Choosing the Right Moldings, Underlayment and Glue For Your Flooring Project
Determining the right amount of flooring you’ll need for your project is always a challenge, although online flooring calculators do make the process a little bit easier. Yet, even if you’ve mastered and conquered the art of flooring calculations, you’re not completely ready to embark on your project. Next up is determining your amount (and type) of moldings, underlayment, and glue. As with flooring, there are online calculators to help you along the way. However, before you start calculating, you need to know what to look for in each of these areas.
Here’s a helpful breakdown:
Moldings and transition pieces seem to get overlooked far too often. While we all look at, and appreciate, our flooring, it’s our moldings that make it all possible and sensible. And while molding is always a good choice for your flooring, when it comes to floating systems (like in laminate flooring or click-lock installs), your molding is absolutely required.
If you’re in the market for the absolute basics of molding, then you’ll need your standard quarter round and basic transition pieces (including T-molding, stair noses, and surface reducers). But there are other styles available, including more decorative pieces, which can add to your floor’s beauty.
Knowing what type of molding you require will help you to better benefit from online calculators.
Why do you need underlayment? The question really should be - why wouldn’t you need it? Think of underlayment like the meat of the sandwich (bottom layer is your subfloor, top layer is your finish floor). Underlayment helps to smooth out your subfloor, fill out any cracks, dips, rises and other imperfections, will provide sound insulation, will help your floor feel softer, will protect your floor from moisture, and will protect your floor over time as it settles.
Yup, underlayment does all of that, which is why choosing the right kind is essential. Depending on the flooring you need, you’ll likely require a specific kind of underlayment. So, what types of underlayment should you choose?
There are many types of underlayment. Cork has grown in popularity because of its softness and sound control, and is pretty versatile in the types of flooring it can be installed under. Cork is naturally resistant to mold, mildew and insects, making it quite the handy tool for an underlayment. However, cork and foam underlayment provide a minimum buffer between finish floor and subfloor.
Plywood is puncture resistant and is often used for all dry applications (hardwood, laminate, and engineered wood). It can be a hassle to use plywood, what with cutting the sheets to size and hauling the materials home, thus people are often inclined to go with foam or cork. But plywood underlayment provides a far superior finished product and service for your flooring.
What to Know About Underlayment
Whichever type of underlayment you choose, your goal is to make this layer as thin as possible. Thicker underlayment will likely cause problems down the road. Click Here to use our online calculator to determine the right amount of underlayment you’ll need for your flooring. First select the type of flooring and on the next page you will see the underlayment calculator.
If you use the wrong type of glue for your flooring installation, you’re bound to encounter problems down the line. Often times, do-it-yourself installers will turn to the inexpensive adhesives, assuming that these adhesives are as a good, and versatile, as any of the more expensive versions.
But that’s not always the case. Here’s a breakdown of the type of glues and adhesives available for your flooring installation.
Polyurethanes offers a phenomenal mechanical bond with concrete, allowing your solid wood floor to affix to the subfloor without being compromised by water when cured. One side effect of polyurethanes that many people notice is that these adhesives create a strong bond with the finish on the top of wood flooring, making cleaning up spills difficult unless you get at the spot before it dries.
Acrylics have a rebounding capacity, meaning that you can weight a section of flooring and have it bond after the rest of the floor was installed. This type of adhesive, when used properly, has proven to be most effective for engineered flooring, but does not perform as well as polyurethanes in wet environments.
A Note About Floating Floor Installation Systems
So, you’ve gone with a floating floor installation and have concluded that this means you don’t need to worry yourself about glue. True, this type of installation is dubbed as “glueless,” however, glue acts as a barrier that prevents moisture from seeping into the areas where two laminate flooring planks come together. This is particularly important for high-moisture areas, such as mudrooms and bathrooms. In these cases, you’ll want to have complete control over the amount of glue you dispense, so go with a bottle that regulates the amount of glue that comes out.
There’s a lot that goes into your flooring - far more than just the flooring. Equipping yourself with the right tools (and the right amounts of each tool) will not only save you time and headaches, but it will also save you money.
Once you determine which moldings, underlayment and glue you need,
Need to figure out how much flooring you need? Click here to view an article on Calculating the flooring you need.