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Underlayment: Eco-friendly materials give dealers ammunition to sell

July 9/16, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 2

By Nicole Murray

 

In keeping with offering customers a more environmentally friendly flooring package, underlayment manufacturers are developing the latest acoustical, sound-absorbing products out of various recycled materials, including fibers and rubber tires—to name a couple. These eco-friendly underlayments often tout low volatile organic compounds as well as indoor air quality and Greenguard certifications.

What’s more, these products are being created for various types of flooring—providing environmentally conscious options for all consumers. Following are a few of the latest green underlayments to hit the market.

Diversified Industries
The Floor Muffler One line from Diversified Industries is made from recycled rubber and tire crumbs. The product boasts high acoustical properties and is ideal for multi-unit, multi-floor and high-rise applications.

With Floor Muffler One, “sound travel, especially from floor to ceiling, is minimal; this gives multi-unit homes the allusion they are living in their own space with a sense of privacy,” said Colleen Gormley, national marketing coordinator.

What’s more, Floor Muffler One comes with an optional moisture barrier for below-grade applications. It can also be floated or glued down as well as put on top of all substrates and under all types of flooring.

“This is a fan favorite because it requires the installer to only bring one underlayment to the job site as opposed to many,” Gormley explained.

Also new is Diversified’s Eco Natura Elite, which is constructed in the U.S. from recycled needled fiber. It is deal for applications such as hospitality markets where temperature stabilization is a key consideration.

DriTac
DriTac Impact 8301 and Double Impact 8302 are the company’s latest eco-friendly polyurethane underlayments. The products complement the manufacturer’s adhesives, are compatible with radiant-heated floors and are part of the company’s Total Sound Reduction System.

DriTac Impact 8301 is 1mm thick and works best with LVT and resilient products. Double Impact 8302, which is 2mm thick, is geared toward wider boards and thicker materials such as hardwood or laminate flooring. Both products have very low VOCs, are hypoallergenic and are mold, mildew and bacteria resistant. They also boast high impact isolation and sound abatement with respect to typical floor to ceiling sound travel.

“Our entire package is green from top to bottom,” said Wade Verble, vice president of underlayment and business development. “There is only one source to question for any issues, and because there is no ability to finger point another source, issues [are kept to a minimum].”

Ecore
Ecore has combined its environmentally friendly underlayment, EcoSilence, and new luxury vinyl tile collection, Attain, to create AttainSilence, a resilient flooring system available in five configurations. The aim is to solve common acoustical challenges associated with multifamily or hospitality environments.

Then there’s EcoSilence, available in 2mm and 5mm thicknesses—ideal for wood—and also a 10mm option, which works best under tile. The underlayment is created by turning ground-up recycled rubber truck tires into underlayment.

“Rubber is the perfect material because its quality never fades,” said Bob Racioppi, director of sales commercial products portfolio. “So instead of existing in a landfill forever, the material is being put to good use.”

EcoSilence can be installed under virtually any type of finished flooring, has a crack isolation up to 1⁄8-inch and is compatible with radiant heat flooring systems.

Healthier Choice
SoundSolution and OmniChoice are acoustical underlayments made with soy-based polyurethane as well as other natural, recycled resources. Both products are Greenguard Gold certified for indoor air quality, contain anti-microbials and are hypoallergenic.

“These underlayments are protected from top to bottom,” said Andrew Stafford, director of marketing. “The microbials are infused while the products are in a liquefied state, which means it is practically impossible for mold, bacteria or mildew to grow after the flooring has been installed.”

Sound Solution is best used with laminates, engineered woods and hardwoods; and OmniChoice is designed to go under ceramic, stone, vinyl and wood. In addition, both OmniChoice and SoundSolution come with a “never crush” guarantee, which states the products will maintain 90% of their thickness. Consumers are also given the option of adding a Vapor Bloc, which is a laminated moisture barrier for an extra layer of protection.

MP Global
Quiet Walk Plus is the latest iteration of MP Global’s signature Quiet Walk brand of underlayments. The product made from small pieces of blue jean, carpet, cotton and polyester fibers, which are often too short to use in the manufacturing process and would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

“We have developed a patented process of repurposing what normally would have been deemed as trash into a high-performing underlayment product,” said Deanna Summers, marketing coordinator. “MP Global is repurposing 20 tons of raw materials a day because what others see as garbage, we see as a flooring opportunity.”

Quiet Walk Plus also touts acoustical features, compression resistance, moisture protection and longevity. It is also certified for low chemical emission and has just recently been Indoor Air Quality certified with Greenguard and Greenguard Gold standards.

“This material can be nailed, floated or glued down, and it can be paired with a range of products including vinyl planking or WPC products,” Summers explained.

Schönox
Schönox’s signature “manmade gypsum” technology is twice as hard as concrete, doesn’t promote the growth of mold or mildew, and doesn’t shrink or crack, according to the company. This technology can be poured over all types of substrates and is found in Schönox’s AP and APF leveling compounds.

Products containing the synthetic gypsum leveling compounds have been verified for LEED credits including low-emitting material, building reused and recycled content. Another benefit is a minimal amount of dust emits when poured into a barrel.

“There is less mess and less time spent because this technology is made to go over the worst of the worst,” said Doug Young, executive vice president.

Schönox’s Hybrid Active Dry technology combines the speed and temperature tolerance of cement with the versatility of synthetic gypsum to form a fast and strong underlayment.

AP Rapid, which contains this technology, can be poured up to ½ inch. The product has low shrinkage and allows for flooring to be laid down approximately six hours after it’s poured.

WE Cork
WE Cork’s Warm & Quiet and Warm & Quiet Plus are made of cork from the bark of trees, which means these products have no off gassing, renew themselves every nine years and are moisture resistant.

Warm & Quiet is an 1⁄8-inch thick and is lighter than rubber underlayment of the same size weight. It is best used under laminates or in situations where thermal installation and sound control is required.

“You won’t hear residents walking or high heels clicking,” said Ann Wicander, president. “This product can even make a fake floor sound real. The density absorbs the reverberation of footsteps so the sound does not travel within the room or from floor to ceiling.”

Warm & Quiet Plus is ¼-inch thick and should be paired with laminates and hardwood floors. It is best suited for multifamily and second-story applications.