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Sound solutions: How acoustic flooring can help create better spaces

Karen Wilding explains the role acoustic flooring has to play in ensuring spaces are acoustically sound and therefore key to creating a healthier environment.

WHETHER at home or in the workplace, excessive noise can become extremely distracting, taking its toll on the mental and physical health of those using a space. For example, some studies show that sound can cause problems such as spikes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, anxiety, lack of productivity and even more serious consequences, like psychological or eardrum damage. These effects can carry across into people’s working lives too, with one study showing that of 1,000 UK-based office workers, 65% found noise impacted on their ability to accurately complete work.

When choosing floorcoverings to help with the acoustics of a building, it’s important to understand what form of noise will take place in the space. Is it impact sound or airborne sound? It’s imperative to differentiate between the two as both come with different challenges and a solution suitable for airborne sound might not necessarily be suitable for impact sound.

Airborne noise is caused by things such as TVs, people talking, or dogs barking, whereas impact sound occurs following the physical impact on a building or solid material, including footsteps, banging doors or items being moved or dropped on surfaces. This type of sound is where acoustic flooring comes into play.

Acoustic flooring is specifically manufactured with a high-performance foam backing which enhances impact sound reduction. It can be installed as part of a new build but also offers a good retrofit solution when it comes to improving the acoustic performance of older buildings. Acoustic flooring can also contribute to the acoustic performance of a building in two ways.

First, it can reduce the level of in-room impact sound generated, which in turn will lower overall ambient noise levels within a space; secondly, by reducing impact sound at the source, it will also reduce the level of noise transmitted through the floor and into the space below.

There are many acoustic flooring solutions available on the market, however one solution that offers excellent durability and design freedom is acoustic LVT.

Acoustic LVT is available in a wide selection of designs and colourways, suitable for a range of applications. For example, Forbo Flooring Systems’ newly refreshed Allura Decibel collection has been developed to offer best-in-class acoustic performance, offering 19dB impact sound reduction. The new collection also consists of 49 innovative and fresh designs to create modern, yet practical flooring schemes. There’s a new twine wood effect, which is a hybrid between wood, stone and textile aesthetics for a softer and more elegant take on modern wood.

There’s also new subtle marbled designs and abstract tweed patterns, as well as a new digitally printed option called Sky, which is reminiscent of a beautiful early morning sunrise to help bring the outside in.

Keeping this in mind, finding a solution that’s not only stylish, but can also deliver good acoustic performance can be key to creating modern and healthy spaces for people to work and live in.
Karen Wilding is marketing communications manager at Forbo Flooring Systems

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