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Taking a break from the noise

Most flooring contractors and specialist installers won’t have spent too much time thinking about soundproofing, but it’s time to change that says Miles Ogley.

I THINK we can all agree the world feels a little loud at the minute, so let’s take a break and spare a moment to focus on the most important thing businesses should be focusing on – our customers.
We all want our customers to be happy with the service or product we’ve provided them but it’s easy to get into a mental rut. When was the last time you stood back and thought: what am I not offering my customers?

Today I want to talk about an often overlooked but highly valued offering: soundproofing. Most flooring contractors and specialist installers won’t have spent too much time thinking about soundproofing but if you have ever had a noisy neighbour or a project that must pass part-E regulations you’ll know how much you would value the person who could solve that problem for you. Most flooring specialists have the opportunity to be that valuable person.

From landlords getting complaints from tenants, developers building or renovating new properties or offices, to homeowners with nuisance downstairs neighbours there’s no shortage of people who could benefit from floor soundproofing options. Let’s look at what acoustic underlays can do when laid by a knowledgeable contractor.

However, before we continue it’s worth noting it may take a little time to develop a sound understanding of the correct products in the right environments, but just know iKoustic’s soundproofing experts are always a phone call away and are very happy to advise of the best solution for a specific job.

How does acoustic underlay stop sound?
The science behind acoustic underlays can get complicated but the main factors in reducing sound come down to three components.

Mass law: This states when you double the mass of a partition you will reduce the sound by 5dB. This is why sound reduction is a logarithmic scale and it becomes harder to reduce sound the higher-performing a partition gets.

Every 6dB is a doubling in sound pressure but this does not translate well when talking about how you hear sound. The important thing to take note of is every 10dB is a perceived doubling of the sound. Therefore, every 10dB reduction is what you perceive as the sound being halved.
In the most basic sense, we can take the MuteBarrier as an example. 5kg/sq m MuteBarrier will reduce 25dB and 10kg/sq m MuteBarrier would achieve 30dB.

To then achieve 50dB by just adding mass to a surface you would need 160kg/sq m according to mass law. It’s obvious to see this isn’t the most cost-efficient way of reducing sound.

Decoupled mass: Once you de-couple mass from an existing surface you start to reduce the transfer of vibrations more efficiently and therefore the mass can then increase the performance above the restraints of Mass law.

With onsite testing, our MuteMat 3 has achieved a 5dB improvement on a floor which is already performing at 50dB taking that total result to 55dB. According to mass law, you would need an additional 160kg/sq m if this was a similar mass attached directly to one solid piece of mass but owing to the de-coupling of the system, you can achieve a much higher reduction.

Another way you can efficiently improve the sound reduction is by using the Tecsound in conjunction with the MuteMat to add further mass and vibration dampening. This combination of acoustic underlays allows you to achieve far higher results with the thinnest soundproofing products.
How to fit an acoustic underlay

  1. Starting in one edge of the room, roll out the Tecsound, you may find it easier to cut the roll into smaller manageable pieces
  2. If possible, ensure the Tecsound layer is staggered over any joins in the subfloor
  3. Peel back the Tecsound film and adhere to the floor, ensuring a smooth application
  4. If any air bubbles are trapped underneath, push to the side, or make a small cut and stick back down
  5. Continue laying the Tecsound until your subfloor is completely covered, laying each sheet/roll right up to the previous
  6. Fold the perimeter flanking band back over the Tecsound. Cut the flanking band vertically in corners to help fold it back
  7. Fit the skirting boards to the perimeter, applying slight pressure down onto the folded flanking band
  8. Using a sharp blade cut off the remainder of the perimeter flanking band
  9. Peel and stick the self-adhesive gripper strips around the perimeter of the room, leaving a 2-5mm gap between the wall and the gripper strip
  10. Seal the gap left around the perimeter with acoustic sealant
  11. Looselay/glue the MuteMats in a brick bond pattern.
    So that’s an overview of how using acoustic underlays can soundproof a floor and the value it can bring to your customers.

    If you want to discuss adding soundproofing to your offering or want one-to-one support with product installation, use the contact details below.
    01937 588226
    Miles Ogley is marketing manager at iKoustic
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