Is Foam Underlay Good for Soundproofing?

Learn if foam underlay is good for soundproofing from an expert's perspective! Find out what type of foam underlay works best for different types of floors.

Is Foam Underlay Good for Soundproofing?

Most lightweight foam-based products won't make much difference in reducing airborne noise, and performance will depend on where they are installed and the type of surface they are placed on. You should also consider the finish of the floor. When choosing new types of flooring, whether it's laminate, vinyl, carpet, or any other type, it's probably not the first thing we think about to make sure that the floor finish you choose doesn't create noise in the house or adjacent properties. When choosing a base for soundproofing, it is important to consider the type of floor with which you are going to use it.

Some materials are more compatible with certain types of floors than others, so it's important to select a base. You may not have noticed that there are a lot of subfloor products for sound-insulated floors available. When buying new floor coverings, especially from one of the major national retailers, subfloor options are likely to be determined by factors other than their soundproofing capacity. The thickness of the base layer is also an important factor to consider.

Thicker lower layers will provide better soundproofing than thinner ones. However, they can also be more expensive and difficult to install. When advertising a carpet base, major retailers usually offer a range of products based primarily on different levels of comfort: the more you pay, the more luxurious the rug will be. Acoustic insulation is often mentioned in higher-quality types of carpet floors, but it's not usually the key factor.

In the case of floor coverings, such as laminate or artificial wood, soundproofing is likely to be a more important factor when choosing the base, largely due to the possibility of transmitting impact sound, such as footsteps on hard floors. However, the standard options offered by retailers and many flooring suppliers are unlikely to offer sound insulation levels far beyond the relatively basic ones. However, it is not only these types of floors that can benefit from an improved acoustic base. The impact sound usually occurs when someone is walking on the floor surface, especially on hard surfaces such as tiles, laminates and wood, but it also occurs when furniture is moved or objects are dropped or objects thrown on the floor.

The result is that sound waves are transmitted through the material on the floor surface, the subfloor (whether concrete or wooden boards) and the ceiling, until they reach the room lower. The best base for vinyl flooring is an acoustic felt, such as the one our product team has purposely designed. This type of material is perfect for vinyl, as it is thinner and less dense, so it largely recovers the “bounce” you would experience with other materials when using vinyl. This is a very important question: can a base coat be used for tiling? Luxury vinyl tiles require a thin undercoat because of the way the tiles are connected and the material from which they are made.

Problems can arise when the soil being worked on is not properly prepared, and even using a thick base can be a problem because the LVT expands and contracts. If the surface on which you are going to perform the installation is properly leveled and prepared, you can use a thin layer of acoustic felt to facilitate sound transmission. In fact, most manufacturers of acoustic products design complete soundproofing solutions called systems. These are specific materials that, when combined, can provide a better result with test data showing that they meet construction standards.

Our most popular soundproof base is the Noisestop 12 mm acoustic base. It effectively minimizes both impact and airborne noise, thanks to its two-layer design that provides the necessary weight to reduce airborne sounds and the closed-cell foam to absorb impact. This base complies with part E of the building regulations and effectively reduces noise levels in homes. It's ideal for reducing the average levels of unwanted sound from a neighboring property, such as footsteps, television noise and conversations.

The Noisestop acoustic base is compatible with most types of floors, including engineered wood, laminate, tiles and LVT. In general, an expected Delta IIC is 21 for an elastic material such as foam, fiber or cork. Personally, I prefer to use Silent Vapor Barrier 3-in-1 for rooms with less traffic, such as a guest room, storage room or dressing room. However, to spend more time in living rooms or bedrooms I wouldn't hesitate to spend a few more bucks in FloorMuffler UltraSeal - by far the best base for soundproofing.

Base coats are good whenever you want to reduce sound passing between floors but they won't make your house completely quiet. Soundproof sheets for placement under your floor are ideal for placing on wood or concrete floors or directly under carpets or floor coverings to help reduce impact noise and improve aerial sound insulation in your home or workplace. Made with a sound-damping damping barrier placed between two sheets of dense foam these sheets will improve acoustic insulation significantly. This combination of acoustic base layers allows you to achieve much better results with thinner soundproofing products.

In case of carpets you need something soft but not hitting ground - many acoustic subfloor layers on market fit this description perfectly - like Noisestop acoustic base which reduces both aerial and impact sounds by 48 dB and 46 dB respectively according to figures provided by manufacturer. The best acoustic base on its own is MuTeMat 3 which helps meet construction standards without any other material involved while Noisestop acoustic base offers highest performing acoustical base combination when combined with MuteMat range.

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