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Old 04-10-2012, 01:35 PM   #1
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


For Laminate floating floors in a townhome, what is the best type of sound reducing underlay? I have seen many types - cork, rubber, air-filled. What is the best type (and most cost effective) to reduce sound transmission to neighbors and give the laminate the best feel underfoot (less hollow sound)?

Also I am in California so any material has to pass CA fire ratings.

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Old 04-10-2012, 02:21 PM   #2
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


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Originally Posted by tinan
For Laminate floating floors in a townhome, what is the best type of sound reducing underlay? I have seen many types - cork, rubber, air-filled. What is the best type (and most cost effective) to reduce sound transmission to neighbors and give the laminate the best feel underfoot (less hollow sound)?

Also I am in California so any material has to pass CA fire ratings.
Well you have to put down the vapor barrier that is designed for laminate or will void warranty of the laminate, but there vapor barriers not sound proofing you can use almost any like Roberts or black jack. I installed countless boxes of this stuff in apartments but would never suggest installing it on a second floor for that reason.

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Old 04-10-2012, 06:54 PM   #3
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


Yes I know about the vapor barrier, most of these underlayments have attached vapor barrier and if not you can buy a separate sheet cheap. I am specifically asking about the best type underlayment to reduce sound inside the home and to the side neighbors ie cork, rubber, felt.

Not sure what you are talking about with a second floor, this is a townhouse 2 levels the bedrooms are upstairs living areas down. There is no one else living below us, I just want to minimize sound to the side neighbors and for our own comfort.

I was also considering floating vinyl planks but there seem to be a lot more mixed reports on them and I tried out some samples, they scuff very easy while the laminate is practically impervious.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:51 PM   #4
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


If the neighbors next door to you can hear you walking around on laminate then that's a hole different story.
There is no firewall dividing the town houses?

If you add extra padding vapor barrier your laminate will be to flexible, you will always hear foot steps with shoes on.
If you go with a 12mm grade laminate it will be sturdier sound.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:57 PM   #5
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


To ansewer your question cork would work best, but it's not cheap.
You would be far better off and increace the value of the home and have a quiter floor using engineered flooring not laminite.
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Old 04-10-2012, 09:59 PM   #6
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


Actually cork is not that expensive and you can get it in different thicknesses.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:37 PM   #7
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


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Actually cork is not that expensive and you can get it in different thicknesses.
So cork is preferred over rubber in general? These are the types of rubber products that have been recommended to me by the store folks. I thought I would check here to see how it measures up:

http://www.lumberliquidators.com/ll/...D%20H/10015924

http://www.homedepot.com/Flooring-La...&storeId=10051

joecaption I am not looking for resale value I just want something to replace the carpet on a budget, something I can easily put down myself. Every time I post a question about budget flooring I get this response to get engineered wood. Please don't suggest more expensive floors - it is out of the budget!
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:44 PM   #8
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


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If the neighbors next door to you can hear you walking around on laminate then that's a hole different story.
There is no firewall dividing the town houses?

If you add extra padding vapor barrier your laminate will be to flexible, you will always hear foot steps with shoes on.
If you go with a 12mm grade laminate it will be sturdier sound.
I don't know if they will be able to hear us, we close on the home tomorrow - all townhomes and condos have some degree of noise transmission footsteps being one of the worst after bass from speakers. I don't think we will have an unusual problem, just want to minimize any noise for us as well as for neighbors. I have lived in condos and townhomes so I know how noise travels, and I don't want to have to tiptoe around our home - we do always remove shoes in the house.

good point about the thicker laminate.
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:56 AM   #9
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


I also prefer cork. It has great sound deadening qualities and the floor will feel solid when walked on.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:01 PM   #10
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


Sounds like cork is the winner, then! I can get cork with an attached vapor barrier, seems like a good option for all around use. it says to tape the seams with polyethylene tape to make the vapor barrier waterproof. I live in a pretty dry climate anyway.

Reading the Armstrong laminate floor install instructions, it says to lay directly over concrete (over vapor barrier and underlay) and NOT over a plywood subfloor or subfloor on sleepers. I am surprised I thought a plywood subfloor would be better?

The foundation is concrete slab but there are definitely plywood subfloors under the carpet, how do I know what's under that and whether it is suitable for installation? I would have thought putting down the vapor barrier would be enough, the floors at are ground level and above, no basements. So would I have to pull up the subfloor too and apply directly to concrete?

In fact I looked at the Armstrong Luxe Plank Vinyl plank floors install instructions and it says the same thing - but everyone here has reported such problems with Allure etc over concrete!
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:30 AM   #11
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Best Sound-reducing underlayment for floating floors?


Shaw makes a SilentStep Ultra 3 in 1 Laminate Underlayment that helps deaden a lot of the sound under floating floors. It also provides the moisture barrier. "Superior performance acoustical flooring underlayment with unsurpassed sound absorption properties." "Impact Insulation Class rating of 72dB and Sound Transmission Class rating of 72dB". http://www.flooring-nc.com/

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