Sound-deadening padding provides noise-control solutions
September 3/10, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 6
By Reginald Tucker
In today’s fashion-centric world of flooring, a lot of emphasis is placed on style and design. But it’s important to not overlook what lies beneath the flooring—specifically underlayments. Not only can these innovative, functional products extend the life of the flooring materials they support, but they also provide numerous benefits for end users, especially noise suppression.
Centaur Sound Reducer is a composition rubber sound-control underlayment engineered for use directly under most floor finishes. Available in 48-inch-wide rolls and a variety of standard and custom thicknesses, Sound Reducer yields exceptional impact sound insulation results, even under hard surface flooring for concrete or wood-framed construction. Sound Reducer is backed by more than 400 independent laboratory and field tests.
Also available with a waterproof membrane, Sound Reducer can be installed under most types of grouted, glued and floating floors, including hard tile, hardwood, engineered wood, laminate, LVT and carpet. Product installs easily and is compatible with radiant heat systems.
FloorMuffler Ultraseal has been the gold standard for flooring underlayment, offering the highest sound ratings in the industry for the past 14 years. The polypropylene formula used to create FloorMuffler not only provides optimal sound abatement attributes, but it also features a built-in moisture barrier. FloorMuffler is an all-in-one underlayment for use under laminate, engineered and solid hardwood flooring and boasts IIC ratings up to (74) dB, an STC up to (73) dB and a delta IIC up to (25) dB.
FloorMuffler LVT Ultraseal is also made of polypropylene. The product is 1mm thick, providing a more dense product for use under luxury vinyl tiles and planks and boasts IIC ratings up to (71) dB, an STC up to (66) dB and a delta IIC up to (25) dB.
DriTac introduces DriTac 8501 RecycUL, a sound and moisture control felt underlayment for glue-down, floating and nail-down wood and laminate flooring installations. Made from 100% recycled fibers, this thick plastic moisture barrier provides enhanced acoustical abatement and can be used for the installation of multi-ply engineered plank, solid plank, bamboo and more. American made, RecycUL provides moisture vapor blocking technology, with improved foot-fall sound performance.
DriTac also offers two premium-grade foam acoustical abatement underlayments: DriTac 8301 Impact for resilient floor installations and DriTac 8302 Double Impact for wood and laminate floor installations. Both provide enhanced acoustical abatement properties and a total sound reduction system when used with approved DriTac flooring adhesives.
Foam Products introduced one of the first acoustical underlayments, The Silencer, back in the mid 1990s. Today, it produces premium acoustical underlayments for all laminates, wood and vinyl plank flooring using the Silencer brand name.
The company offers Eco Ultimate Silencer/Eco Silencer HD FOF premium acoustical underlayments for use with laminates, bamboo, engineered wood and hardwoods. They are intended to reduce noise transmission in two- to three-story residential homes, condos, apartments or other high-rise buildings. This product has acoustical ratings of up to IIC 73, STC 70 and Delta IIC 22, depending on the subfloor and installed flooring composition. These acoustical underlayments eliminate the hollow, “clicky” sounds inherent in many laminate floors.
Silencer LVT premium acoustical underlayment is designed for a range of vinyl plank flooring products (LVT/LVP/WPC), including the 2mm – 3mm glue-down planks used in many apartments. This underlayment has all the sound control, acoustical rating and moisture protection benefits available with the aforementioned Eco Silencer products while adding comfort underfoot when walking on the thinner vinyl planks. The Silencer LVT is extra dense to protect the thin locking edges on the vinyl planks from breaking.
Foam Products’ underlayments are constructed to minimize the noise associated with hard surface flooring and are GreenGuard Gold certified. Foam Products’ underlayments are made with high-density polyurethane foam, which rebounds from applied pressure and is designed to last the lifetime of the installed flooring.
Laticrete Fracture Ban is a high-performance, pliable, lightweight, peel-and- stick membrane designed for use under thin-bed adhesives for ceramic tile, stone and other hard surface installations. This reinforced, high-strength membrane performs as a crack isolation and an acoustical underlayment system that eliminates the transmission of stresses from the substrate, while dampening the transmission of impact and airborne noise through the floor to the room below.
Laticrete 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive is a superior crack prevention/sound isolation adhesive mortar designed to achieve high Delta IIC ratings and independently tested to ASTM E2179. Laticrete’s 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive provides sound transmission protection while simultaneously protecting the surface finish from any cracking in the substrate. Equipped with lightweight technology and reinforced with Kevlar to provide maximum strength and durability, 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive is an alternative to time-consuming, thin-set membrane or mat combinations and allow for a more cost-effective tile and stone installation.
QuietWalk Plus, MP Global’s signature underlayment, literally does it all. It is versatile in its application and can be used under floating, nail-down and glue-down floors. QuietWalk Plus is made from recycled fibers in a patented process that offers excellent sound reduction at a very affordable upgrade option when compared to cork and rubber options. The product is popular in high-rise multifamily applications as it helps diminish the transfer of impact and airborne noises from traveling to rooms below. IIC ratings are 71 dB and STC 66).
QuietWalk Plus also boasts a factory-attached vapor barrier, which protects hard surface floors against harmful moisture emissions found in concrete subfloors.
Insulayment, a cousin to QuietWalk, is made from the same recycled materials, but is denser and offers more support under glue- and nail-down hardwood applications. It has good sound ratings as well and boasts an FIIC of 60 and STC of 53, making it suitable for multifamily and single-family dwellings. Due to their fiber makeup, both Insulayment and QuietWalk products inherently offer insulation value, and there are no harmful off-gassing or VOCs. Furthermore, the products are GreenGuard certified.
WE Cork’s latest addition to its family of sound-control products is WECU Silently-LVT, a high-density rubber and cork underlayment specifically designed for use under glue-down LVT. WECU products are ideal for use in single-family homes as a better and best upgrade under flooring for step sound within the room as well as transmitting sound from rooms above. WE Cork has also test results using the DELTA IIC ratings, with performance up to Delta 26.
WE Cork’s cornerstone product is WECU-Soundless (1⁄4 inch) and Soundless+ (1⁄2 inch), one of the most dense cork underlayments on the market. It is ideal for use directly under ceramic tile and stone with an IIC rating of 53 dB, based on laboratory testing for 6-inch concrete structure (without suspended ceiling) and one of the highest performing products on the market. WECU-Soundless products also meet or exceed building code requirements in wood-joist buildings for use under hardwood and stone flooring.
WE Cork also offers Warm&Quiet (1⁄8) and Warm&Quiet+ (1⁄4), a medium- density product line for use under hardwood and carpeting. WECU-Warm&Quiet+ provides an IIC 59 rating under hardwood and significant thermal insulation as well.
Roberts Consolidated Industries, a division of QEP, offers SoundBarricade Universal Sound Control Underlayment featuring advanced rubber foam technology that delivers enhanced sound absorption and antimicrobial protection. The ratings are IIC 69, STC 63, Delta 25 under luxury vinyl tiles and plank, and IIC 68, STC 63, Delta 22 under laminate and wood products.
Schönox TS improves impact sound insulation by up to 17 dB. This impact sound insulating underlayment is available in a thickness of just 1⁄8 of an inch. Schönox TS is made of cork and recycled urethane granules for sound reduction and provides additional thermal insulation as well. It is suitable for installation under resilient floor coverings such as vinyl and cushioned vinyl or carpet. It’s also made for all wood flooring, floating laminate floors or on wood substrates such as plywood, oriented strand board or well-bonded floor coverings such as ceramic.