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Acoustic Properties

Underlayment is a layer between a flooring system’s subfloor and surface covering. A high-performance underlayment protects and adds value to your floor over its life. While many benefits of underlayment involve compression resistance, thermal insulation and the ability to level a subfloor, one of the most significant advantages is reducing noise through its superior acoustic properties. 

Noise Reduction for Flooring

Soundproofing a floor involves reducing impact noise, which occurs when two objects bump into each other. This energy produces vibrations that transmit throughout the materials in a structure. Most people in residential settings think of these sounds as noise from someone walking on the floor above a space.

Because building codes often enforce strict noise requirements in apartment complexes, hotels, dormitories and other structures housing high volumes of people, property owners must utilize the appropriate noise reduction techniques to comply with these regulations. The primary goal of these codes is to promote the well-being of a building’s occupants by minimizing the amount of noise exposure.

Although many of these codes surround various types of noise volumes in a building, flooring solutions like high-performance underlayments can help reduce noise in the building’s structural elements by lowering a sound’s impact.

Critical Floor Underlayment Properties

Acoustic ratings define a flooring system’s ability to block noise. These ratings can be used to compare the acoustic performance of different floor-ceiling assemblies including underlayments. The most common acoustic properties that determine these ratings include:

  • Impact Insulation Class (IIC): IIC measures a ceiling or flooring system’s resistance to impact sound transmission. Examples of impact sounds include footsteps, something dragged on the floor or a fallen object. Flooring systems with high-performance acoustic underlayment typically have an IIC rating of over 70 decibels.
  • Sound Transmission Class (STC): STC rates a material’s capacity to block airborne noises like music, sounds from a television or human vocals. A flooring system with a high-quality underlayment can achieve an STC rating of over 62 decibels.
  • Delta Impact Insulation Class (ΔIIC): Delta IIC measures a floor system’s ability to reduce impact sound transmission compared to a concrete floor. Systems with premium acoustic underlayments typically produce a ΔIIC rating above 22 decibels.

The higher the acoustic rating, the better the flooring system minimizes sound transfer from one floor to the next. Independent lab tests simulating sound traveling through a building provide a baseline for these ratings. It’s critical to remember that the labs base their findings on the entire flooring system, not just the underlayment.

Choosing the Ideal Floor Underlayment

Although it can be challenging to find a quality underlayment that improves the flooring assembly’s acoustics to meet local noise regulations and building codes, floorMuffler® offers several underlayment solutions to meet these requirements. Other considerations that must be accounted for to achieve the desired acoustic ratings are the flooring type used, subfloor material, and structure of the ceiling assembly.

Several examples include:  

  • FloorMuffler® UltraSeal: FloorMuffler® UltraSeal is our most popular line of underlayment that exceed Uniform Building Codes, including our floorMuffler® UltraSeal HD with a 74-decibel IIC, 73-decibel STC and 25-decibel ΔIIC rating.
  • FloorMuffler® Encore: FloorMuffler® Encore improves acoustic performance on flooring systems with a pre-attached pad with an IIC rating of 69 decibels, an STC rating of 62 decibels and a ΔIIC rating of 22 decibels.
  • QuietCure®: QuietCure® exceeds requirements for Uniform Building Codes with a 71-decibel IIC and 66-decibel STC while offering a highly comfortable walking surface.
  • Natura: The Natura™ value grade underlayment improves the acoustic performance of your flooring system with a 69-decibel IIC and a 66-decibel STC. Natura’s professional grade successor, Natura Elite™, offers 70-decibel IIC, 65-decibel STC and 21-decibel ΔIIC ratings.
  • FloorMat™ FanFold: FloorMat™ FanFold exceeds requirements for Uniform Building Codes with a 72-decibel IIC and a 67-decibel STC while improving R-Value.

Where to Buy High-Performance Noise Reduction Underlayment

Whether you’re a property owner, contractor or board member of a homeowners association, there are many options around the country for purchasing floorMuffler® underlayments. We take pride in working with some of North America’s most recognized and dependable retailers, including Home Depot and Build Direct. All our exclusive distributors strive to provide solutions that deliver the reliable protection you need for many years.

Connect With the Professionals at FloorMuffler® Today

If you’re interested in learning more about which underlayment solution offers the ideal acoustic properties for your application’s needs, the experts at floorMuffler® can help. Learn why many home and business owners consistently choose floorMuffler® products over competing brands. Contact us today with questions or to request additional product information.