The purpose of a sound control floor underlayment is to decouple the finished floor surface from the sub-floor and ceiling assembly below, thus disrupting the path of structure borne noise, typically footfall.
Choosing the best sound control floor underlayment will depend on the type of flooring, the construction of the floor and ceiling assembly, and the purpose of the space. A dance studio above a retail store would obviously need more sound reduction than a residential application.
The effectiveness of a sound control floor underlayment is tested and measured in two ratings, IIC, (Impact Isolation Class), which measures a material's ability to reduce structure borne noise, and STC, (Sound Tranmission Class), which measures a material's ability to reduce airborne noise. A good sound control floor underlayment will be resilient enough to absorb impact without compressing over time, and heavy enough to increase the assembly's STC. Floor and ceiling assemblies in multi-family dwellings need to have an IIC and STC of at least 50. When choosing a sound control underlayment, never rely on general information published on web sites or data sheets. Always ask for and review certified test
reports from an accredited and independent test laboratory. It is important to know that the entire floor and ceiling assembly has to be tested in order to provide predictable performance in the field.
It is extremely important to follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly when installing sound control underlayments. The objective is to decouple the finished floor from the assembly below. Methods such as gypcrete over sound mat are commonly "short circuited" if the pour leaks through a seam and touches the sub-floor. It is also important to isolate the floor from the walls utilizing perimeter strips to prevent flanking noise. Also, any cracking in the gypcrete due to insufficient thickness will provide a path for airborne noise. Installing sound control underlayment directly under the flooring will prevent these pitfalls.
Recycled rubber polymer sound impact underlayments provide superior impact isolation as well as sufficient mass to increase STC and reduce airborne noise, and can be used under most flooring materials in both over and under slab applications. This product was invented and produced over forty years ago by German based, BSW, parent company of Regupol America® . Regupol Acoustics®, division of Regupol America®, is a leading innovator of sound control and vibration isolation products and maufacturer of SONUS™ High Performance Sound Control Underlayments. Regupol Acoustics® has published their independent test lab reports online providing engineers and architects the necessary data to specify the appropriate product for their project.
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