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felt underlayment for solid hardwood floors in Ontario Canada?

pv13 | Posted in General Questions on

searching around for solid wood floor underlayment and have been a bit disappointed to see a number of foam and rubber products coming from overseas. Not only do both these products degrade over time, but the national wood floor association seems to point toward felt underlayment. The only place I seem to be able to track down ‘felt’ at my local big box is the GAF shingle mate rolls used on roofs.

What are peoples experiences with underlayment? Is felt still available in Ontario? and what is the difference between the felt roof rolls vs floor underlayment. Happy to hear your thoughts.

I probably would rather a fiberglass reinforced felt product from GAF then a black rubber from China.

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  1. Expert Member
    1. pv13 | | #2

      Hmmm interesting. I found this JLC article that pretty well says don't bother at all. Weird that the requirement has been carried all these years in specs.

      1. Expert Member
        DCcontrarian | | #4

        From the article:
        " First, and, in my opinion, most significant, it makes the flooring installation easier for the installer. That’s not a real reason to specify it, but it is a good reason to allow contractors to use it. Those new floorboards slide around much easier on the smooth paper rather than the rough subfloor. More productivity, that’s a good thing. Second, it does reduce dust – the dust on the subfloor that’s been getting ground in over the past months during the construction process is now trapped there. That’s a good thing and probably enough of a reason to specify it’s use."

        I think the reason people still use it is the first one, it makes installation easier. In addition to what he says, it telegraphs every flaw in the subfloor. It's much easier to find them and fix them when you put down paper than to be in the middle of a row and discover there's a staple sticking out and you have to put your tools down and go look for a pair of pliers to pull it out.

  2. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #3

    In most cases I don't think there is any reason to install a layer under the flooring; it's done mostly out of habit and a lack of understanding. But there are exceptions, and it rarely does harm, though I would not use a material with VOCs. Check out this conversation:

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