Luxury vinyl plank flooring from All-Pro Floors in Arlington, TX

Your underlayment and you: No, it’s not boxers or briefs

So, when you put in a vinyl plank floor, do you always need an underlayment?

That is a question that we get a lot…and the short answer is: “Nes.”  Um, “nes,” what does that mean? Well, it is a little bit yes and a little bit no. Or, perhaps we could say that it is a “yes but not necessarily.” How’s that for an answer? Perfect for a politician, right?

Here’s the thing, whether or not you need an underlayment depends on three things: first, the type of luxury vinyl flooring that you are having installed; second, the type and condition of the subfloor under where the floor is to be installed; and third, your preference when it comes to sound.

Floor types

If you spend much time in our showroom here in Arlington, TX, you will realize that there are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a luxury vinyl floor. For instance, some of the floorings come with a backing already, essentially having a built-in underlayment. Many of the thicker, higher end vinyl flooring is designed specifically to go over an underlayment, yet many of the thinner products are designed to be installed directly on top of the subfloor. Your sales representative will be able to walk you through the underlayment options on a product by product basis.

Subfloor types

Vinyl plank flooring, like any other kind of vinyl, needs a firm and flat surface to sit upon. If, for example, you are installing the floor over an existing vinyl floor, perhaps in the kitchen, typically these floors can be installed right on top of the previous floor. If you are installing directly over a concrete subfloor, again, no underlayment is necessary unless you wish to add some insulation underfoot. If your floor is being installed over a wood subfloor, you might choose an underlayment or you might simply choose to build up the subfloor with a layer of luan to add stability.


Boy, we are all over the map on this one, but this may be the most important part of your decision. For instance, underlayment adds insulation for both temperature and sound. So, the question is not just about what it feels like underfoot but what it sounds like as well. Without underlayment, sometimes luxury vinyl plank flooring can sound kind of hollow when it is walked upon. Underlayment is designed to eliminate that.

In the end, a lot depends on you. We, in Texas, like shooting straight, but there is no easy answer to this question other than “nes” or just maybe. If you are from Arlington, Mansfield, or the Dallas-Fort Worth area, why don’t you stop by our showroom here at All-Pro Floors, your vinyl plank flooring retailer in Arlington, TX. One of our knowledgeable sales staff can walk you through your options and show you which floors are and which floors are not suitable to be installed over an underlayment.