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I am planning on installing laminate to replace the carpet in my house. I have the laminate picked out - a Shaw product. There are two different kinds of underlayment: 3 in 1 and 2 in 1. The difference from the description is primarily around a better sound barrier. The 3 in 1 is over twice the price of the 2 in 1. Is the better underlayment worth it? Just curious from others who have experience with this. Thanks
 

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the sound barrier deals with DBA. so it makes it harder for sound to penetrate.
stereo's, chatter, ect...
if it's going upstairs, it is worth it. but you will still hear people walking around up there, it will just sound more like a dull thud, then a click.
 

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Good choice. I actually have Shaw Laminate in my house. Its perfoming great under some pretty heavy use.(two teenagers and two large dogs)

I installed a little over 16 thousand sqaure feet of laminate this year and I agree with what Florcraft says. You cant go wrong with an upgraded underlayment. I used Whisper Walk brand,which sort of looks like the old hair and jute carpet pad,only thinner.But you will get excellent performance from Shaws upgrade as well.It will help cut down greatly on that hollow noise you get when you use a wimpy pad underneath.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Followup

I only have a single story house with no basement (on Gulf Coast, just above sea level). Therefore I am not really concerned about noise from one level to another. Is the 3 in 1 underlayment worth the extra dollars? Thanks
 

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Well, the only good an upgraded pad will make, is that is will not sound so hollow. If that's your gig, then go for it.
if it doesn't matter, then save the dough.
 

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I dono guys, the 3-in-1 kind of doesnt make sense to me.

If the plastic is on the top as well, wouldnt that create a pool under the flooring if the user spills a glass of water for example?
 

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I would agree that if there is a moisture barrier on top of the pad, it is probably quite useless. But I do not believe this is the case.
I would imagine 3 in 1 means

pad
sound barrier
moisture barrier (on the bottom of the pad)
 

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taboyce, Think about sealing the slab prior to installing the vapor barrier, I do this anywhere the water table is just a few feet down. Unless specified, I use the 2 in 1, add a second layer of the inexpensive padding for a little more give and insulation.
Scrape and vacuum prior to sealing, the smallest little stone can puncture the vapor barrier.
 

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3-in-1 underlayment

The 3-in-1 designation means:

1. Underlayment (which dampens the sound of the floor and helps make up for minor subfloor irregularities).

2. Poly moisture barrier

3. Adhesive strip on one side so that side-by-side runs of the underlayment can be attached to each other.
 
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