Substrate under linoleum on a concrete floor: 6 tips for choosing

5 min

Linoleum, as a type of flooring, does not lose its relevance due to its many advantages. This is ease of care, and affordable cost, and a variety of colors and textures, and ease of installation, as well as durability and wear resistance. For the coating to have all of the above properties, it is necessary to carry out the correct installation. At the same time, many experts are of the opinion that a substrate for linoleum on a concrete floor is a necessity. Others argue that this is a waste of money. Let’s figure out who is right and which substrate to choose, if its use in your case is appropriate.

When do you need a backing?

The underlay is an intermediate layer between the floor plane and the covering itself.
It is necessary to use it when laying on a concrete base in several cases:

  • When there is a need to insulate floors. The floors in the ground floor apartments above the arched openings are very cold. The same can be said for the concrete floors on the first floor of a private house. In this case, the substrate will act as a heat insulator;
  • For soundproofing. In apartment buildings there is very good audibility, which can be reduced by using a substrate that has sound insulating properties;

  • When you need to level the floor plane. If the concrete screed is made of poor quality, it must first be leveled. If the differences are in the range of 2-7 mm, and the irregularities themselves are smooth, without sharp protrusions or pits, you can level the flaws with the help of a substrate.

When is a backing useless?

  • When there are large drops and dents on the floor plane. The substrate cannot compensate for such deep defects. And the linoleum itself, when laid on such a plane, will quickly become unusable. Local or complete leveling of the surface is necessary;

  • When using linoleum with a backing layer. Such material is more expensive, but sometimes the expense is justified.

Cork backing

Cork backing is made from shredded bark and natural adhesives.

This material has the following advantages:

  • Environmental friendliness;
  • Durability. The substrate retains its properties for 25-30 years;
  • High soundproofing properties;
  • Convenient packing in the form of rolls 1 meter wide and 10 meters long;
  • Variability of thicknesses – from 2 to 10 mm.

The thicker the substrate, the softer the surface, but its strength decreases. The optimal indicator of the price / quality ratio is 3-4 mm thickness. For laying under linoleum, this is more than enough.

The disadvantages include:

  • The softness of the material. In places where heavy furniture will stand, dents form over time;
  • High price.

For additional thermal insulation, we recommend purchasing a cork backing with a foil layer.

Jute substrate

Using a jute underlay for linoleum will provide the following benefits:

  • High degree of rigidity. This material does not deform and does not sag even under heavy loads and after a long period. Recommended for use in rooms with heavy floor loading;

  • Durability. The material will serve you for about 75 years, or even more. That is, when the time comes to change the linoleum itself, the substrate can not be changed. Even a laminate can be laid on top of it;
  • Moisture resistance. The material does not absorb moisture and does not rot under its influence;
  • Fire resistance. Some manufacturers impregnate the material with special solutions that ensure its resistance to combustion;
  • Density variability. Jute with a density of 450 to 750 g / meter is on sale. The higher the density, the higher the resistance to deformation;
  • Thickness variability – from 2 to 5 mm .;
  • Acceptable cost. Approximately 1000-1300 rubles. for 10 square meters.

The high rigidity of the substrate can be attributed at the same time to the disadvantages, since high bulges on the concrete base will push the material from the back side over time. In short, jute is not flexible. If the submarine was laid on a surface with deep pits, they will certainly appear over time.

Linen backing

There is a linen backing, but finding it is sometimes problematic. This is the only fact that can be attributed to disadvantages.

Nevertheless, the material has the following advantages:

  • Environmental friendliness. The canvases are formed by felting on special equipment, which makes it possible to do without the use of adhesives. For reliability, the material is stitched;
  • Air permeability. The substrate can breathe, which is very important in contact with the concrete base. The material protects concrete from excessive evaporation of moisture and thereby prevents the formation of mold;
  • High rigidity;
  • Excellent heat and sound insulation properties due to the fibrous structure;

  • Variability of thickness – from 3 to 7 mm. 5 mm thick material can be used as a universal underlay for any floor covering. For linoleum, 3-4 mm is enough;
  • Affordable price, which is slightly lower than the cost of a jute substrate.

We can say that this is the best choice both in terms of price and a set of performance characteristics.

Foam backing

Foamed polyethylene is used in construction quite often and in different interpretations.

A backing made from this material has the following advantages:

  • The lowest cost among the possible options for substrates;

  • Availability. You can buy such a substrate at any store;
  • A variety of release forms. Both rolls and sheets are available to buyers, which makes it possible to choose the most convenient option. Please note that the sheets have a higher stiffness. It is recommended to use them if the concrete base has many small irregularities;
  • High elasticity. This indicator must be checked upon purchase. Simply squeeze the backing piece with two fingers. If dents remain and the material does not return to its original condition, it is better not to buy such an item. This is how cheap polyethylene from unknown manufacturers behaves.

The disadvantages of foamed polyethylene include:

  • Not so long service life – no more than 10 years, after which the elasticity decreases, and the material begins to sag. But do not forget that this is the cheapest option;
  • Air tightness. If you lay polyethylene on a not completely dry base, mold formation is inevitable, since excess moisture will have nowhere to go. This backing can only be used on dry surfaces.

Combined underlay

This type of backing is made from several materials – jute, linen and wool.

At the same time, the finished coating has the advantages of a jute and linen substrate and several more:

  • It has the highest thermal insulation properties due to the presence of natural wool in the composition. It is the best choice for very cold floors;
  • Wear resistance. Even after 50 years of operation, the material retains its rigidity and elasticity;
  • Possibility to purchase a substrate for the footage.

The disadvantages include a higher cost – 150-200 rubles. per sq.m. and the presence on the market of substandard composite substrates. You will not always get what you expect for this money.

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Passionate about DIY for over 10 years and all the new tools, I give you through this blog all my advice, tips, tests in all areas: carpentry, electricity, masonry, gardening, home automation ...


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