Laminate Floor Thickness vs. Underlayment Quality

6 Replies

I have a rehab that is two weeks from flooring and I'm stuck on the issue of laminate thickness versus underlayment quality. Specifically, can you achieve acceptable feel & noise characteristics with a thin (ex., 7-8 mm) laminate; if so, what quality underlayment is required? As a followup, does thicker laminate allow for a lesser quality underlayment yet provide a similar finished product? My thinking is you get no buyer credit for the pad - only the laminate. So if you can achieve the same product at the same cost using a 12mm and cheap pad, this is better than a 7mm and expensive pad. Right?

140K ARV house - mainly first time homebuyers in my area.
Laminate appropriate for neighborhood

My assumptions:
1. Thicker laminate is better, all else being equal (how do you verify all else is equal is probably another thread)
2. Underlayment cost is indicative of quality (noise reduction and underfoot feel).

I would like to go with TrafficMaster Lakeshore Pecan 7mm in this house. Underlayment costs vary widely (4-5x); I don't want a floor that is noisy or feels cheap, but I also don't want to spend $60/100sqft on an underlayment if I can go cheaper and compensate with a thicker laminate.

All experience welcome. Thanks!

A lot of factors would play a role in the flooring thickness I choose. Thickness of material may require cutting of jambs and replacing thresholds. What type of floor are you going over? In some cases I don't put any pad if going over vinyl which acts as both the pad and vapor barrier. And lastly whether I was doing the install myself or not for ease of installation.

All things aside I would suggest you taking a look at vinyl click wood panel. Goes in super easy it's completely water proof. 4mm thick. So don't have to cut jambs or run into any other issues

And the feel underfoot is pretty nice.

@Gabriel Mabry thanks for chiming in.

Jambs, baseboards, etc are no issue. All gutted and will be replaced.

Flooring going on 60 year old concrete slab.

I used glue-down vinyl on a previous house (rental). Less than impressed with its scratch resistance and toughness (some furniture created dimples in planks). So was looking for something a little tougher this go-round even though I plan to sell the house.

Although I've only used the vinyl planks on 2 occasions. I would definitely do it again in the future. Also called luxury vinyl priced around 2$ a square foot. I've never had the pleasure of laying floating floors other than the entry level 7mm. They are fairly resilient. Only issue is that since they are so tho you need to fill any dips in the substrate with floor patch so the floor doesn't buckle. Hope that helps

oh and i meant to add for your consideration - self leveling concrete as a skim coat -- and etching. Can resemble stone etc... I love these floors. Very attractive and durable-- pretty cost effective as well!

good luck hope I've given you some options at least. I think you're over analyzing just a tad. I put down .29 cent el-cheapo laminated flooring in my house with el cheapo pad and people gush over it when they come over.  Find something that works for your price point and that covers all the major concerns and knock it out of the park.

I am considering 7mm Laminate flooring for my 1500 sf house (Lakeshore Pecan).  The price is right but I would like some advice on 2 issues:
A)  I am pulling up flooring that is about 3/4" thick, so to avoid having to redo all jambs/baseboards I am considering laying 1/4" or 1/2" plywood underneath (I'm leaving the existing vapor barrier in place).  This would correct the thickness issue and it seems it would give a bit more stability & evenness to the flooring.  Are there any issues I'm not thinking about with this approach?
B)  Should I be concerned over the long run that this flooring is on 7mm thick?  I plan to be in this house many years.  Most Laminate flooring I see is 10mm or 12mm thick?

Thank you, I look forward to hearing your comments.