for vinyl, laminate and hardwood foam. Meanwhile, rubber underlayment works better for tile floorings.

Floor Underlayment types

Foam Underlayment

This is the most common underlayment option because of its cost-effective quality. What’s more, it is amazingly versatile when compared to others and is quite simple to install.

Felt Underlayment

Felt underlayment is comparatively denser than foam, which is why it is an excellent absorber of sound. It is eco-friendly, as the underlayment is created using recycled fibres.

Certain felt underlayment products come with an in-built barrier that protects the flooring from vapours. Overall, it is a good option for insulating your home.

Cork Underlayment

Cork underlayments are the best option when it comes to sound absorption. That’s why they are typically used in the installations of condo floors. Additionally, it is environmentally friendly.

However, the material is vulnerable to water damage, which makes it a poor choice for kitchens, bathrooms and other areas where water might be present, such as basements.

Rubber underlayment

This is yet another good choice when it comes to sound absorption. Although it is not as versatile as foam underlayment, its insulating capabilities are far more superior to foam.

It can be installed over concrete subfloors as well as wood subfloors without any problems.

Basement Flooring Underlayment Installation

  • The first step is to ensure that the subfloor is exquisitely clean and dry.
  • Additionally, the subfloor surface of the floor must be consistent and levelled. If not, then it should be manually levelled using self-levelling concrete.
  • Roll the foam underlayment over the subfloor. The vapour barrier film should be facing upwards, and the attached plastic mesh should be facing downwards toward the subfloor.
  • The edges of the underlayment need to be 1/2 to 3/4 inches away from the wall.
  • Ensure that the edges do not overlap with each other.
  • Tape the seams tightly with duct tape.
  • Finally, you can now install the vinyl, laminate or engineered hardwood.

Basement Floor Underlayment FAQs

What is floor underlayment?

It is a layer of material that is installed between your concrete basement floor and the floor covering.

Can floor underlayment be removed?

The floor underlayment can definitely be removed. However, if the underlayment has been glued down, the process will be complicated.

Does the previous floor underlayment need to be removed before installing new flooring in a basement?

Absolutely yes. This is a must in the case of basements so as to keep the vapour barrier intact without creating spots where the humidity could push through.

What is the best type of flooring for a basement?

The best kind of flooring for the basement would be one which has a good balance between the visual appearance and the cost. This is typically vinyl or laminate flooring.

In conclusion

Choosing the perfect underpayment for your basement flooring can be a tedious and confusing task. You have so many options to pick from, each of them providing unique benefits.

In our opinion, the First Step 630 Square Foot Roll underlayment wins the title of best underlayment for 2022.

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