Is felt underlayment necessary when installing hardwood floor?

Ron D
by Ron D
I am replacing carpet in upstairs bedroom with hardwood floor. My primary concern is acoustic, to reduce squeaks. I'd prefer to avoid the extra step if it's not necessary or very helpful.
  8 answers
  • Marge Marge on Jun 01, 2016
    the felt will help prevent the squeaks you are concerned about, . Wood floors will naturally contract and expand due to temperature changes and humidity. The felt paper will reduce or eliminate the squeaks caused by the friction of wood rubbing on wood. The extra step is well worth the expense and the time.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jun 01, 2016
    I would not skip that step.Besides for the squeaks I would think adding the felt and carpet padding would make it allot more comfortable for walking on.
  • William William on Jun 01, 2016
    If your installing natural hardwood floors, felt paper prevents any moisture that may migrate from below, protects the hardwood floor from any imperfections in the subfloor, and is sound deadening. Laminate floors need an underlayment as the floor moves with temperature changes, adds a cushion to the floor, and also is sound deadening. As with both floors, the subfloor and floor move differently due to temp changes. the underlayment is a buffer to this movement and the floors will last longer. Also warranties may be void if the floors are not properly installed.
  • Louise Louise on Jun 01, 2016
    all the above,, it will be worth the padding !
  • Jhmarie Jhmarie on Jun 02, 2016
    The felt paper is important for the reasons William gave. To fix squeaks, you may need to add more screws to the subfloor - firmly attaching it to the joist below. If your floor squeaks now with the carpet, or when you remove the carpet and walk on the subfloor, then the subfloor needs to be screwed down better. Many older homes just have the subfloor nailed down and the nails have loosened up over time.
    • Tommi L. Perkins Tommi L. Perkins on Jun 02, 2016
      @Jhmarie Squeaks in floors no matter what is laid on top of them is due to the subflooring not being tight as you said. Those can be fixed easily.
  • Charlene Vinson Charlene Vinson on Jun 02, 2016
    I just had my carpeted flooring replaced with engineered hardwood flooring...twice. The first time they installed an underlayment called "Quiet Walk". Every step we took squeaked. They had to pull it all back up, level a couple of places and they glued it down. No squeaks. Just my lesson learned.
    • Lewei Zhang Lewei Zhang on Mar 14, 2017

      I am not clear whether you still have the underlayment or you actually eliminated it.



  • Charlene Vinson Charlene Vinson on Mar 14, 2017

    We eliminated it. With the underlayment, every step we took on the floor squeaked. We were told by the installers that the squeaks would quit when the floor settled. The squeaks never got better. The company sent another installing team who removed all of the hardwood flooring, leveled it out, and then glued the hardwood flooring to our subfloor. We have 2 areas that squeak very slightly since the "glue down" and it's been about a year now. Nothings perfect, but we are happy with the glue down.

  • Touchedpainter Touchedpainter on Mar 19, 2017

    When I was growing up, my father always complained that he wished he had put insulation down on the ceiling of the rooms below before finishing the upstairs. When I built my house I put 3" fiberglass batting insulation between the joists on the ceiling before the underlay. It made a huge difference, sound wise, down stairs. Felt under the floor boards will also make a great difference. My motto is: "Better to have it & not need it than wish... the... heck... you... did"

    I absolutely, unequivocally, can not recommend gluing floor boards. That just might be a deal breaker, for me, when it comes to buying my next home. Just because someone installs floors, doesn't mean they are not subject to knowing just enough to be dangerous. Be careful out there people, we have one of the greatest research tools of all time, "Google". This is the 2nd decade of the 21st century, we have remarkable research capabilities. Go forth & be informed, Excelsior!!!