Acoustic Underlay in Residential Settings: What You Need to Know

When it comes to using acoustic underlay in a residential setting, there are certain considerations that must be taken into account. The lower layer of floor covering must be acoustically tested to determine how much impact noise it reduces, as not all underlays are created the same way. Comfort is an important factor when choosing the best base for your home, and more than 70% of consumers say that convenience is a priority. Comfort depends on the density, material, thickness and degree of strength of the base layer, as well as the types of carpets in your home.

A thick polyurethane foam base, such as the Tredaire Dreamwalk, provides a luxurious underfoot feel. Before deciding whether an acoustic base will help solve a specific noise problem, it is necessary to have an idea of the cause of the noise. Impact noise, often referred to as stepping noise, comes from people's shoes or objects falling to the ground, while airborne noise comes from devices such as sound equipment. Because footstep sounds produce much more energy per square inch than the noises emitted by speakers in the air, they are much harder to block. The acoustic base will help reduce the transmission of both types of sounds, but the approach used must take into account the noise source. It is important to keep the underfloor as thin as possible.

Thicker subfloors can start to pose problems, as they can create compensation issues between rooms with different floor materials. Transitions can be problematic if the floor level is considerably higher in one room than in the next room. And in rooms with low ceilings, thick subfloors can even pose a problem by shortening the height of the space. Manufacturers of laminate floors often state that a loose underfloor should not be used with a preplaced underlayment. Acoustic subfloors (for hard surface floors) and carpet cushions (for soft surface floors) are essential to meet these strict codes.

An acoustic underlayment made of cork, rubber or foam can further reduce noise and prevent its transmission. To control acoustic efficiency, thinner and lighter materials with varying acoustic characteristics are often used. The acoustic underlayment for vinyl floors must have the necessary dimensional stability to prevent crevices from occurring and the thickness necessary to absorb sound. The only function of an acoustic floor base is to reduce the amount of impact noise that propagates through the floor due to falling objects, footsteps and the movement of furniture in the finishes of hard surfaces of any type of building. Not only is a subfloor not needed, but placing another layer of subfloor would contribute to soil instability.

It is advisable to consult the manufacturer's acoustic test report and specify and ensure that the channel is installed in the same way as it was installed in the acoustic testing laboratory. When this is done, any subfloor that isolates sound must be sealed so that the cover does not leak between the joints of the subfloor material. For example, FloorVenue has Marvel SPC hybrid floors that have a pre-installed 6-star acoustic layer. Soft, loose subfloors don't provide the same type of structure as wood sheets or cement boards, so which are floating subfloors.

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