When choosing new types of flooring, whether laminate flooring, vinyl, carpets or anything else, making sure that your choice of floor finish does not create a noise nuisance around the home or for adjacent properties is probably not the first thing we will think about. However, taking steps to soundproof your floor by carefully considering the type of underlay you use at the planning stage can make a massive difference to the overall result, as Hush Acoustics explains…
You could be forgiven for not realising that there are plenty of acoustically insulating flooring underlay products available. When buying new floorcoverings, particularly from one of the large national retailers, their underlay options are likely to be determined by factors other than their soundproofing capabilities.
With carpets, retailers will usually provide an underlay range based largely on different levels of comfort level – the more you pay, the more plush the carpet will feel. Acoustic insulation is often mentioned with more premium types of carpet underlay, but it is not usually the key factor.
For floor coverings such as laminate or engineered wood, soundproofing is likely to be a more important factor when it comes to the choice of underlay, largely because of the potential for impact sound transmission such as footsteps on hard floors. However, the standard options provided by retailers and many flooring suppliers are unlikely to offer much beyond relatively basic levels of acoustic insulation.
But it is not just these types of flooring that can benefit from an enhanced acoustic underlay. Floors created using LVT (luxury vinyl tiles), ceramic tiles, sheet vinyl, stone, Flotex, and marble can all use underlay designed to reduce sound transmission. Some types of underlay can also be used with underfloor heating (UFH), although here some thought may also need to go into whether the timber joists need treatment too.
The acoustically insulating floor underlay options available from Hush Acoustics offer a major step-up from the standard products. They are purpose-designed to minimise impact sound by creating a resilient layer to stop sound waves.
Impact sound often results when someone walks across a floor surface, especially hard surfaces like tiles, laminate and wood, but it will also stem from furniture being moved or items being dropped or thrown on the floor. The result is that sound waves transmit through the floor surface material, the sub-floor – whether concrete or timber floorboards – and the ceiling, and into the room below.
Many Hush Acoustics products are rubber-based and supplied on a roll, offering some important benefits in addition to reducing impact sound. The rubber will ensure the underlay’s compression over time will be very limited and it is relatively thin to avoid the finished floor level being too high.
Hush Underlay for Vinyl Flooring, for example, is supplied in thicknesses of 3mm, 4.5mm and 5mm, providing impact sound ratings of between 18dB and 21dB accordingly. Manufactured using a mix of post-consumer rubber and cork, it is a product that many people having vinyl flooring fitted may not think about, but it can enhance this type of floor covering by being remaining continually elastic throughout its lifespan.
Another popular solution is Hush FFR Acoustic Rubber Underlay, a product that is manufactured from recycled rubber designed for use with both soft and hard flooring. It is available in a greater range of thicknesses from 3mm to 12mm, offering the potential to be used with many different types of floor coverings.
For anyone seeking the highest levels of soundproofing from their floor underlay, Hush Mat 15 offers the ideal solution. This uniquely engineered acoustic rubber mat ensures superior acoustic performance is achieved thanks to its high levels of mass, which in turn contributes to airborne sound reduction as well as for impact sound – not normally the case with acoustic flooring.
As a result, Hush Mat 15 – sold in mats as the name suggests sized 1200mm x 1000mm – is able to offer excellent sound reduction ratings of 49dB (L’nT,w) for impact sound and 57dB (DnT,w) for airborne sound (when used as part of the correct system).
A non-rubber underlay option also available from Hush Acoustics is Hush Lay 11m a high performing jute felt underlay. Perfect for used as an impact sound reducing layer under carpets or solid timber flooring, its unique density ensures the reduction of footfall noise transference from the final floor finish to the structure. It is also quick and easy to install solution in domestic properties.
Hush Mat 15 is also at the core of a fully tested system from Hush Acoustics which provides a specification to achieve soundproofing for a separating floor with confidence. The HD1049 Hush Mat 15 RB system brings together the resilient layer of the mat with Hush-Slab 100 sound absorber slabs fitted into the ceiling voids and a ceiling created using resilient bars and Soundbloc plasterboards.
This is ideal for use in refurbishment and conversion projects where there is scope to treat both the floor and ceiling below, providing a thin floor and ceiling construction that still complies with the acoustic requirements of all UK Building Regulations.
It is extremely important to get the acoustic insulation right when deciding which types of floorcoverings to use to prevent nuisance noise. With the range of solutions available from Hush Acoustics, we have the products and systems to help you achieve the improvements you are seeking.
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