How to choose a substrate on a concrete floor under the laminate?

Modern laminate flooring has high durability. They are reliable, have high technical and operational characteristics. The installation technique involves the use of special substrates on the concrete floor under the laminate. Substrates are different, and properly selected will allow to increase the life of the laminated coating and improve technical performance. Also with the help of substrates you can completely eliminate the negative effects of rough floors on the laminate. What is this component? What are the substrates, and how to choose them correctly? All this we consider in our today's article.

What are substrates for laminate flooring for?

Characteristics that are guaranteed by the manufacturer directly depend on where and how the laminate is used, as well as on the rules for laying this material. One of the main requirements of any manufacturer is the use of substrates.substrate on the concrete floor under the laminateManufacturing companies may even refuse to guarantee if the installation occurred with violations. Consider the main functions that the lining under the laminate.

Irregularity compensation

This component allows you to compensate for the roughness of the subfloor. The main task of the underlying layer is to maximize even minor irregularities. Most people are confident that if you carefully work on the screed, and it will turn out even, then the substrate on the concrete floor under the laminate is not required. This is fundamentally wrong. Concrete floors can not be as smooth as a mirror. It will not be possible to perfectly align the coupler even if the top layer is covered with finishing plaster levels.

In addition, when manufacturers talk about leveling, they mean elevation differences and defects, the size of which does not exceed 1-2 millimeters. These are grains of sand, small protrusions. It is these errors and allows you to smooth the substrate between the tie and the laminate. Some try to replace the work on the alignment of the screed with the help of a substrate for laminate on an uneven concrete floor. But this is not worth doing.

Backlash assurance

The second important task that the substrates solve is the provision of free running. Laminate flooring in a floating way. The coating is not fixed by glue and during operation has a certain free play (that is, it moves). This is about minor freedom.

laminate substrate on concrete floor

The movement of the laminate is measured by several millimeters. But these movements are always there. Therefore, laminate and other types of floating floors should be laid with a small gap from the walls around the perimeter of the room. The gasket between the base and the floor covering protects the back side of the board from wear due to constant friction on the concrete floor. This ensures gliding.

Sound and heat insulation

The substrate under the laminate on the concrete floor is also designed for waterproofing. This flooring is made from compressed cellulose fibers. The top layer of the laminate is reliably protected from moisture. But the seamy side of protection has practically no. The board reacts to this at high humidity and becomes jarred. Gaps appear, locks break, the board is deformed. The substrate is designed to protect the coating from moisture that accumulates as a result of condensation.The technology of installation of laminate requires laying on the concrete screed polyethylene film or any other vapor barrier layer.

Also the substrate under the laminate on the concrete floor provides sound insulation. Porous material well softens the noise of steps and neighbors below. Some claim that the soundproofing properties of the linings are nothing more than a myth. In fact, the porous gasket works and increases sound insulation. It is believed that laminate spacers protect against cold. The substrate can be used as one of the layers of the elements of the heat preservation system. Is it so? Experts say that the substrate is really capable of retaining heat. However, a strong effect should not be expected.

Substrate requirements for laminate

There is no doubt that the lining is simply necessary when laying laminate flooring. The cost of roll and sheet linings is not cheap. However, according to the masters, you should not save on linings. To make the right choice of product, you need to know the basic qualities of these materials.

best laminate flooring on concrete floor

The substrate on the concrete floor under the laminate should be neutral to the effects of chemical aggressive substances.Also, the insulating material must have bactericidal capabilities, be resistant to moisture, not promote the development of fungus and mold, insects. The possibility of microventilation is necessarily provided. Finally, the substrate should reduce the load on the locking connection of the laminate flooring.

Substrates suitable for concrete

If we take into account the fact that today a concrete screed acts as a subfloor in any types of premises, then the bulk of the linings that are available on the construction market are perfect for concrete. It must be immediately said that this insulating material is not intended for leveling defects of such a coating. Such a component can only compensate for small irregularities. But the technology of laying the substrate on the concrete floor under the laminate prohibits it.

Insulating undercoat material will perform the functions of a shock absorber, which will ensure the comfort of walking across the laminate and the convenience of being indoors. All types of insulating substrates that are currently on the construction market can be divided into two types:

  • Artificial.
  • Natural.

What are their features? Consider separately each type.

Features of artificial models

Make them from polymeric materials. Artificial products are offered at affordable prices. Despite the cheapness, their characteristics are quite acceptable. Artificial solutions are very popular among the owners of both apartments and private houses.laminate substrate on concrete floor thicknessExperts in the field of repair claim that artificial fake materials - this is the best option for laying laminate on concrete. The substrate in addition to its basic functions will be a good vapor barrier. Also, the material will be able to keep some heat in the room.

Features of natural models

We need to start with the fact that the natural substrate on the concrete floor under the laminate is much more expensive than artificial. As for the materials for production, it can be a cork, the remains of wood chips. The substrate has high environmental, technical and operational characteristics. Such material has good resistance to various negative effects. Service life is an order of magnitude longer than that of artificial analogues.

Cork underlays

Such models are perfect for laying on concrete.Produce these products from the bark of cork oak. Any additional components in the composition are missing. Therefore, this material is completely environmentally friendly. Also, cork wood has a lot of other advantages and is considered to be the best substrate for laminate on a concrete floor. This material is able to perceive static loads well over a long time. The product is not wrinkled during installation. When operating it indoors, you can achieve good sound and heat insulation performance. If you buy a special thickened views, you can hide minor irregularities floor screed.

the choice of the substrate under the laminate on the concrete floorThere are also disadvantages. Cork is exposed to moisture. The material is not suitable for installation in bathrooms, kitchens, loggias. Do not install on a warm floor. And finally, another drawback is the high price compared to other types of materials. Considering the durability of the cork, this material should not be combined with an inexpensive and short-lived laminate. The best option for cork is laminate 32-33 class. The thickness of the substrate under the laminate on a concrete floor should be from 1.5 to 6 millimeters.

Bitumen backing

It is made on the basis of kraft paper and bitumen. After the product is covered with cork. Sprinkle is made in 2-3 millimeter pieces. This material has a good sound insulation and protects against moisture due to the presence of bitumen in the composition. What are the advantages? This substrate is able to provide air exchange at a high level. The material equalizes pressure and protects against condensation. These models are suitable for expensive laminate.

Polyethylene models: features

This is a completely artificial product. However, experts recommend this substrate for use with a concrete screed. Among the advantages of distinguished resistance to moisture, low thermal conductivity, low weight, reasonable price, ease of installation.substrate under the laminate on a concrete warm floorHow to choose a substrate on a concrete floor under the laminate? Professional advice does not recommend the use of this inexpensive, as well as short-lived material with expensive and high-quality laminate. During operation, the foam loses its shape. This can lead to visible defects on the surface. To eliminate them is quite difficult.

Despite the shortcomingsThis is a good option for stacking in bathrooms and kitchens, as well as other rooms with a high level of humidity. In this case, the load on the laminate should be small. Therefore, it is recommended to purchase material of the 31st grade. These models are presented in a wide range. As for durability, this laminate is up to 15 years or more.

Styrofoam linings

These products are among the most versatile. They are suitable for installation on any screed and subfloor. The peculiarity of these products in a two-layer structure is foil and polystyrene foam. This material is able to provide good sound insulation. It is suitable as a substrate for laminate flooring on a concrete floor. In addition, manufacturers are allowed to lay these pads on rough floors with defects. If the laminate has a lifespan of 10-12 years, then the substrate of expanded polystyrene is an excellent choice for it. Such a laminate without any problems will last its entire life.


These materials are especially in demand today. They are made of expanded polystyrene and polyethylene. The film is a sandwich, where polystyrene foam balls are between the layers of polyethylene.laminate substrate on uneven concrete floorThis material is supplied in rolls. Its thickness is 2-3 millimeters.Due to this construction material can ventilate the space. The substrate has a long service life. Top plastic layer protects from moisture. Thinner (lower) passes it from the subfloor to the balls. From there, moisture gets out.


So, we found out what the substrate is and why it is needed. The choice of substrate for laminate flooring on a concrete floor is quite large. The modern market offers a lot of models in different price categories. It should be chosen on the basis of the cost and quality of the laminate flooring. It is important to comply with the technology of laying the substrate, so as not to experience problems in the future.

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