Why is underlay important? 4 reasons not to skip this step
The 4 major regrets of those that skipped the underlay.
If you are planning on laying new mats or floors, you have probably heard about underlay. If you’ve heard about underlay, you’ve probably heard yourself asking: why is underlay important?
It seems like something that could be optional – and with flooring being installed last, it often is an afterthought. But we absolutely do not recommend skipping underlay when you are laying your new matting. Here’s why:
The benefits of using underlay
There are a few reasons underlay is important, and most have to do with the quality of your final product. You wouldn’t build a house on poor-quality ground, so don’t make the mistake of thinking your mat can be hastily installed in a low-quality recess.
When we mention quality, we are talking about the following:
Cleaner floors and buildings
One of the biggest regrets we hear from customers that skipped the step of laying good quality underlay is that dirt, moisture, and even small critters managed to find their way inside their home or workplace.
Even the best quality mats are not designed to be watertight, and your mat recess probably isn’t either. So, to keep anything unwanted outside the building, you need to use an underlay.
Moisture that seeps up through your mat can cause mould to grow. As well as being a pain to clean, mould is terrible for your health.
Better heat and sound insulation
You (or your builders) spent a lot of money on insulating your building perfectly. So, don’t fall at the final hurdle. You lose a significant amount of warmth through your floors and doorways, and the right underlay can make this minimal.
Even if you don’t feel the cold, we doubt you enjoy wasting money on energy bills!
As well as heat, noise pollution is much more noticeable from buildings without underlay. This is particularly important if you share a floor with someone else’s ceiling. Your downstairs neighbours will appreciate a good quality underlay muffling your sounds.
Improved structural integrity
A perfectly level mat recess is critical for a perfectly laid mat. While you would ideally use self-levelling concrete underneath your underlay, it is sometimes possible to build up your mat recess using underlay.
Underlay is more forgiving than concrete, so the underlay goes some way to hide inconsistencies in the mat recess. This is particularly useful when laying aluminium matting, although we don’t often recommend aluminium entrance mats.
Good quality underlay also makes your mat last longer. By absorbing the impact between the rough concrete and your new matting, an underlay can ensure you get the longest lifespan your mat can offer. Plus, incorrectly laying your mat can void its warranty.
Increased comfort and safety
Carpet and matting with underlay are more comfortable to walk on than carpet or matting without underlay. Even plush entrance matting doesn’t feel soft underfoot when laid directly onto concrete.
Laying your rubber or carpet mat onto underlay provides comfort to the joints, muscles and bones. While standing in one place can be made more comfortable with anti fatigue matting, an underlay is enough to protect pedestrians in the few seconds it takes them to pass over it.
Underlay also holds matting in place, which reduces the chance of a slip accident. One of the most common causes of slips, trips and falls is unstable flooring, and a mat that moves even a little can cause accidents with big consequences.
The importance of underlay
Underlay is used in mat recesses to protect a mat and the floor around it. It can be made from a few different materials, but the most common one for matting is rubber. Like anti fatigue matting, rubber sheets absorb the impact of feet against the concrete underneath, protecting them from pain and injury.
This is different from the type of underlay you would use with carpet, which might be made from felt or polyurethane foam as well as rubber.
For more information on mats and underlays, feel free to reach out to the team. As always, the matxperts are happy to answer all your mat-related queries. Or, if you want to learn more about keeping loose-laid mats in place, check out this article on preventing floor mats from moving around.