What is Acoustic Underlay and How Does it Work?

The only purpose of acoustic underlay is to reduce the amount of impact noise that is transmitted through the floor due to falling objects, footsteps, and the movement of furniture. This layer of cushioning between the floor covering and the subfloor adds value to commercial flooring systems in many ways. It provides the necessary cushioning to reduce foot fatigue, the dimensional stability needed to install the floor on small imperfections in the subfloor, and in many cases, the high R value needed to contribute to thermal insulation of a building.

The reduction of noise in floors is mainly achieved through the use of an acoustic base.

Installers must place rolls or sheets of subfloor above the subfloor before installing floating boards on top.

Think of this base layer as a foam or rubber cushion that absorbs any impact and blocks loud noises. Acoustic base layers are materials designed to be placed under floor coverings to dampen sounds that would otherwise be transmitted through the floor. They are made of several materials such as polyester mats and recycled rubber (often in composite material form) and absorb the sound of footsteps and vibrations that would otherwise circulate without ground control. Acoustic base layers also often have additional advantages such as increasing thermal insulation of the floor and providing a softer surface on which to place the floor covering, making it more comfortable to walk on.

You can work with your flooring contractor to choose the acoustic flooring system, including the floor itself, its subfloor, and installation accessories, that best meets your specific needs. Marvel hybrid floors can be installed practically anywhere as they have the highest acoustic certification without needing an additional underlayer. Acoustic subfloor layers are capable of preventing a good amount of sound from passing through floors, but their thickness may need to be increased to be truly effective. For example, FloorVenue has Marvel SPC hybrid floors that have a pre-installed 6-star acoustic layer.

It is rarely possible to add more layers of acoustic subfloor as it would make the floor too unstable and raise it too much relative to the subfloor. This affordable acoustic floor base made of recycled rubber is easily installed with DA-5 adhesive to reduce noise caused by vibrations between floor and ceiling assemblies. The gold EPE foam base is 3 mm thick, offering slightly greater acoustic protection than that of the general silver option. The acoustic underlayment for vinyl floors must have the necessary dimensional stability to prevent crevices and the thickness to absorb sound.

Special acoustic subfloor layers can reduce the amount of sound that circulates between floors by 13 dB and 25 dB, exceeding BCA requirements. This acoustic floor base is excellent for reducing vibrational noise from mechanical sources between floor and ceiling assemblies such as steps, gym equipment, laundry machines, speakers, printers, and more. For example, an acoustic base can have a polyester layer that absorbs sound between two layers of rubber sheets which dampens vibrations. 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. The underlying acoustic layers usually incorporate multiple layers and thicknesses, and are designed to block different types of noise.

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