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Which underlayment should I choose for my floor?

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WHICH UNDERLAY SHOULD I CHOOSE FOR MY FLOOR?



Often forgotten, the underlay is an important element before the installation of a parquet floor. In the context of a floating, glued or laminated parquet installation, it is strongly recommended or even essential. Indeed, it offers many advantages and contributes to the durability of your floor covering.

On the other hand, in certain cases, it is not recommended and can cause problems.


What is a parquet underlay? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Which one should I use for the flooring I have chosen? All the answers to your questions are in this article.



1. WHAT IS PARQUET UNDERLAY?


Parquet underlay is a protection that is placed between the floor and the new flooring you want to install. Its objective is to improve the thermal insulation, sound insulation and acoustic insulation of your floor. It can also come to make up for flatness defects as long as they are not greater than 5 mm.



2. EXISTING UNDERLAYERS: ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES


    - Vapor barrier


The vapor barrier is a very thin polyethylene film. It makes the floor watertight and protects your parquet against rising damp. If the underlay model you have chosen does not have an integrated vapour barrier and you notice a high level of humidity in your room, we advise you to install a vapour barrier first, then your underlay and finally your parquet floor.



    - Extruded polystyrene underlay


The extruded polystyrene underlay has high moisture and impact resistance. Its thermal insulation is interesting and its sound insulation can reduce noise up to 23 dB. It can make up for flatness defects at floor level up to 5mm depending on the thickness chosen. However, it remains very vulnerable to fire.



    - The wood fiber underlay


100% natural and recyclable, the wood fiber underlay is an ecological solution. It is a very good thermal, sound (noise reduction up to 20 dB) and acoustic insulator.

It resists rather well to humidity and, contrary to what one might think, it is not very flammable.  On the other hand, it settles over time and loses its acoustic efficiency.




    - The cork underlay


Generally compatible with the installation of a floating parquet or glued parquet, the cork underlay is the most ecological solution of all. It is very efficient in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation, but for this, it needs to be glued to the floor.


As an underlay, it is rarely waterproofed with kerosene, which makes it a material with little resistance to humidity. Like wood fiber underlay, cork underlay settles over the years and loses its acoustic efficiency. In addition, it does not make up for unevenness in the floor.



    - Polyethylene underlay


Highly resistant to temperature variations, the polyethylene foam underlay has strong thermal insulation. Its acoustic insulation is correct. It is also the most economical solution.


However, it is very thin and does not make up for unevenness in the floor. Its thinness does not allow it to provide good sound insulation.


The most important thing to remember :

Résistance aux chocs

Isolation thermique

Isolation phonique*

Isolation acoustique*

Résistance à l’humidité

Résistance au feu

Compatible sol chauffant

Sous couche en polystyrène extrudé

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Oui

Sous-couche en fibre de bois

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Sous-couche en liège

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Sous-couche en polyéthylène

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* Noise insulation: avoid the propagation of noise

*Sound insulation: attenuates noise



WHICH UNDERLAY FOR WHICH PARQUET?



Sous couche en polystyrène extrudé

Sous-couche en fibre de bois

Sous-couche en liège

Sous-couche en polyéthylène

Pare-vapeur

Parquet massif en pose flottante

Parquet stratifiée en pose flottante

Parquet massif en pose collée

Parquet stratifié en pose collée

Parquet en pose clouée sur lambourdes



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