Soundproofing Between Floors: What is the Best Material?

Soundproofing between floors can be achieved by using various materials such as polyurethane foam underlayment recycled felt base plywood cement boards acoustic foam etc.

Soundproofing Between Floors: What is the Best Material?

The Karma Acoustic Overlay Plus Board acoustic mat is usually installed on a wooden platform and under floor finishes, such as wooden floors, carpets, etc. Acoustic mats are an excellent way to soundproof the floor against impact noise. Polyurethane foam underlayment is the most economical underlayment option and offers some insulation under new floors. It is also a good choice for creating a level floor surface. When it comes to soundproofing between floors, there are many options available.

The International Code Council (ICC) rating of a material is measured with a “hammer” machine located on an upper floor and the sound in decibels in the lower room. Floating floors, carpet pads and sound-insulating underlayment can significantly improve the ICC rating of a flooring system. The ability of a material to prevent airborne sound transmission is measured using a different metric sound transmission class (STC). An STC rating is a logarithmic measure of the loss of sound transmission between two rooms, measured at 16 frequencies from 125 Hz to 5000 Hz. Basically, the STC rating of a material measures its ability to absorb airborne noise and, consequently, prevent its transmission. For example, while carpets could work perfectly in a classroom, they would not meet the sanitary standards that must be used in an operating room.

There are many factors to consider, in addition to acoustics, and a flooring contractor can guide you through all of them. Combining carpet with resin floors can help isolate sound where you need it most. The subfloor of acoustic insulation solutions for floors made of materials such as polyethylene foam, acoustic foam, felt, plywood, cement boards and carpets reduces noise levels, without the need to lift the floorboards and rebuild or replace the beams. When none of these costly, invasive and disruptive solutions are possible, that's where acoustic insulation barriers for floors come into play. The higher the density, the more effective the polyethylene foam will be, but any type of foam will be better than having no insulation at all. Beyond the simple foam underlayment marketed for laminate floors, there is another, more expensive type that is often called acoustic foam. WhisperStop is a brand of acoustic foam base and is 3 mm thick.

The Silencer is another acoustic foam and is quite dense, with 20 pounds of sound-absorbing material per cubic foot. Soft underlayments for floors, regardless of their physical properties, usually advertise that they are effective at blocking sound. While these statements may have some validity, it is important to distinguish between this type of underlayment and others that claim to be acoustic underlayments. Acoustic subfloors are very dense materials designed to dampen sound vibrations. A quick way to determine density is to look at the weight of a material in relation to its size. The recycled felt base is environmentally friendly and effective in reducing noise. About twice as expensive as polyethylene foam, felt underlayment is a good choice if your primary objective is sound absorption and if your budget can cover the additional cost.

Recycled felt underlayment is approximately four times heavier than foam and is therefore denser. This is your best choice with laminate and engineered wood floors. The plywood base is often used under thin, flexible floor materials, such as vinyl tiles or linoleum. Plywood is only a moderately effective sound blocker. Sometimes red rosin paper or tar paper, which have no sound-blocking advantages, is placed on the plywood to minimize squeaks. For better results than a plywood subfloor, install a specialized acoustic underlayment in the subfloor.

Soundeater is one of those products which combines a soft board with a specially designed slot and tab that absorbs impacts with a suitable wood profile. At over 1 inch thick, SounDeater is thicker than most common plywood products so make sure this doesn't cause problems with floor levels in adjacent rooms. Acoustic underlayment systems differ from the straight plywood option because they raise the floor on reclining boards. This elevation creates a dead air zone that considerably reduces the transmission of vibrations from one floor to another. WonderBoard and Durock are two popular types of cement boards used as a base for tiling. Cement board may be a slightly better sound blocker than wood because of its density.

The cement board is very dense and can be effective for soundproofing although it will not completely silence the noise that comes. As the name suggests, acoustic underlayment is specifically designed for the purpose of soundproofing and can be very effective. The soundproofed lower layers are used to ensure that the separator floors comply with current construction standards of Part E.Its large mass and density make it perfect for soundproofing and blocking excessive levels of airborne noise. Everyone's situation is unique so certain soundproof flooring options may work better than others depending on your specific needs. If you have the option of starting with the subfloor and placing a new floor there are more options available to soundproof your floor. If the builder of a new home skimped on the quality of materials or amount of insulation inside the floor even recently built homes may be good candidates for soundproofing. That's why finding the best ways to soundproof your floor will also make you a calmer person and just as importantly a better neighbor. The best soundproof floors are a combination of options that include reducing noise in beams creating an acoustic barrier in the basement and using a flooring option with a smooth finish.

In addition to acoustic quality other factors should be considered when selecting flooring for installations such as budget or sanitary standards.

The STC classification depends on mass soil type insulation through separation resilience soil type etc. We offer solutions to isolate floor from noise neighbors while complying with construction regulations Part E.

Soundproofing between floors can be achieved by using various materials such as polyurethane foam underlayment recycled felt base plywood cement boards acoustic foam etc. Each material has its own advantages so it's important to consider all factors before making your decision.


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