Do I need a moisture barrier under hardwood floors?

Asked By: Bailo Huguenin | Last Updated: 20th January, 2020
Category: home and garden indoor environmental quality
3.9/5 (593 Views . 21 Votes)
Sometimes, a moisture barrier is not recommended. If you're installing your hardwood floors over a wood subfloor, you should avoid using a moisture barrier. Over time, moisture can get trapped between the moisture barrier protecting your hardwood flooring and the wood subfloor.

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Subsequently, one may also ask, do I need an underlayment for hardwood floors?

The short answer: usually. If you already have a plywood subfloor, and the subfloor is smooth and level, then you may not need an underlayment beneath the hardwood floor. Plywood has some moisture resistance already compared to solid wood, and it mostly gives a smooth surface.

Also Know, do you need moisture barrier on second floor? A: Well, the product is engineered which means it is suppose to be, because of it's construction very stable. You should not need a vapour barrier on the second floor. Solid wood floors are more of an issue in significant humidity swings than engineered. And some species are more affected than others.

One may also ask, do you have to put a moisture barrier under laminate flooring?

Sometimes the underlayment is already attached for you, but you may hear the term moisture or vapor barrier when installing laminate flooring. You will need a moisture barrier underlayment when installing: On a cement subfloor. On any subfloor that has a chance of moisture coming up and soaking into the flooring.

What is the recommended underlayment for hardwood flooring?

When installing hardwood or engineered wood flooring, the best underlay options are cork and foam. However, foam does have more give than cork so, while it is the more popular option, we recommend cork.

36 Related Question Answers Found

Can roofing felt be used under hardwood flooring?

Staple or Nail Down Installation
With a staple down or nail down installation over a wood subfloor using solid flooring or engineered flooring, it is recommended that an underlayment of 15lb. black felt paper for flooring installations over wood subfloors looks a lot like roofing paper, but it is very different.

How do you install hardwood flooring over concrete?

Lay 6-mil polyethylene sheeting over the concrete to minimize moisture migration from the concrete up into the wood flooring. Then fasten 3/4-in. treated plywood to the concrete with concrete screws spaced every 16 in. Alternatively, screw rows of treated 1x4s to the concrete 16 in.

What do you put under hardwood floors?

Several intermediate layers that are sometimes directly installed between subflooring and solid hardwood flooring include:
  1. Red Rosin Paper or Builder's Felt.
  2. Solid Underlayment.
  3. Rubberized Membrane.
  4. Thick Underlayment With Intervening Plywood.
  5. Choosing Denser Hardwoods.
  6. Using Area Rugs and Runners.

Do I need a vapor barrier between concrete and wood flooring?

A moisture barrier is need to protect the flooring against moisture or moisture vapor. Along with the moisture barrier, you may want to install an underlayment. Glue Down Installations – When gluing down wood to concrete, a moisture barrier is almost always needed, especially below-grade.

Should you glue and nail hardwood floor?


Engineered hardwood floors can be glued or nailed into position, but they also have the option of being floated over an underlay. If you have a concrete subfloor, then you should glue your hardwood down, if you have a wooden subfloor then you can choose either method of installation.

Is it better to glue or float hardwood floors?

Benefits: Floating wood floors are easier to install than glue down floors and can be put into place faster. If you're trying to install a floor over a surface that traditional glue-down flooring can't attach to, you are better off going with a floating floor if you don't want to change your subfloor.

What direction should hardwood floors run?

The most common way to lay/install hardwood flooring is by aligning the planks parallel to the longest wall or run in the installation. Apart from a few exceptions like sagging joists, this is the preferred direction to lay wood floors because it provides the best result aesthetically.

How many years does laminate flooring last?

Expected Lifespan
The average lifespan for laminate flooring is between 15 and 25 years, but it can vary from as short as 10 years to as long as 30 years. The difference in life expectancy depends on the quality of the flooring, whether it was properly installed and the amount of traffic it receives.

Does vinyl plank flooring need moisture barrier?

Existing Flooring
Meaning, if you're going to install vinyl plank flooring over tile, vinyl flooring, and even hardwood. As with the plywood floor, there's no need to worry about a moisture barrier; the underlayment should provide cushioning and sound-deadening benefits.

What is the best moisture barrier for laminate flooring?


Best underlay for laminate flooring is foam because it is simple to install, it is a good sound barrier, and is very cost effective. Some best foams have attached additional layer which functions as the best moisture barrier. Best foam which can be attached to laminate also insures that floor is not so cold.

What happens if you don't use underlayment under laminate flooring?

Pay close attention to the back of your laminate flooring. If you have purchased a laminate flooring that has underlayment already attached, then you should not use extra underlayment. Having too much cushion can destroy the integrity of the locking system and cause the floor to become unstable.

Should I put plastic under concrete?

Vapor retarders have been used since the 1950s. Recently, though, research has shown that the old traditional layer of 6-mil Visqueen (polyethylene plastic) under the slab is seldom effective for two main reasons: Although it may seem water-tight, this grade of material allows a lot of water vapor to pass through.

What are the requirements for underlayment?

for asphalt shingles, NRCA recommends a single layer of no. 15 asphalt-saturated underlayment be used with roofs having slopes of 4:12 (18 degrees) or greater. for roof slopes between 3:12 (14 degrees) to 4:12 (18 degrees), NRCA recommends a minimum of two layers of no. 15 underlayment.

Can you put a laminate floor over concrete?

Many types of flooring can be installed over a concrete sub floor. Laminate flooring is a good alternative to wood flooring in basements. Laminate flooring is also fairly easy to install. Homeowners can install laminate flooring on top of their concrete slab once they know where to begin.

Can you install vinyl plank flooring on uneven floor?


Installing vinyl plank flooring ca be done over most surfaces as long as those surfaces are smooth. Rough and uneven spots will telegraph through the new flooring, causing noticeable high spots that will wear faster than the rest of the floor.

How do you install a moisture barrier on concrete?

  1. Roll the moisture barrier onto the floor lengthwise.
  2. Overlap the next row by 3 to 8 inches, depending on the manufacturer's instructions.
  3. Seal the seams with a moisture-resistant tape all the way down the length of the row.
  4. Repeat these steps until the whole floor is covered.

Is a moisture barrier necessary for laminate flooring?

When a laminate floor is installed over a concrete subfloor a moisture barrier must be used. Most every laminate manufacturer will require a vapor barrier under laminate flooring.