Sound-Absorbing Flooring: 4 Options to Consider
Hydrana Water Resistant Laminate Flooring by Beauflor
Sound absorption is not something you might typically consider when you begin your flooring selection process. But you know hollow or loud flooring when you hear it! From the dog’s nails clicking as you try to sleep at night to running kids that sound like thunder while you try to watch a movie, your home’s sounds can affect your comfort of living in multiple ways.
The good news is that these disruptive sounds can be reduced with the proper flooring and installation methods. In this guide, Twenty & Oak breaks down different types of sound ratings to be aware of as you shop and the best sound-absorbing flooring options to consider to create a quieter, more peaceful home.
Different Types of Sound Ratings
For flooring, there are two different types of sound ratings. The first is impact sounds, or the Impact Insulation Class, and the second is transmission sounds, known as the Noise Reduction Coefficient.
Impact Insulation Class
Impact Insulation Class (IIC) is the measurement of a flooring’s ability to reduce a sound’s impact. In layman's terms, this means how much sound vibration travels, similar to the way you might hear dropped objects or footsteps in the room above. The higher the IIC class, the more sound reduction. Here are three IIC classes and their standard flooring types:
IIC 50–The lowest rating and least impact, IIC 50 is typically found in stone and tile. An IIC 50 rating is applicable for ground floors. However, without much insulation between, we recommend avoiding this for second or higher levels in your home.
IIC 60–A more medium impact, IIC 60 is typical in hardwoods, laminates and some vinyls. The majority of Twenty & Oak products have this rating.
IIC 65–The highest level of sound absorption, this is reserved for thick, dense flooring like carpet and cork.
Noise Reduction Coefficient
Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) refers to a flooring’s noise absorption level in the room in which it’s placed. The higher the NRC level, the less the background and ambient noise, eliminating echoes so you can hear speech and music more clearly (like when you watch television). A higher NRC rating found in dense carpet, cork and rubber flooring, like Centaur flooring, is .40-.50, Hardwoods, tile and stone flooring sit at a lower scale.
Other Sound-Absorbing Factors
The subflooring, underlayment, padding and insulation all play a significant role in sound absorption. Packed insulation between each joist can reduce sound travel between rooms and levels of a multi-story home.
Installation materials can aid in sound absorption, too. Flexible acoustic adhesives can fill in gaps and reduce sound when applied to the floor’s edges, especially where the flooring meets walls, doors and air ducts.
The Best Sound-Absorbing Flooring
Palmetto Road Brunswick Collection, St. Simon
Laminate + Attached Pad
With a pad attached, laminate flooring offers a fantastic sound-absorbing flooring option. A good underlayment can also add some extra warmth and stability, as well as soften the underfooting with each step, reducing that hollow echo you sometimes get when floated over a subfloor. Laminate is also typically installed with an underlayment pad attached, such as Beauflor's Hydrana collection, which maximizes sound-absorption qualities.
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Vinyl + Textile/Foam Backing
Vinyl flooring is designed with a foam-backing design and flexible material, which is ideal for sound absorption. However, you have to seek out top-quality vinyl. Beauflor vinyl sheet has excellent sound absorption, with several luxury vinyl collections that offer Comfort Bac textile backing, such as the BlackTex and SmarTex Pro collections. . Besides sound-reducing qualities, the Comfort Bac technology also offers a softer underfooting and thermal insulation. Check out the Metro Plus collection for a cushion-backed, glue down vinyl flooring option offered in various styles. Keep in mind that you will also find incredibly realistic visuals with today's innovative sheet vinyl design technology.
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Like vinyl and laminate, hardwood flooring works better to dampen sound with an added underlayment. However, for genuine solid hardwoods glued or nailed down, adding a cushioned padding is not a typical installation request. Instead, try engineered hardwoods, which offer a floating floor and more underlayment options.
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Centaur PuzzleTile Flooring, Basic Black
Made of rubber material, fitness flooring is another wonderful sound-absorbing flooring option. Plus, it offers exceptional durability. Centaur Flooring products, like their PuzzleTile collection, are made of a vulcanized composition rubber, which offers extreme sound absorption, along with a slip-resistant and shock-absorbent material.
Shop Gym Flooring Options
Find your perfect floor by taking our Floor Genius Quiz and browse many flooring options through our virtual flooring showroom. Once you discover a few sound-absorbing flooring options, order a sample or two to check them out yourself and see how they look in your home.
Discover The Perfect Flooring Option For Your Home
Twenty & Oak Experts
Twenty & Oak Experts are a team of flooring professionals with over 150 years of combined experience in the industry. They have hands-on experience with all flooring types and bring inside industry know-how to homeowners in the Southeast.