Underlayment: Latest products offer the silent treatment

In today’s work-home environments, silence is indeed golden. The age-old expression is especially relevant today as more people are working from home and need a more comfortable and quiet environment. That’s where sound-absorbing padding and acoustic underlayment products excel. These essential installation products not only reduce sound transmission from room to room, but also from the ceiling to the floor below in multi-family applications.

From eco-friendly foam and cork to other recycled materials, homeowners and end users have plenty of options for underlayments. Below is a sampling of the latest sound-absorbing underlayments available today:

acoustic underlayFoam products

Foam Products offers two premium acoustic subfloors designed to meet all noise reduction requirements for HOA and high-rise buildings. The first is the Eco Ultimate Silencer acoustic underlay, which is suitable for laminate, bamboo, hardwood planks and engineered wood. The Eco Ultimate Silencer is not only 100% recyclable and environmentally friendly, but also features Crushpruf technology that resists dents. The product is also suitable for use with radiant heat floors and contains antimicrobial properties.

Next up is Silencer LVT, which is designed for use with all vinyl plank floors. Like Eco Ultimate Silencer, this acoustic underlay product is 100% recyclable and contains antimicrobial properties. Both products are Greenguard certified and made from high density polyurethane foam and renewable vegetable oils.

acoustic underlayHealthier choice

OmniChoice Acoustical Underlayment is designed to reduce unwanted noise by up to 22 decibels. This proprietary high-density polyurethane acoustic foam achieves sound absorption due to its high solids content compared to lighter foams. OmniChoice works under vinyl plank, laminate, composite wood, solid hardwood, ceramic tile, stone floors and is compatible with a variety of substrates.

“Laminate and vinyl have pre-attached pads that lack the essential features that Healthier Choice foams provide,” said Andrew Stafford, Healthier Choice vice president of marketing and technical services.

MP Global

Originally designed as an underlayment aid when replacing an old floor covering, FloorLyft from MP Global adds support to the floor above and offers high acoustic and insulating values. This 6mm thick cladding is ideal for multi-family homes such as apartments or condominiums to dampen impact and floor-to-ceiling sounds and reduce sound transmission to the rooms below.

“This absorption of impact energy, including sound energy, can make living spaces more harmonious to live in and floors to feel firmer and more comfortable underfoot,” said Deanna Summers, marketing and account manager, MP Global.

In side-by-side testing, FloorLyft’s recycled fiber content has been shown to absorb far more impact energy than products made from foam, Summers said. In addition to its powerful, sound-absorbing capabilities, FloorLyft can also be used as a “booster” to lift vinyl floors to close unwanted gaps between the floor and the cladding.

acoustic underlaySika-Dritac

The 8400 EnviroTread Series from Sika-Dritac is designed to provide a high level of noise control against unwanted sound transmission while improving foot sound performance. Available in 2mm, 5mm and 10mm versions, this high quality rubber underlayment can be used for both bonded and floating installations of carpet, ceramic tile, laminate, hardwood and more. It is recycled from up to 100% post-consumer waste and is VOC compliant. In addition, Dritac’s 8402, 8405 and 8410 have anti-crease properties and reduce minor irregularities in the subfloor.

We Cork

WE Cork’s Soundless and Soundless+ is a high-density cork underlayment designed to provide better sound control for a variety of installations, including ceramic tile, stone, porcelain and more. “This is especially important for high-rise apartments where noise control is important with strict building codes and condo association requirements,” said Tina Crossland, national sales manager at WE Cork.

Due to its cell structure, this product never loses its shape and has 200 million trapped air cells in every cubic inch, adding to its acoustic capabilities. In addition to sound control, WE Cork’s Soundless and Soundless+ provide tile crack insulation, thermal insulation and underfoot comfort. It is resistant to mold and mildew, contains no harmful chemicals and is easy to install due to its light weight. “This is a product that you really feel good about,” said Crossland.

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