Effective Acoustic Flooring Solutions
Posted on December 8, 2016 by CCF
Soundproofing is an essential part of any build but it is especially key in multiple occupancy high-rise dwellings, which are often subject to increased levels of impact sound between floors. Here, Janeeth Devgun – Flooring & Roofing Category Manager at CCF, discusses how developments in flooring products are contributing to the high acoustic performance required to meet modern living and working standards.
Whether new-build or refurbishment, all commercial and domestic developments need to meet or exceed Approved Document Part E Building Regulations. Designed to provide resistance to the passage of sound, this document stipulates guidance to prevent the travel of noise through a building. This is where effective specification of smart acoustic measures makes the difference to not only the performance, but also the overall speed and ease of installation.
Stamping out noise
Poor acoustic performance is the source of many complaints, especially within multiple-occupancy constructions, where mitigating the impact sound of steps and general movement in properties, remains a key issue for specifiers and contractors. Pre-completion testing or Robust Detail specified constructions are required to meet Approved Document E, and assure the compliance of projects. Robust Detail specification, although more costly, certifies that products have gone through vigorous third-party testing to prove performance and compliance when installed correctly. Failure in acoustic testing results in the need for retrospective improvements and a re-test. As a result, getting it right first time is key so choosing products and solutions carefully is a must.
In general, an individual with average hearing will notice noises above a 25 decibel level (dB) and will usually require a sound level below this to sleep. Noises in the range of 35-85 dB are considered intrusive and restrictive for intellectual work. Innovations in flooring solutions are helping, as part of a whole building solution, to meet these parameters. For example, a range of acoustic flooring options exist to suit a variety of construction types from; concrete, timber beam and block floors, to underfloor heating applications as well as refurbishment projects and uneven floors that may require a service void. These product options work to address impact and airborne noise through adding mass such as acoustic decks, acoustic underlay, screed and dry screed-board.
Screedboard as an acoustic flooring system is rapidly being recognised as the ideal acoustic solution for new build and refurbishment floors when combined with a resilient layer. Thanks to these innovative products, projects can be completed much faster as they are able to take footfall instantly. For floors with underfloor heating systems there are also specially designed dry screed solutions to enhance thermal conductivity.
There are also a range of perimeter and acoustic joining tapes on the market which are lightweight, easy to cut and have additional impact sound deadening properties to help to eliminate the transfer of sound between walls and the acoustic flooring being laid.
It’s important to realise when specifying flooring solutions that existing structures can and must always be improved, especially when creating residential dwellings such as flat conversions. Often this can be done without extensive structural alteration, even when access is only available from above.