Keeping Up Appearances
Good underlay has several benefits for carpets, especially helping to improve appearance retention and reduce flattening:
Beacons Products says the two most important features of underlay for rigid flooring as:
1) Spot levelling: The underlay must provide a minimum of 1.5mm thickness between the floor to be laid and the subfloor for the life of the floor; this is when it is fully loaded; and
2) Joint protection: All underlay must not deflect by more than 0.5mm to protect the joints from premature wear with a minimum value of 20kpa.
If the underlay fails in these two basic functions, then any other properties such as acoustic or thermal insulation will become meaningless, says the company.
It adds that cellular materials are not designed to compress by more than 20%; otherwise the cells become damaged and the properties of the underlay start to fail; it will then loose its thickness and subsequently all of its properties.
The Acoustalay range established for over 20 years was reportedly the first underlay for rigid floors produced in the UK with transmitted sound reduction from 16-22db.
Laminates: Acoustalay is fully tested to the requirements of the EPLF (European Producers of laminate flooring) so when fully loaded does not compress by more than 10%.
That means the performance of the underlay is maintained for the life of the floor with a 10 year guarantee.
Solid woods: Acoustalay has been working with the natural flooring association since it was founded in the mid ‘90s
Underlays that have not been tested or do not state the maximum loading capacity have probably either not been tested or failed to achieve the required standard and therefore should be avoided, says Beacons Products.
The company’s Acoustalay range has a loading capacity from 200kg/sq m to 3500kg/sq m. www.acoustalay.co.uk
Interfloor describes its Duralay Durafit as the market leader in double stick underlays for over 25 years and is still widely recognised as the solution for contract installations.
The Durafit System is a double stick system comprising Durafit crumb rubber underlay, Stikatak STK 900 double stick carpet adhesive and STK950 double stick tackifier.
The Durafit System is claimed to considerably improve the dimensional stability of the carpet due to the additional weight and horizontal stiffness which result from the combination of carpet and underlay.
It is also said to help to prevent ‘rucking’ and the inconvenience and costs associated with re-stretching.
The end product can be compared with a very large tile, in effect a room-sized ‘macrotile’, which is highly resilient and comfortable to walk on.
Durafit is manufactured in the UK from recycled crumb rubber and is described as a dense 400kg/cu m underlay. It is rated as suitable for heavy contract use (HC/U BS5808) and, like all crumb rubber underlays, provides 100% recovery.
Durafit is suitable for commercial installations where wheeled traffic is likely, as well as for natural flooring, and for creating high quality borders and intricate patterns. www.interfloor.com
Kährs states that its wood flooring provides a surface suitable for acoustic application.
Combining the cellular features of timber, with Kährs’ board construction and Woodloc joint, is said to give a precise, flush installation with natural sound dampening qualities. For acoustic applications, Kährs’ flooring can be installed floating or adhered to the subfloor.
In floating applications, boards should be laid close to a dense subfloor and separated by a correct foam underlay, says the company.
Kährs’ accessories range includes special 2mm ‘drum sound’ underlay and high performance Tuplex, with combined acoustic and moisture benefits.
In applications where a flush installation can’t be achieved, boards can be glued to the subfloor to reduce any hollow sound.
In this way, Kährs says its multi-layered construction is designed to perform in the same way as a solid floor, with its engineered construction providing additional benefits in terms of stability and eco-credentials. www.kahrs.co.uk
QA Flooring has introduced a ‘Simply Better’ company ethos, which is said to be driving a new approach to choosing the correct underlay for an installation.
The company’s latest innovation is the Traffilay three-step underlay selector. It is designed to enable consumers, retailers and contractors to choose the best underlay for the installation by following the three step system to reach a recommendation.
QA Flooring Solutions, of Cheshire, previously QA Products, believes it’s time more people knew what a crucial role underlay plays in making a home a more comfortable, pleasant environment.
Marketing manager Garry Atmore says: ‘We are very excited at how much Traffilay will be able to help the underlay market forward.
‘We were surprised how few consumers realise the importance of underlay as part of a total flooring solution.
‘So we wanted to make it easy, and to help people get the best out of the environment they live in. That’s why we talk about being Simply Better. It’s all part of creating the best experience possible for our customers.’
As part of its recent major re-launch, the company has introduced a short animated video to help the consumer visualise some of the key benefits of underlay, and also to begin to understand that different types of room have different ‘traffic levels’ – in other words, how much punishment the floor takes. An occasionally-used spare room, for example, is very different to a hallway bashed by boots!
The animation video featured on the company website is called ‘Underlay, the home’s hidden hero’.
QA believes that underlay should be chosen to match the traffic level in the room. So it has launched the Traffilay system for choosing the right underlay.
Traffilay starts with checking the ‘traffic level’ (how heavily a room is used). For example, the hallway and stairs are heavy traffic areas, but a bedroom is typically a light traffic area.
Traffilay also asks you to choose the key benefits needed, such as noise reduction and heat insulation and if the installation is a commercial one.
It works in three simple steps: first, choose the traffic level – light, medium or heavy – for the room. Then choose the type of flooring being fitted.
And finally choose the specific benefits, such as cushioning, sound reduction or moisture protection. Traffilay will then give you up to three product options to choose from.
While QA has always been primarily an underlay specialist, the emphasis is now on providing a total flooring solution, including the Luvanto LVT flooring range and a wide range of flooring accessories.
Ratcliffe Underlays manufactures a traditional mix of felt and crumb/felt combination underlays, but has recently introduced a new product to the UK market.
Foxifix is described as an innovative solution for installing certain floorcoverings, an alternative where wet adhesive is commonly used. The system is said to be easy to use, increasing sound insulation, saving time and cost plus allowing for easy removal.
Monarch and Emerald combination underlays reportedly meet the case for sustainability with nearly all constituents having come from recycled product.
Richard Ratcliffe, director, explains: ‘We are proud of the company’s in-house rubber crumb processing, with our history of manufacturing going back more than 40 years.
‘For rugs, Foxi Super Plus, remains a popular anti-slip solution and is available in four roll sizes or bespoke pieces.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.