Instalay adhesive membrane for wood floor?

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AJB Temple

Finely figured
13 Oct 2015
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Tunbridge Wells
Does anyone have any experience of using Instalay to fit wood floors? It is a heavy rubber underlay, with a peelback film that reveals a very strong adhesive. You end up with in effect a semi floating floor, no nailing and no need to glue. Here is a link

There seems to be only one manufacturer. It's quite expensive and the alternatives do not seem to have anything like the same weight or acoustic properties. I'm attracted to this stuff because the floor is in a barn conversion and I am keen to reduce noise transmission. Plus fast installation would be a bonus.

My particular application is about 120 sq metres of first floor bedroom and landing space where I have removed the carpets and skirtings. To level up the areas I am laying ply first, screwed down over a somewhat hacked about chipboard floor. I have already got very high quality t&g European oak on site to do the job, with 4 board widths from 5" to 8". Most of it is 6" and 7" and I have a lot of long lengths - 3 metres typically, some longer.

I have laid floors before - but never with this material. Previously I have secret nailed by hand (I don't presently have an air nailer set up and am not that keen to buy one).
I used the same material on a hallway and it was much less of a faff; no glues to mix and pour etc.
However, I would say that the best results would be if you have a helper to hold the other end of the board in place. Unless your flooring is click together, there can be a tendancy for the joints to open slightly as you peel back the film, and once it touches the backing it is stuck fast.
I have one joint, as the floor goes beneath the understair door that just catches my eye everytime I visit the friends for whom I did the floor.
Best of luck with the job.
Thanks Kieran. I will have a helper. That is useful to know you found it OK to use. I think I will opt for this.

I used it, or something very similar, to lay this floor. I found it easy to use, and it made for a fairly quick installation. This took me two days working alone. I found it best to knock the boards together with a long straight edge (6’ spirit level) before peeling back the cover sheet. Boards were glued together.

Absolutely essential to get the first couple of rows perfect before exposing the adhesive, it’s incredibly strong!



It’s been down over a year, no squeaks or movement so far. It was laid onto a floating chipboard floor. It doesn’t feel quite the same underfoot as a proper glued down floor, but you’d have to be looking for the difference to notice.

I’d certainly use it again.

Apologies for upside down pics, posting from iPad...



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Thanks. Very helpful. I don't plan to glue the T&G oak boards together since they will be bonded to the film / underlay. I have puller and knocker tools for flooring if necessary - depends how well the boards fit when I get going. Acclimatising for a couple of weeks first.
AJB Temple":26xm9kox said:
Thanks. Very helpful. I don't plan to glue the T&G oak boards together since they will be bonded to the film / underlay. I have puller and knocker tools for flooring if necessary - depends how well the boards fit when I get going. Acclimatising for a couple of weeks first.

The instructions with my underlay said the boards should be glued, yours, of course, may be different. I think it helps stop any small gaps opening up, or creaks developing as there’s a little bit of give in the foam.

I found a couple of sharp knocks with a straight edge (no hammer needed) was more effective than a knocker, but some of these boards were over 9 feet long - reclaimed timber face bonded to a birch ply backer with a very tightly machined tongue and groove

Good luck with the floor

I used it in all our bedrooms and landing and it has worked well. As mentioned above you must ensure the first few boards are accurately positioned. I used rachet strap flooring clamps to make sure the boards were held together tightly while removing the backing sheet. It is really sticky so you have to get everything exactly right before removing the backing sheet - there is no repositioning it!

It certainly damps the sound of people moving upstairs.

I would use it again if installing more flooring.

The Instalay instructions say the the boards should not be glued along the t&g . I would be very interested to know the make of the products you guys have used. I my internet searches there seem to be two types. Instalay is made of recycled rubber and weighs 20kg a roll. It specifies the acoustic reduction it claims to achieve (20-27 decibels depending on thickness). The other type is MUCH cheaper (less than half) and seems to be a foam. The branded manufacturer is Diall but the others seem to be clones. This weighs around 3kg per roll (same sized roll) and does not specify the acoustic properties except to say it has them.

I really can’t remember the make, but it certainly wasn’t as heavy as 20kg per roll, and was made of a dense foam, not rubber. The acoustic properties weren’t important to us - downstairs over a floating floor.

Had a look at the InstaLay website, seems really good quality stuff, may get give it a try if we lay any solid flooring upstairs. Being rubber it may feel more like a glued-down floor to walk on. Be interested to see how ceramic tiles hold up on it...