Wood flooring underlay review Selitac Aqua Stop

After recently using the Selitac Aqua Stop wood floor underlay from B & Q for one of my clients, I thought I’d write a few words about my experience. When purchasing any wood type floor covering, be that an engineered wood veneer floor or laminate, one of the most important decisions to make is what underlay to use. I was mightily impressed with the Selitac wood floor underlay for many reasons…Read on to find out why…

Firstly, let’s look at the specifications of this underlay..

  • Selitac Aqua Stop underlay being installedDimensions : Length 6250 mm x Width 800 mm x Thickness 5 mm
  • Incorporated vapour barrier covering you against residual moisture of up to 75% Relative Humidity
  • High compression strength absorbing a max load of 6.5 Tonnes per square metre
  • Excellent insulation properties
  • Made from a high density polystyrene foam
  • Great noise reducing properties of up to 22 Db
  • Coverage per pack 5 square metres
  • NOT suitable to be installed over underfloor heating
  • Cost around £3.60 per square metre

Ok, so I generally call the information above, ‘manufacturers fluff’. Although, there’s no miss-information with the fluff, I tend to do my reviews from my hands on experience and there’s a good deal of down to earth and practical reasons why I believe this underlay is worth every penny.

Usability

I wanted to talk about the usability before anything else, because it’s the first thing that struck me. Firstly, and I’m not sure why the manufacturers or marketing guys don’t push this more, but this underlay is supper light weight! This may sound like an odd thing to pick up on but believe me when I say, some underlays at this price range can be extremely heavy. Of course that’s not necessarily a bad thing from a quality point of view but considering this underlay has an extremely high compression value just like the heavier brands, the final winner is always how easy is it to move around while transporting it from the store or working with it during the installation. Again, sounds trivial?? Not at all!! Our thoughts used to be ‘if it’s heavier, it’s better’, well I’d like to refer you to the huge advances in technology and leave it at that, because if you’re a traditionalist conventional type of person, nothing I say will sway you..This review is for the modern believers..

Cutting Selitac Aqua Stop easily along the grid reference linesOn the packaging, they state it has easy cut properties and that statement is so sooo true. Some underlays I’ve used are awkward and half the time they tear (sharp utility blade or not) as I’m trying to cut them. This stuff slices like butter. A real breath of fresh air..

You can see the grid reference lines on the face of the underlay. At first when I saw this, I thought it was a little gimmicky as I’d never seen anything like it before. However, when getting down and working with this underlay, the grid reference lines made total sense. They give you a line to follow as you’re cutting which makes life far easier and the installation faster.

Selitac Aqua Stop locking mechanism I found the locking mechanism of the underlay a little messy to use at first and frankly, still do. It does look very appealing to the novice installer but considering the underlay requires taping along the seams anyway, I would have much preferred the locking mechanism to be none existent and the edges of the underlay to be straight.

Selitac Aqua Stop locked together

 

I did get used to this though and it didn’t cause to much of a problem later on but still slowed the installation down slightly as I was faffing about with the mechanism.

 

 

Performance

Fan-tas-tic! I had absolutely no problems with this underlay from a performance point of view..

As I was installing it, I could literally feel the insulation properties of the underlay at work! No joke or over exaggeration! As I was even unwrapping the underlay I could feel my own body heat rebounding. Straight away, I could tell the manufacturers boast about the insulation properties of this underlay were spot on..

In my recent installation, I was installing a laminate floor over floor boards. The floor boards were slightly cupping which meant I needed an underlay that would absorb the undulations, leaving the surface flat. This new brand of high density polystyrene foam has impressed me so much over the last year. You can test an underlay very easily for it’s absorbing properties. Simply, dig a finger nail into one side of the underlay and look on the other side to see if your nail impression has traveled through the underlay. The polystyrene type underlays DO NOT. The second test is to see if the finger nail impression has stayed as an imprint. If it has, then you know that underlay will truly absorb acute unevenness in a sub-floors within it’s 5 mm tolerance. The Selitac Aqua Stop has these properties! If the impression you made with your nail has disappeared, you’ll know that the underlay is springy and wont do near as good a job.

After the installation of the laminate floor, I felt a slight spongy feeling and you will too. Don’t worry, this is normal. Underlays don’t just absorb unevenness instantly. They need you and your families weight to help it do its job. Over a relatively short period of use, you’ll find the floor really firms up as your weight presses the underlay and essentially imprints any acute undulations.

Using SelitacStop tape to seal the seams of the underlayAs mentioned within the specifications at the top of this page, the Selitac Aqua Stop prevents moisture from damaging your new wood floor. However, there are limits to these moisture protective properties so don’t be miss guided. If the sub-floor you’re laying it on is soaking and/or under pressure, this underlay will not solve the issue or protect your floor. Selitac Aqua Stop sealed with SelitacStop joining tapeThe devil is in the detail, and the manufacturers state that it protects against residual moisture. In layman’s terms, lower levels of moisture. In technical terms, anything below 75% relative humidity. Oh and please don’t forget to purchase the seam tape!! Without it you may as well not bother!!

Summary

I’ve rattled on enough. Selitac Aqua Stop underlay is simply excellent and genuinely a great purchase to support a quality and long lasting floor covering. It has it’s limits, but don’t we all.

Overall, I was extremely impressed and won’t hesitate for one second to recommend it to my clients in the future. Here’s to making right decisions!!!

 

© Copyright 2013 Wes, All rights Reserved. Written For: Fitmywoodfloor
About

I am a Pergo trained professional installer of 20 years. I've been up close and personal with lots of floors and have the knobbly knees to show for it...Should you have any questions or comments please feel free to add them below. Thanks for taking the time to call by and I hope the information you've found has given you some insight!........................................................................................................................................................................“When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in the site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network, amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.fr, amazon.de, amazon.it, amazon.ca, affiliate window network.” This statement is to comply with current internet regulations regarding transparency to consumers.

Posted in All reviews, Flooring accessory reviews, Uncategorized, Underlay reviews, Underlays Tagged with: , ,
  • Hi Matt,

    I can highly recommend ‘Vitrex Premium Board’ underlay. It does pop up a great deal on my website, but there is a reason for that. There’s also nothing wrong with Selitac underlay, as are the sentiments of this article.

    Please do consider the moisture content of your concrete. If by “old”, you mean the concrete pre dates the mid to late 1960’s, then the concrete slab will likely not have a mechanical/sheet damp proof membrane beneath. Even if it does, is it still is good condition?

    If the slab doesn’t have a DPM beneath, then you’ll need to place a minimum 1000 gauge visqueen DPM sheet over the concrete prior to installing any underlay.

    Regards,

    Wes.

  • Mark Stapleton

    Hi,
    I am installing laminated flooring on to a concrete floor with the Selitac Aqua Stop. Do I still need to put down a Damp proof membrane?
    Thanks

  • Hi Mark,

    Providing the current concrete slab has a working mechanical DPM (visqueen sheet) beneath (Pre 1960’s builds typically won’t) and the relative humidity of the concrete is on or below 75% RH, the Selitac Aqua Stop will be fine. Do purchase and use the Selitac vapour tape for the seems of the underlay.

    Regards,

    Wes.

  • Mark Stapleton

    Wow that was quick, thanks for the reply.

  • You’re very welcome Mark.

    Regards,

    Wes.

  • Jim

    Hi Wes,
    I have chose pergo public extreme long plank to be installed on existing floor boards would you recommend Selitac Aqua Stop or is there currently a more suitable underlay……

  • Hi Jim,

    There’s nothing wrong with the selitac underlay. However, two points to consider :-

    Be sure the floorboards aren’t too uneven i.e. excessively cupping/crowning etc, particularly if you are running the flooring in the same direction as the floorboards. Any underlay will only absorb so much.

    Consider the warranty on the flooring. Some manufacturers will invalidate the warranty if their underlay etc hasn’t been used.

    Regards,

    Wes.

  • Jim

    Wow! Thanks Wes for quick reply, the floor is to run in opposite direction, the floorboards are nice and flat, except where the wall used to separate the 2 rooms the is a 16mm gap at its widest point (next to wall) with a 1mm rise would the underlay cope with this? plus is Vitrex premier wood comparable or simply which underlay would you use ?

    Many Thanks
    Jim

  • It’s no problem Jim. Rarely do I get chance to reply straight away 🙂

    My preference would be Vitrex premier boards, but in all honesty there’s really not much in it. Apart from the fact the selitac has a built in vapour barrier, which is always preferential on ground floors regardless of the sub-floor being suspended timber.

    It’s hard for me to reassure you regards any rises or eveness. You’re better to lay several boards across the two height differences, have someone walk across, while you’re stud a few metres away. From that angle, you’ll have a better idea of movement. From there, it’ll be your judgement call.

    Regards,

    Wes.

  • Jim

    thanks again, really helpful and much appreciated
    Jim