Think Before Ordering An Acoustic Product
Mike Sellars, the communications officer at CMS Danskin attempts to unravel the complexities of acoustic flooring:
THE eradication or, at least, the control of unwanted sound – noise to you and me – should be relatively straightforward. Yet the marketplace is saturated with soundproofing products and ‘acoustic solutions’.
Nowhere is this more so than in the flooring market, where acoustic underscreeds, underlays, overlays, cradles and battens, etc. all vie for your attention. Faced with so much choice, it’s easy to opt for the wrong product.
This article aims to help you interrogate a product before you commit to placing an order.
The first consideration should always be ‘What problem am I looking to solve?’ Yes, you want to eradicate or control noise, but to what end and, more importantly, to what extent?
The answer to this question is likely to be driven by legislation and regulation. Whether it’s Part E (Section 5 in Scotland, Part G in Northern Ireland), BB93, Noise at Work Regulations, the Noise Abatement Act or Robust Details, performance requirements are laid-out precisely in decibels. Check that your product meets or exceeds
the requirements for compliance. And don’t just take the manufacturer’s word for it; look for products tested by UKAS accredited laboratories or something similarly authoritative.
Next, consider the environment in which you intend to install your acoustic flooring. What kind of footfall and loading must the floor withstand? In other words, what kind of punishment could it be subjected to? For example, a gymnasium, with all those weights and thumping treadmills, requires something pretty heavy duty.
Look for phrases like ‘high tensile strength’, ‘minimal creep’ and resistance to ‘bottoming out’, ‘ageing’ and ‘deformation’. Anyworthwhile acoustic flooring product will give you its ‘maximum load bearing capacity’.
In this scenario you may want to consider a robust rubber granulate product rather than a foam- based solution.
Floor type is another crucial factor. Timber, beam and block, concrete (pre-cast or cast in- situ): not all acoustic products are universally suited. It’s vital to check. A ‘dimpled’ product that works perfectly under screed, for example, is almost certain to cause problems if used directly beneath a floor finish such as vinyl or
Speaking of floor finishes, this is another crucial factor to consider. For instance, ceramic tiles may demand a product that complies with The Tile Association’s technical requirements. A light-coloured carpet, laminate or vinyl will almost certainly benefit from an underlayment not prone to plasticizer migration.
So, before you even pick up the phone to speak to your acoustic flooring provider, you’ll need to consider legislation, environment, floor type and floor finish. Only when you’re absolutely satisfied that you’ve addressed your unique requirements, should you place an order.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them online at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.