Flooring underlay for noise reduction

When considering which flooring we’d like in our home it’s usually all about aesthetics, right? The only thing I’m really concerned with is if my choice of timber flooring suits my homes style and décor. But if we’re really serious about getting the best out of our floors, we need to consider what lies beneath (the underlay) and how this impacts on noise levels. Especially if we’re a multi-story dwelling or renovating within a unit block.

Stop the noise!

There’s higher frequency noise, that comes from music, phones ringing and people talking. This can be controlled by the mass of the floor system, and with timber floors over concrete slabs this generally provides sufficient control as not to cause a noise problem. Lower frequency vibrations relates to noise from foot fall and sub-woofer entertainment systems.

To control the low frequency vibrations, shock absorbing acoustic underlays play an important role to reduce noise transmission to an acceptable level. However, the choice of underlay and system used will also depend on many factors including the type of flooring, slab thickness, ceiling heights and the type of ceiling system beneath. Having flooring contractors or builders that understand and can comply with any building codes or your specified noise reducing requirements is an important part of getting this right.

The (under)lay of the land

In the market there are many products and systems which range from thin foam underlays, applied products that provide acoustic benefits and various shapes and thicknesses of often rubber based underlays. Some are applicable to floating floor installations while others are for stick down applications.

Here we get a bit technical, but with this you’ll have a bit of prior knowledge when it comes to discussing your flooring choice with your supplier.

You’ve got choices

Acoustic underlays come in different densities and materials to cater for all flooring types however it is also important to understand that higher or lower density does not necessarily relate to performance characteristics. For example, composite products of cork and rubber will have a lower density than straight rubber-based products but particle size and composition are also important. Ultimately, what is necessary is to achieve the required noise reduction and the acoustic underlay, although an important part of the solution, it is one of a number of aspects that will affect the design.

Foam underlay with floating floors

This method is used with floating engineered, laminate and bamboo floors:



Adhesive fixed underlay

This method is used with floating engineered, laminate and bamboo floors and adhesive fixed engineered and parquetry floors. Do not use a sealant at skirtings with floating floors but maintain a gap.

Adhesive fixed underlay and adhesive fixed plywood subfloor

This method is used with adhesive fixed engineered, parquetry and solid timber floors.

To find out more about flooring underlays or flooring options, visit our one of showrooms or contact the Mint Floors + Shutters team.