I picked up a rooms-worth of laminate flooring for $15.
But the pad for it comes in rolls just too short, so It'll
cost me $50 just for the pad.
It's a junk room with almost no traffic.
Aside from the noise when you walk on it,
are there any reasons I shouldn't install laminate
directly over the vapor barrier without a pad?
Without a pad, the floor will sound and feel marginally different, less
substantial, but certainly usable.
There exists some thin foam material used for packaging that is cheaper. For
example, here's 1000 sq ft for $24, about 2.5 cents/sq ft (in 6" widths -
you'll need a lot of tape).
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