How To Use Acoustic Underlay For Quieter Laminated Flooring

More and more people are realizing that when it comes to carpets and mats, cleanliness is a relative concept. You simply can’t get them as clean as wooden, tiled or laminated flooring and it is expensive and time consuming to keep them clean at all. As much as people love that soft, luscious feel of carpet pile under their feet when they walk, after a while many people turn towards the warmth of laminate as a low-cost, low-maintenance solution for their home. While laminate will resist moisture and won’t fade from ultra violet light, one downside is the way that it transmits sounds.

Why Is Laminated Flooring So Noisy?

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While laminated flooring is cost-effective and easy to keep spotless, it does easily transmit sound in a way that wood flooring does not. As people remove their carpets and rugs, they discover that laminated flooring makes people below you highly aware of your every move!  Impact noises such as footsteps travel very easily through laminated flooring and are easily transmitted through the flooring joists or concrete beneath. Laminated flooring also makes vibrations from stereos, appliances and even voices transfer easily down through the flooring below.

Impact Noise Or Airborne Noise?

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Before deciding whether acoustic underlay will help a specific noise problem, you need to have an idea of what is causing the noise. Impact noise, often referred to as footfall noise, comes from people’s shoes or items being dropped on the floor, while airborne noise comes from appliances such as stereos. As footfall noises produce much more energy per square inch than airborne noises from speakers, they are much harder to block. Acoustic underlay will help reduce the transmission of both types of sounds but your approach should take into consideration the noise source.

How Acoustic Underlay Works

The actual construction of underlay flooring varies between manufacturer but most companies use a combination of rubber and other materials such as foam or cork. Some underlays block sound from being transmitted and some acts like ‘springs’ to compress and oscillate the sounds waves, thus dispersing them and reducing the noise. To block sound waves you need mass and therefore some underlays utilize mass-loaded vinyl while underlays that disperse the sound are usually made from rubber. In both cases, the underlays are fitted under the laminated flooring.

How To Use Acoustic Underlay On Your Own Flooring

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If you need to reduce sound transmission on your own flooring, you should buy acoustic underlay and have it fitted under the laminated flooring. This is perfect if you have laminate in the upper floors of your own home and don’t want noises transmitted below. It also works great if you live in a condominium or apartment and have noise complaints from neighbors below or simply want a quieter living environment. Acoustic underlay is perfect for home theaters in any home.

Do You Need Serious Soundproofing?

Soundproofing your floor is an expensive route, but acoustic underlay can help with your project. You would glue the underlay directly onto the subfloor and use special soundproofing glue called ‘Green Glue’ if needs be. On top of the underlay, you will need two layers of plywood with copious amounts of Green Glue holding them together. Your laminate flooring is fitted on top of the plywood. Acoustic underlay is an essential part of your soundproofing project!

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