When it comes to choosing a floor finish, soundproofing is often not the first thing that comes to mind. However, it is an important factor to consider when selecting a base layer for soundproofing. There are a variety of soundproofed floor base products available, and the thickness of the base layer is an important factor to consider. Thicker lower layers will provide better soundproofing than thinner ones, but they can also be more expensive and difficult to install.
When it comes to carpets, major retailers usually offer a range of products based largely on different levels of comfort. Sound insulation is often mentioned with the most premium carpet base types, but it's not usually the key factor. For floor coverings such as laminate or artificial wood, soundproofing is likely to be a more important factor when choosing the base due to the possibility of transmission of impact sound, such as that of steps on hard floors. The standard options offered by retailers and many flooring suppliers are unlikely to offer levels of sound insulation far beyond the relatively basic ones.
But it's not just these types of floors that can benefit from an improved acoustic base layer. Impact sound often occurs when someone walks on the floor surface, especially hard surfaces such as tile, laminate and wood, but it is also due to moving furniture or falling or throwing objects on the floor. The result is that sound waves are transmitted through the material of the floor surface, the subfloor (whether they are concrete or wooden boards) and the ceiling, until they reach the lower room. The best performing base for vinyl floors is an acoustic felt, such as the one purposefully designed by our product team.
This type of material is perfect for vinyl, as it is thinner and less dense, so it revives much of the “rebound” you would experience with other materials when using vinyl. Luxury vinyl tiles require a thin base layer due to the nature of the way the tiles are connected and the material from which they are made. If the surface you're installing on is level and prepared correctly, you can consider a thin acoustic felt base to facilitate sound transmission. Most manufacturers of acoustic products design complete soundproofing solutions called systems.
These are specific materials that, when combined, can provide a better result with test data to demonstrate that they meet building regulations. You won't be restricted in terms of what type of floor finish you can use with an acoustic base or in soundproof mats. The only caveat is that some finishes require a plywood base to be placed before the mats or base are soundproofed. The soundproof bottom layer will protect other people from hearing you in your room and will help protect you from hearing other people outside the room.
An expected Delta IIC is 21 for an elastic material such as foam, fiber, or cork. For rooms with less traffic, such as a guest room, storage room, or dressing room, I prefer the silent 3-in-1 vapor barrier. For a higher frequency of passage in living rooms, kitchens, or children's bedrooms, I wouldn't hesitate to spend a few more and opt for FloorMuffler UltraSeal - by far the best base for soundproofing. Two of our bases offer drum noise isolation: Quickstep Unisound Combiflor (19 dB) and Quickstep Silent Walk (17 dB).
All of these acoustic bases and sound mats can easily place a rug directly on them. The soundproofing qualities of carpets are also not soundproofed in the same way as mats and soundproof mats. Due to how small and fragile tiles can be, you should not place them on soft padded bases (as are acoustic bases), as this increases the chance of them cracking and breaking.