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Advice Centre – Choosing Your Underlay

Hidden under your carpet, not seem and largely forgotten about it can be easy to ignore the benefits of a new underlay. Changing the underlay at the same time as you change the carpet can greatly improve the performance of your carpet over its lifetime.

Going for a good new underlay is a good long term investment. It will extend the life expectancy of your carpet or laminate, give greater comfort underfoot and reduce your heating bills. Over time it is likely to pay for itself many times over.

Benefits of a good underlay
  • Make you carpet feel softer underfoot
  • Reduce any flattening of your carpet
  • Reduce wear on your carpet
  • Increase thermal insulation
  • Reduce noise
  • Help smooth out an uneven floor

Often made from recycled foam cuttings in recent years this type of underlay has become the market leader in the UK. In general thickness varies from 7mm to 11mm.  In general the thicker the underlay the more comfort it will provide. It is always advisable though to check that the combined thickness of an underlay and a carpet will clear the bottom of your door.

Sponge Rubber

This was the traditional type of underlay that was the market leader until a few years ago. 

  • Often with a waffle pattern it weighs considerably more that the foam equivalent. 
  • The better quality end of the market is still popular and provides great performance.

Crumb Rubber

Ideal for very heavy traffic areas it is a solid dense underlay. 

  • While very good for wear it will provide little comfort underfoot.


Probably the most environmentally friendly underlay on the market it is made from wool, jute and synthetic fibres that have been recycled.  

  • This type of underlay is very good for increased thermal insulation.


With a crumb rubber base and a felt top this is a high performance underlay with good durability and greater comfort that crumb rubber by itself.


Double Stick

For some carpet types or contract installations it may be necessary to use a double stick underlay. 

  • Here the underlay is stuck to the floor and then the carpet is stuck to the underlay. 
  • In general these are either made from dense foam or crumb rubber. 

Under Floor Heating

Where there is underfloor heating you want an underlay that will let as much heat through a possible. 

  • Underlays that are specifically made for underfloor heating will in general have a tog rating of no more than 1.0. ( The tog rating is a measure of how much heat is let through. 
  • The lower the rating the better. 
  • Ideally the combined tog rating of the underlay and carpet should be no more than 2.5).

Laminate Underlay

Laminate are a floating floor and as such move when you walk on them. 

  • Putting an underlay underneath helps reduce the noise from the floor as well as even out any imperfections in the sub – floor.