Underlay is used mostly to describe the  padding between floor and carpet or rug. It softens the walk, protects the textile from any floor board ridges, and prevents rising dirt, grit or dust from damaging the fibres. It insulates from beneath so that the walk is always warm underfoot.

There are many types and price-ranges for underlay, made with different levels of skills and to be purchased with much discussion and salesmanship. However, I am going to be very stubborn and old fashioned and state that the only one of any real value is felted wool, cotton or mixed fibre underlay. This is warm to the touch and the only natural insulator, thick, solid and heavy–and most fitters don’t like it as it is messy and difficult to work compared to synthetic alternatives.

It’s also the only type that I’ve seen re-used successfully, whether another version has been on the floor for three years or thirty. We have, however been able to re-use woollen felt underlay after 50 years, with the expectancy of another 20 -30. Unless convince otherwise this is the only sort of underlay we’re going to be using.

* Wool is the best of all as the natural bounce and resilience of wool, even when felted, does make a difference.

* Felt underlay beds down into the floor, absorbing and ridges into itself.

* Felted underlay also absorbed the seams of any joined carpet whether flat weave, hand sewn or heat seamed, so that become almost invisible on the top.

* Neither wool nor cotton breaks down (all alteratives do) – being felted ensures that the fibres are enmeshed from the beginning.

*  wool and/or cotton underlay is a solid mass and is totally sound absorbent.

*  There are no air pockets to flatten and break down, consequently there is no subsequent loss of depth.

*  There is no annoying bounce when the carpet is first fitted–just a feeling of walking on real depth.

* Carpet seams will bed into the underlay and .

* Felted underlay outlasts most carpet and doesn’t need replacing. I have seen carpet almost a hundred years old laid on felted underlay that is still in good condition. Not perfect, but certainly for the most part re-useable

*  Underlay is made of recycled shoddy and waste materials.

*  Chair leg marks are never as deep on carpet fitted with an other underlay.

* Felted underlay doesn’t smell of chemicals and works with any type of flooring–even seagrass, jute, coir or sisal.

* Only the best flooring fitters will entertain it….


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