What type of flooring is best for soundproofing?
If you are looking to soundproof between floors, there are various product options available and it isn’t always easy to judge which is most suitable because a number of fundamental parameters may affect the answer.
Soundproofing requires the imposition of a barrier. You can place that barrier under the floor (which of course means the ‘ceiling’, if downstairs), and use acoustic insulation fabrics accordingly. You could even add a false ceiling to provide and accommodate that barrier. For more information on these options, speak to our partners Cellecta, who are specialists in all forms of acoustic insulation. But here we will focus only on floor surface options, which by themselves should resolve most noise issues and also cover any building regulatory requirements. They are also a lot easier to implement.
Any floor surface solution still requires a barrier – a barrier that can protect against the two types of indoor noise pollution; ‘airborne’ and ‘impact’ (see our other blogs for the difference). That means a composite material, part of which should be high density (weight by volume). So your typical softwood floorboards aren’t going to cut it. That means simply replace them for those with wooden floors. But not everybody has wooden floors. And even if they do, then many of us may not want to replace the original boards. We may want to add our barrier on top.
What type of floor and flooring situation?
Either way, the FIRST QUESTION to ask, is what type of floor and flooring situation you are facing. And for wooden floors, are you happy to replace with direct-to-joist solution or wanting to lay onto an existing ‘sub-floor’?
If direct to timber joist, we recommend a composite board, which offers some moisture resistance for those inevitable spillages that happen over time. Our product is the DECKfon Quattro 39, which provides excellent acoustic performance and can take any subsequent floor finish on top – be that further timber (such as oak) or laminate boards, or screeding for tile, or simply carpet.
If laying a barrier onto an existing floor, timber, concrete or steel, you should choose between a specialist acoustic mat which is very easy to lay, and onto which you can add further boards or carpet, or composite high-density acoustic boarding that vary in thickness according to need (and able to take further boards or carpet on top), or specialist acoustic screed boards that allow for and facilitate future tiled surface.
Which Acoustic Flooring is Best?
At Lawsons, we offer all three 3 options from one of UK’s leading acoustic manufacturer, Cellecta:
- DECKfon 15 mat. Very easy, roll on, 15mm thick, high-density composite mat offering high acoustic performance. Takes carpet or wooden floor finish on top.
- DECKfon 17T, 26T, or 30T Composite moisture resistant overlays, with 3 thickness levels for increasing high performance acoustic protection. Quick and easy T&G installation. No nails needed! But you will want glue.
- Screedboard 28. High-density composite platform, which accepts all types of floor finish, including tiles.
In all instances, we also recommend YELOfon perimeter strips. These separate the edge of the floor from the wall to prevent ‘flanking’ noise escaping into and down walls. (See other blogs or our FAQs for explanation)
Another floor-type is that which accommodates underfloor heating and requires a highly conductive, thermally efficient overlay as well as any required acoustic performance. Our easy-install ScreedBoard 20 combines composite, high-density acoustic protection with low thermal resistance for fast reacting, cost saving heating capability. These screed boards are suitable for all types of steel, concrete and timber floors. The completed boarded floor looks like screed and will directly accept tiles – or any other surface-floor finish.
Another factor to consider in final selection is the thickness of any overlays, board or mat. This might be important to room height or the level of adjacent rooms or hallways. Alongside this variable comes acoustic reduction performance. Is it sufficient to achieve any required regulatory performance as well as achieving any required reduction in already anticipated noise intrusion. Claimed effectiveness, testing, and accreditation should also be carefully considered.
If you know the type and extent of noise you want to reduce, this can also influence your decisions. For more information about noise and noise types, see our other blogs. Essentially barriers need to be of different density to reduce or block different amplitudes of sound. For that reason, composite barriers are important. For major noise intrusion, which exceed what conventional single barriers might achieve, we would suggest you discuss this directly with the experts as solutions might need to involve multiple or structural treatments. If so, call Cellecta our specialist noise insulation partner on 01634 296677.
If the critical factor is what’s best for floor finish, most acoustic solutions including all our boards and mats, will accommodate carpet. Many will also allow for hardwood boards on top. But for tiles, a simple solution are screed boards, which both make subsequent tiling easier as well as providing acoustic insulation benefits.
For more details on the range of acoustic flooring products we offer (and can deliver, for free within M25) visit www.acousticflooringinsulation.co.uk . If you need more help choosing between the acoustic over-floor and direct-to-joist boards we offer at Lawsons, call us on 01727 226666.