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Commercial Flooring News

Sound Choices

Underlay products can offer acoustic benefits as well as comfort:

All About Everything has launched an e-commerce website to help customers with acoustic flooring and home sound-proofing solutions. The company reports a rise in the demand for soundproofing solutions for loft renovations, garage conversions and even outside spaces such as gardens and inner city ‘backyards’.

Evolving from the company’s existing specialist acoustic underlay range, it now offers retro-fit impact and airborne noise reduction solutions for walls, doors, ceilings and gardens.

Anglo Recycling Technology has developed a closed loop system allowing virgin wool carpet offcuts to be saved from landfill and made into underlay. This solution took three years to achieve.

The md Simon Macaulay says the low levels of recycling in the carpet industry were increasingly concerning his customers. The obstacle, however, was the tricky job of processing the material. It was feared that the high levels of chalk in the carpet backing would jam up machines.

Anglo’s technical director Mike Walsh obtained a second-hand line through a contact in the US. On first starting it up it blew a massive fuse. But working closely with the supply chain of a major UK retailer, Anglo developed this recycling system.

Atkinson & Kirby not only manufactures and supplies quality hardwood flooring, but also an array of accessories, including a variety of underlay. With its large warehouse, the company stocks a selection of underlay, each with different beneficial properties.

Polyfoam Acoustic with high density foam is said to provide substantial noise reduction, whereas Quicktherm’s perforated high density polyfoam is designed for maximum heat transfer when used with underfloor heating. If residual dampness in the subfloor is an issue, Polyfoam Vapour Control reportedly utilises an aluminium vapour barrier with an overlap for joint sealing protection.

Atkinson & Kirby offers special bulk order discounts, and also next day delivery.

Beacons Products, established in 1986, has been engineering underlay for rigid floors since 1995. Its Acoustalay is described as an innovative underlay with a specially blended formula, fully tested and certified with 10 year protection guaranteed.

The product also has ISO 9001:2000 SGS system certification.

Acoustalay is also said to meet the standards of the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF).

Corlay has been producing felt carpet underlays since 1923. Made from 100% recycled fibres, its underfelt is made in different weights from 750g sq m to 2000g sq m covering domestic to heavy contract usage.

This family business also manufactures felt/crumb combination underlays and can supply domestic PU products along with a crumb rubber suitable for both double-stick and stretch fit applications.

‘There is a definite increase in consumer awareness of recyclability and environmental issues,’ says Tim Cormack, sales director.

‘By using recycled carpet fibre, material can be diverted from landfill and the underfelt itself is recyclable at end of life. In addition, it offers excellent impact sound reduction and thermal insulation properties in relation to its cost.’

Floorwise has an extensive collection of underlay offering acoustic benefits. The company’s Whisper and Acoustica collections are engineered to reduce the excess sound in wood and laminate floors.

Described as a cost-effective solution, Whisper is created from PE foam and is available in a range of qualities, Whisper, Whisper Plus, Whisper Green Barrier and Whisper Gold. Each gives differing levels of sound absorption, ranging from 18dB to 20dB, plus varying levels of cushioned support.

Whisper Gold is 5mm thick designed to counteract floor imperfections and has a built-in water-vapour barrier, it is also claimed to offer good airborne sound resistance.

Acoustica is created from dense rubber sponge to reduce both impact and airborne noise. Varying in thickness from 2mm to 4.2mm, it is available in various qualities, including Silver, Gold, Good, Better and Best.

Claimed to provide 22dB to 27dB of impact sound resistance, these underlays have been rigorously tested in accordance with EPLF’s independent SONE measurement, which calculates the sound-absorbing properties of underlay.

Carpet underlay offered by Floorwise includes recycled polyurethane foam ranges, such as Hyper, which is described as offering a range of comfort and durability levels, all with convenient low roll weights.

Hyper underlay is designed for installations from entry-level HyperStart to ultra high density contract-rated HyperLift. Super high-density ranges, such as HyperTread, use highly compressed foam for superior comfort and durability for locations such as hotels.

For medium to high footfall areas, HyperTread is claimed to deliver an excellent recovery performance over time with ‘fantastic levels of sound reduction.’

Flowcrete UK says its Isocrete Acoustic K system combines high performance noise-reducing efficiency with the time-proven performance of Isocrete screeds.

Comprising an acoustic resilient layer and screed, Isocrete Acoustic K is installed as a complete system on site by Flowcrete specialist approved contractors.

The product reportedly complies with Building Regulations, offers a reduced screed thickness and enables early installation of sensitive finishes over the substrate. It is also approved by the British Board of Agrément.

Alan Dean, md of Flowcrete UK, says, ‘Isocrete Acoustic K is a complete system, not just components. Independent test results show it achieves results well in excess of the requirements set out by Building Regulations’ Approved Document E.

‘The system delivers peace of mind for main contractors and architects so that they can achieve a high acoustic performance, with one flooring contractor responsible for the entire procedure.’

The Acoustic K system is also available as part of Flowcrete’s Floorzone system, which covers every aspect of a commercial flooring installation, from substrate through to final floor finish, with the option of underfloor heating built-in.

The Floorzone package is designed, manufactured and supplied by Flowcrete and installed by its approved contractors.

Floorzone offers benefits including delivery of heating out of sight, with no risk of injuries from hot surfaces through the use of Isowarm underfloor heating. This system is claimed to offer energy savings of up to 30% compared with conventional heating systems whilst delivering a healthier environment.
Icopal supplied its Monarfloor acoustic systems, helping to transform Walsall’s waterfront into a vibrant canal-side, comprising 319 apartments and 22 houses as part of a regeneration programme.

The scheme, which set a target for all units to achieve Level 3 under the Code for Sustainable Homes, utilised Icopal’s range of Monarfloor acoustic systems: Bridgestop, Isolation Strip and Tranquilt to meet the sustainable goals.

Icopal offered its support and expertise to both the architect and main contractor throughout the project.
The regeneration programme, one of the biggest investment projects in the West Midlands, which began in January 2010 with the final phase completed January 2013, sees the addition of new homes, business opportunities and a leisure quarter.

Funded by the Homes and Community Agency and local housing associations, the project achieved three additional code credits for sound insulation with the use of Icopal’s acoustic products.

Before work began, Icopal met design and build contractors Jessup Brothers, to advise on how the development’s acoustic properties could be enhanced to achieve Code level 3 for Sustainable Homes.
After proposing the use of its Monarfloor Bridgestop, Isolation Strip and Tranquilt, Icopal worked with the architect to incorporate these products into the building designs.

During construction, Icopal gave support both on and off site for any technical and installation queries, whilst carrying out sound surveys at each stage to ensure the systems helped to achieve either 3 or 4 credits towards the Code for Sustainable Homes for each unit.

Icopal’s Bridgestop (E-WM-19) reportedly gave Jessup Brothers an easy to install acoustic system that isolates the two skins of cavity party walls and prevents an acoustic bridge typically caused by the collection of mortar at the base of the cavity.

The four credit Bridgestop has high acoustic damping to absorb more sound energy and reduce structural flanking, performing approximately 4dB-5dB better than solid walls and 8dB better than standard Robust Detail E-WM-4 walls.

Monarfloor Isolation Strip from Icopal is a reinforced bitumen based product, suitable for studwork, steel and masonry. It is designed to isolate walls and partitions from the subfloor, reducing the structural flanking sound transmission path within the building.

Monarfloor Tranquilt is a one-part system said to reduce impact and flanking transmission within precast and insitu concrete floors, by isolating the subfloor and finished screed.

‘Expertise and solutions for improved sound performance is an area we consider very important, says Tim Gough at Jessup Brothers. ‘Icopal supported us throughout the project, offering expert advice when we required.
Having worked closely with Icopal for a number of years, their knowledge and range of products are invaluable to attaining the requirements, achieving excellent sound results and helping us create better living environments.’

Interfloor supplies a range of market leading underlays designed to reduce noise.

Its Duralay TimbermateR range is said to be the UK’s first acoustic underlay. It includes three extremely dense (over 700kg/cu m) sponge rubber underlays designed for engineered wood and laminate flooring.

Silentfloor Gold, 4.20mm thick, with an integral vapourstop membrane, is described as a superior product where top performance is demanded.

Timbermate Excel, 3.60mm thick, is has a built-in vapourstop membrane; and Duratex, 3.60mm thick, is said to be suited for wood-based suspended floors where moisture vapour is not an issue.

All the products are designed to reduce in-room noise by up to 30%. In addition Interfloor also has a range of sponge rubber and PU foam underlays for excellent noise reduction under carpet.

Kährs says it offers a wide range of high performance underlays and membranes to suit all wood floor applications. Options range from 2mm standard foam to combined acoustic and moisture management systems. All products are available from extensive stock for immediate dispatch.

Added-value 2mm products include Kährs Special Underlay. Featuring an optimal three-layer high density/soft construction and integral moisture barrier, the product reportedly reduces impact and air sound – and drum sound by up to 25%. Kährs Special Underlay features integrated tape strips, measures 1000mm in width and is available in 10sq m and 30sq m rolls.

Kährs range also includes Tuplex, a 3mm crush-proof underlay formed from two layers of solid polyethylene, between which flexible polystyrene granules are sandwiched.

Tuplex, designed to seal out moisture, features Airflow technology which inhibits mould growth, making it suitable for use with underfloor heating. It is also said to reduce impact and drum sound and self levels.
The underlay measures 1100mm wide and is available in 33sq m rolls and 16.5sq m consumer boxes.

KK Products and Foams manufactures high performance, high value, underlay’s for wood, laminate and carpeted floors.
The company reports having state of the art production facilities for polyethylene foam materials in Europe and India.
KK’s products are widely distributed throughout UK and Continental Europe supported by an experienced technical sales team and regional warehousing.

The company’s products are described as environmentally friendly, containing no harmful HCFCs.

They are Class 0 fire rated and fully recyclable either as off-cuts or at the end of their long and hard working life.
As such KK’s underlays are said to be specified in situations where environmental responsibility as well as product performance is an issue, often by local authorities, educational and health areas or by socially aware building owners in both commercial arena and domestic housing.

With a strong ‘value systems’ policy, the company says its products are delivered to market at prices which underpin its reputation for cost efficiency and competitive pricing.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at