Flooring underlayment provides myriad benefits, including performance benefits like moisture protection and installation support to sound absorption. In recent years, products offering acoustical properties have gained popularity as they act as a natural sound wave absorber, thus preventing noises from reverberating off hard surfaces and even adding to indoor air quality.
Following is a sampling of some latest underlayment introductions with sound absorption:
Ardex/V 1200 self-leveling underlayment
Managing sound transmission is important in many situations from multi-family residential to commercial construction. The rise of thin-mil flooring allows sound to transfer through the floor, which creates a less-than-desirable experience for those in adjoining spaces. Ardex V 1200 is a cementitious underlayment that aids in reducing sound transfer between spaces. It was tested in accordance with ASTM E90, ASTM E492 and ASTM E2179.
Healthier Choice/ OmniChoice Vapor Bloc
OmniChoice acoustical underlayment is designed to reduce and control sound transmission between floors or surfaces. It works by employing high-density polyurethane acoustic foam to absorb, dampen or block sound waves, resulting in a quieter environment. OmniChoice comes with built-in Vapor Bloc Protection, which is becoming increasingly important for vinyl rigid core installations. OmniChoice Vapor Bloc is suitable for both moisture protection and noise reduction. It is approved for use under any vinyl rigid core product with an attached pad greater than 3.5mm in thickness.
Future Foam/My Name is Best
Available to The Dixie Group’s Premier Flooring Center (PFC) partners, My Name Is Best cushion from the Future Foam brand is a unique and exclusive formulation made from high-density virgin memory foam with extreme grind for comfort, conformity and long-lasting performance. Proprietary nylon film is used for impermeability to avoid spills soaking into cushion. Furthermore, it includes PetSolutions technology with moisture barrier to protect against pet accidents while preventing spills from reaching the subfloor.
Leggett & Platt/ Whisper Step
Whisper Step acoustical underlayment has proven to be a standout product, boasting an IIC Rating of 73 (virtually sound-proof, according to The International Building Code). The dense, synthetic rubber composition of Whisper Step makes it ideal for absorbing noise—whether it be airborne or impact noise. The composition is designed to retain its thickness over the life of the installation allowing it to continue providing the same noise control as the day it was installed.
Foam Products/Eco Silencer Infinity
The Eco Silencer Infinity, introduced at Surfaces 2023, is an acoustical moisture barrier designed to eliminate the need for 6-mil poly under pad-attached vinyl plank. The unique metalized film has a MVTR rating equivalent to 7-mil poly. The Eco Silencer polyurethane foam was added to the film to provide the acoustical moisture barrier feature. Infinity enables faster installation while providing acoustics that plastic sheeting cannot offer, according to the company. What’s more, the foam includes antimicrobial properties that prevent mold and mildew.
With a foam layer, the Performance Accessories Platinum Underlayment reduces sound transfer to other rooms. This product has an IIC Rating of 71 in the 3mm laminate version and an IIC of 72 in the 1.5mm LVT version. For every 10 points on the IIC chart, the sound is reduced by half. Additionally, its “lip and tape” construction means no additional tape for seams is needed. And its fan-fold design helps the product lay flat. The product also has a moisture barrier built in, adds R-value to the flooring and improves comfort underfoot.
GenieMat RST is a high-performing acoustic underlayment that architects trust. Backed by more than 1,000 ASTM acoustical laboratory tests, Pliteq offers code-compliant flooring assemblies using GenieMat RST on any structure with any finished floor: tile, wood, laminate and vinyl flooring. Pliteq engineers will provide necessary acoustical test data and project warranty letters. GenieMat RST is FloorScore certified, meeting requirements for VOC emissions.
Schönox Renotex 3D
Schönox provides acoustical subfloor options with and without adhering the materials to the substrate. The integrated Schönox Renotex 3D system creates a floating construction, utilizing 1/2-inch sound insulation sheets paired with the system’s Renotex 3D multi-dimensional glass fiber reinforcement fabric followed by Schönox AP Rapid Plus self-leveling compound with hybrid active-dry technology. Acoustical objectives are achieved along with a strong, smooth surface.
QuietBoard is a premium sound-deadening underlayment from MP Global. QuietBoard’s high-density fiber design specifically targets and reduces energy in the floor. Why is that important? Sound is energy. By attacking energy, QuietBoard is reducing the sound transmission and making the floor noticeably quieter. Not only does the energy reduction from QuietBoard aid in sound, but it also adds an entirely new level of comfort to the floor.
GroundWorks is an exceptional acoustical underlayment designed to provide optimum sound suppression over concrete or wood truss systems. It is Greenguard Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Certified, ensuring a healthy indoor environment. Compatible with radiant heat flooring, this underlayment extends the residential wear warranty by five years on Shaw LVP flooring. With options for both loose lay and glue installation methods, GroundWorks is a versatile choice for enhancing the performance and longevity of LVT/LVP flooring while also providing outstanding sound suppression.
The Sika AcouBond System incorporates direct bond technology with acoustic performance. Consisting of SikaLayer-03, a 3mm-thick proprietary foam mat and SikaBond-T53, a unique permanently elastic, sound-dampening adhesive, the Sika AcouBond System is used to bond wood flooring over plywood, concrete and other common subfloors. When combined, these solutions meet or exceed all IIC & STC building code requirements for sound control and help deliver the Sika Secure system, which includes a warranty equal to the lifetime of the floor.
Silently+ is the most innovative of WE Cork’s underlayment products. A two-in-one solution for engineered floating floors, it combines optimum sound control (IIC sound rating of 55) with a vapor barrier. Its cork + recycled rubber composition further distinguishes it as an environmentally friendly underlayment. The 2mm thickness also makes it a low profile, easy-to-install product. Although not a newcomer, the unique characteristics and economical price point of Silently+ put it at the forefront of offerings on the market.