If you've decided that you want to dress up your home with hardwood flooring, you probably know that you must have underlayment to protect the flooring.
Often a structural subfloor can be uneven or coarse, and laying hardwood directly down on uneven or coarse subflooring is a recipe for disaster. Underlayment will protect the hardwood floor from coarse or even damp subflooring. Underlayment will improve the overall durability of your hardwood floors and protect the investment you've made.
But underlayment provides additional benefits that can be overlooked if you've never before lived in a home with hardwood flooring. Underlayment will help to soften noise, and underlayment can also regulate the temperature of the flooring.
Whether you're in a home with children upstairs or a condominium or apartment building with neighbors below you, underlayment will dramatically reduce noise that can otherwise travel through the hardwood flooring.
So whether you have a teenager on a drum set or just people walking down the hall, underlayment is a definite must with hardwood floors if you're going to reduce those thumping noises.
But beyond noise reduction, underlayment also provides additional comfort.
Intuitively, we know hardwood floors can get cold and unpleasant to walk on with bare feet. But underlayment can also help to keep the hardwood floor warm and comfortable, even on cold days. If there is dampness in the subflooring, the underlayment will keep the damp from seeping up to the hardwood and making it colder and more uncomfortable.
There is no question that hardwood floors can be easy to maintain and can improve the aesthetics of a home. Anyone planning to install hardwood floors should understand that it's potentially an expensive mistake to not use an underlayment if the subfloor is coarse. But beyond that, the practical day-to-day quality of life of living in a home with hardwood floors will be dramatically improved if a good underlayment is put down before the hardwood floors are installed.