Lewis Cooper looks at how the correct flooring with respect to acoustics can contribute to improving the learning environment and streamline the refurbishment process.
AMONG the most important considerations for educational premises is the acoustics. Poor acoustics and the unwanted transmission of sound through a building can have a serious impact on learning. School and college environments can often be noisy owing to the large number of students working and moving around the building. In addition, many educational facilities were originally designed and built when there was not the same level of understanding or focus on acoustics that there is today.
As a result, many building users struggle with excess reverberation within classrooms and noise transference between floors, which can lead to issues such as disturbed concentration and low speech intelligibility. What’s more, a recent study found children sat in the fourth row of a classroom can experience speech intelligibility rates of just 50%. This means some students aren’t able to understand as much as half of what the teacher is saying.
Acoustic floorcoverings can offer an effective solution for improving impact sound levels. When installed in classrooms, hallways and circulation areas, this type of flooring can significantly reduce the amount of sound transmitted through the floor into the areas below. For example, solutions in Forbo’s Acoustic Collection offer a best-in-class level of performance with up to 19dB impact sound reduction for a quieter and more comfortable environment.
However, for many educational establishments, any refurbishments or renovation work must be completed quickly, efficiently, cost effectively and with minimal disruption. In these situations, fast installation adhesive-free acoustic flooring solutions may provide the ideal solution. Options such as Forbo’s Modul’up offers the same acoustic performance as their standard acoustic vinyl solutions, but with the added advantage of a fast, adhesive-free installation.
Adhesive-free floorcoverings are designed to be laid straight onto the subfloor, or even over an existing floor, often with minimal preparation. This can reduce the installation time by more than 50%, which in turn allows contractors to offer a cost-saving alternative to customers.
Eliminating the use of adhesives also means there are no lingering odours, no need to factor in setting or drying times and no requirement to wait before the area can be used. This also means that, if necessary, the flooring can be installed during a weekend or even over night with no disruption.
Finally, with sustainability now an important issue for many organisations, especially in education, adhesive free flooring also provides a more environmentally conscious option. This is because the products are easy to remove and reuse or recycle if it’s at the end of its service life, as there’s no adhesive residue left on the back of the flooring, further supporting the idea of a circular economy.
Improving the acoustics in educational buildings is an important consideration as it can have a serious impact on the concentration and learning of students.
High quality, adhesive-free acoustic floorcoverings can not only offer best-in-class performance but also a faster, simpler installation to meet the schools or college’s requirements.
Lewis Cooper is segment marketing manager for education at Forbo Flooring Systems