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Underlay – What is the point?

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

Guest blog – Rhiannon Evans

Well when I started writing this blog that’s exactly what I said to myself. It’s one of those things you are told you need, but it adds cost and no one sees it. So do you really need it?

Having done my research the answer is yes, you do. That messy looking piece of sponge or felt can play an important role in your comfort in more ways than one. In fact I’ll set out 5 key benefits of underlay which will help you to make a more informed decision when you are asked that question, “what underlay do you want?”

1) Underlay removes the lumps in your floor. Many floors whether wood or concrete have blemishes in them. These can be from the floor material itself or from fixing agents like glue or nails that stick up above the floor board. This means if you run your hand along the floor you’ll feel it isn’t smooth. You will know the feeling when you sit on the grass at a picnic or when you’re trying to sleep in a tent, you always seem to have picked the spot with uneven ground and are lying in lots of stones. Underlay provides a protective layer so that your floor feels smooth even if the truth is far from fact. Underlay reduces the impact of the lumps that lie beneath.

2) Underlay increases the softness of the carpet. If you’ve started your carpet search you’ll know that some carpets feel softer than others. However the softness of the carpet is significantly impacted by the bounce it has. Imagine a furry blanket or throw on your sofa it feels lovely to the touch. When you put this on the hard floor it doesn’t feel as nice. It is the same throw but you need the underlay underneath it to really appreciate its softness. Underlay creates the bounce in your carpet.

3) It insulates your home. Just like all of your soft furnishings your carpet can help maintain the heat in your home. Just like a duvet, underlay has its own t.o.g value. If you are worried about the cost of heating your home then getting a higher t.o.g value can be a good investment.

4) Underlay reduces noise. In the same way that buildings with no soft furnishings like old churches have great acoustics, carpet and underlay can have the opposite effect, dampening the sound. Whilst the number of houses that have budding drummers living in them is few, you should not underestimate the impact of normal household noise. If you take up the carpets in your child’s bedroom you’ll soon be able to hear them running around upstairs when you’re relaxing on the sofa. Whilst some rooms won’t have much footfall it’s worth investing in good underlay where you might want to reduce the noise such as children’s bedrooms.

5) Underlay increases the lifespan of your carpet. Your carpet has to put up with some tough wear and tear in its lifetime. All the movement from feet, to paws, pulling furniture across it or dragging children or adults to bed can impact on the carpet. Underlay will absorb some of the wear and help with grip keeping your carpet looking better for longer.

So why would you have underlay the answer is five reasons. Investing in a good underlay makes common sense as it can outlast the carpet itself. They always say a good house is built on solid foundations and fitting a new carpet on a good underlay is no different. It seems to me like an investment that makes complete financial sense particularly bearing in mind it might actually reduce your fuel bill.

So which to go for. Well there are lots of different types on the market and they range in price from £5 to £15 some are made of natural fibres and some are recyclable, if you go down the environmental route. In general it’s always good to go for a high quality underlay unless you have no requirement for it to last or are not too bothered about a luxury feel under foot. Perhaps you’re doing up a house for sale or it is a rental property that is to be renovated yearly.

I completely empathise with the complex decision carpet buying brings so my top tip is to try before you buy. When you are in the carpet shop, ask them for a sample of underlay and then lay you’re chosen carpet on top. It’s only then that you’ll really feel what you are buying and the decision will be much easier.

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