Sound Control Products Make a Difference in Flooring Installations from Large to Small
September 7, 2011
Sound control is an important part of all professional flooring installations. A wide assortment of sound control underlayments, mats and membranes are available to help eliminate unwanted noise. NFT spoke with retailers, contractors, specifiers, installers and sales reps of several sound control products companies to learn about the products they select and the projects they use them in.
Bill Brown, owner of Arvada, Colo.-based Gypsum Floors of Denver, uses sound control products including Keene Building Products’ Quiet Qurl family of underlayments. He said the products are ideal because of their entangled filament construction.
“Entangled filament is 97 percent air, and the energy [from an impact sound] has to go through that air. So it disconnects whatever sound you are concerned about. The material also offers resiliency, which also helps disconnect the sound from traveling below,” he said.
He added that for flooring, people are mostly concerned about the ratings for impact (IIC – impact insulation class) as opposed to airborne sound (STC – sound transmission class). IIC is for things like footfalls and pets running across a floor, whereas STC is for airborne sounds including voices and music that can travel through walls.
Brown noted that the dimensions for sound control products specified vary based on the project. “Quite typically the systems being used in new construction are 1” gypsum concrete over a 1/4” sound mat. But in some installations, it’s getting to the point of a 1/4” sound mat and 1 1/4” of gypsum, and sometimes even more,” Brown explained. “For example, in lofts where residents like to see exposed wood timbers, you’ve really got to work to adjust the acoustics properly.”
Chip Pringle, president of Carpet One Floor & Home in Taylors, S.C., recommends RB Rubber Products’ Silent Tread XL acoustical underlayment to his customers.
“Lots of people complain about hearing echoes when walking on laminate flooring. This product alleviates that; it’s a really thick product and gives you more of a solid feel when you are walking on the laminate,” he said.
Pringle noted that he and his salespeople almost always initiate the conversation about using the underlayment. “We explain the benefit of using it and explain to them the thickness gives it a more solid feel, like walking on a real wood floor. Of course, for someone looking for the cheapest products they can find, they can buy a cheaper underlayment. But for a quality installation, this product is all we recommend.”
According to Brian Moffitt, Big D Floor Covering Supplies sales manager, his customers often purchase Ecore International’s QTscu sound control underlayment. The recycled rubber mat is chosen partly because it offers “a huge amount of test data, which makes it a lot easier to go to bat with,” Moffitt noted.
“We’ve sold this product on jobs from small to large. Sometimes it’s just one roll. Sometimes it’s up to 4 truckloads. It varies that much.”
He added that the product offers easy installation. “As long as you follow the instructions, you won’t have an issue,” Moffitt stated. “We’ve never had a claim or job inspection after the fact, from the installation of this product.”
Ruel Miles, president of Pioneer Construction Management based in Hollywood, Fla., said his company uses products including Laticrete 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive. “I like it because it’s a single-component system, which reduces the risks of failure and finger-pointing.”
He noted that he has used the product in a wide array of installations, including a recent 500,000 sq. ft. project in a three-story multifamily property. “It’s a product I’m familiar with and the single-component aspect works exceptionally well for the guys out in the field,” Miles said.
Single-component products are making the installation of sound control products more convenient, according to Scott Benavent, a MAPEI sales representative for south Florida. MAPEI’s Mapeguard 2 crack isolation and sound reduction membrane has been specified for projects ranging from about 1,000 sq. ft., to a new 30,000 sq. ft. installation at Miami International Airport.
“People want crack suppression and sound control in a product that’s lightweight and easy to install,” Benavent said. “Also, we have our sound ratings numbers printed on the sheet membrane, so it gives our customers confidence in what they are getting.”
Patty Velez, Custom Building Products sales representative for the Miami area, said her customers usually specific 5 mil EasyMat underlayment. “The projects usually range from about 50,000 sq. ft. to 100,000 sq. ft.,” she added.
She noted that her customers choose EasyMat because it is easy to install, offers a competitive price point, and features excellent technical support for contractors “before, during and after the project is completed.”
According to Jack Boesch, MP Global Products’ marketing dir., his customers choose both QuietWalk underlayment for floating floors and Insulayment for glue- or nail-down hardwood floors. “Our products are usually specified in large projects, like high-rises and condominiums,” he added.
He said a major selling point of the products is they are derived from recycled fibers from the textile and carpet industries. QuietWalk features 94 percent recycled fiber and Insulayment offers 100 percent recycled fiber, according to Boesch.
The products have also been certified to SCS Indoor Air Advantage Gold. “This indoor air quality certification clears the way for our products to be used in government facilities, hospitals and schools,” Boesch added.