Vlog S2,E7 | Flooring Underlays | The Sounds of Silence

Sound and how sound travels through the air and various mediums is technical and complex. There is no simple cure-all single-step to achieving great acoustics as this requires a multifaceted approach. What we tackle in this particular vlog is bringing your attention to this complex topic, explaining the difference between structure-borne sound versus airborne sound and the role different underlays can play.

Your auditory expectation of your new floor needs to be fully clarified before you commence with your installation as sound reduction measures will impact the method and price of your install.

Underlays serve three functions when it comes to floating floor installations.
1. They even out the slight substrate undulations between the base of the floor board and the substrate surface.
2. The underlay naturally provides a soft cushion between the two hard surfaces preventing any crunchy sounds especially when the substrate is cementitious or gritty.
3. The all important acoustic benefit in deadening and limiting structure-borne sound i.e. sound travelling through the floor to surrounding or neighbouring rooms and dwellings.

In the vlog we cover four popular underlays commonly used in the South African market. Off camera we conducted a very rough non-scientific test documenting our perceived variances in decibel reduction (structure+airborne) for each product. These readings were recorded on the Decibel X Pro: dBA Noise meter.

Surface – Avg Reading
None – 62 dB
Aerothene – 59 dB
EVA – 58 dB
Rubber – 56 dB
Cork – 55 dB

As we mentioned in the vlog, if sound is important for your installation, seek out the advice of a professional service. We will be exploring this subject in greater detail in later videos.

Cape Town
South Africa