What Materials are Used in Soundproof Underlay for Laminate Flooring?

Learn about different soundproof underlay materials for laminate flooring including ImpactOmat 5, natural cork underlayment, FloorMuffler UltraSeal and Silent Vapor Barrier 3-in-1.

What Materials are Used in Soundproof Underlay for Laminate Flooring?

ImpactOmat 5 is an ultra-thin system that helps reduce unwanted impact noise on concrete floors. It is commonly used in multi-level concrete buildings, such as offices, apartments, hotels, and commercial premises. ImpactOmat is incredibly easy to install by simply adhering to the concrete subfloor. The best base for vinyl floors is an acoustic felt, such as the one specifically designed by our product team.

This type of material is perfect for vinyl, as it's thinner and less dense, so it relives much of the “bounce” you'd experience with other materials when using vinyl. When it comes to laminate flooring, the subfloor plays an important role in thermal insulation, as it absorbs irregularities and in soundproofing of the floor in the face of noises. But how do you choose the best soundproof underfloor? IIC stands for Impact Insulation Class (IIC). In a nutshell, the IIC is equivalent to the STC, but for impact sounds.

It is determined in laboratories using a threading machine in a room. In the reception room, the sound levels emitted by the tapping machine are measured and then translated into an IIC rating. The higher the IIC value, the better the material dissipates impact noises. In addition to IIC and STC ratings, there are two main features that will make your floor block out air noises: good sound-blocking materials and damping compounds. Good sound-blocking materials include OSB (oriented fiberboard), MDF (medium density fiberboard), cement board, or mass-charged vinyl (MLV).

To address low-frequency sounds, such as the sounds of bass music, damping compounds like Green Glue can be added between two rigid layers (such as 2 OSB plates). Each time the two layers are excited by sound, the wave will be absorbed by the glue and converted to heat. Which floor subfloor you choose depends on the type of floor. For example, ImpactOmat 5 is a cost-effective material that is easy to install but not easy to cut. It also has inconsistent quality with two rolls of the same product having differences in dimensions (thickness, width, length).

On the other hand, natural cork underlayment is twice as thick as ImpactOmat 5 and absorbs ground irregularities more effectively but is more expensive and crumbles if not handled with care. For uncompromising soundproofing, FloorMuffler UltraSeal is a great option. It is thinner (2 mm) than its competitors but has better sound absorption properties with an IIC rating of 25 and includes a vapor barrier. For an economical option, Silent Vapor Barrier 3-in-1 has almost all the qualities of its competitor with an IIC rating of 64 and is easy to cut and install. In conclusion, FloorMuffler UltraSeal is by far the best base for soundproofing laminate floors. It offers true quality gap and ease of installation at a slightly higher price than its competitors.

For rooms with less traffic like guest rooms or storage rooms, Silent Vapor Barrier 3-in-1 can be a good economical option.

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