Whether at work, or at home, excess noise can become a real nuisance if left unchecked. In fact, incessant noise is not only distracting, affecting productivity and concentration, but it can also negatively impact mental and physical health. As such, noise-reducing solutions are becoming increasingly commonplace in domestic and commercial properties – including acoustic floor coverings. Read on to learn all about the different types of sound that can occur and the benefits of installing acoustic flooring solutions. So, first things first, what is sound and how is it measured?
Sound can take one of two forms: airborne noise, or impact noise.
Impact noise occurs following a physical impact on a building, or solid material. For example, footfall and banging doors are both examples of impact sound. When impact sound occurs, both sides of the building element vibrate, generating sound waves. As such, impact noises are often hardest to isolate. What’s more, in rooms with dense materials, impact vibrations tend to be stronger and travel further.
Airborne noise applies to things like TV noise, people talking and dogs barking.
This form of noise travels through the air and will either reflect off building elements when it hits them, be absorbed into acoustic dense materials or travel through building structures and be radiated out to the other side. When reflected, the noise level can increase, and when absorbed or allowed to travel through structures, the volume can be reduced.
It is important to know the difference between impact and airborne sound, as each comes with its own specific set of challenges – and products designed to reduce airborne noise will not necessarily reduce impact noise.
Sound is measured in decibels (dB). Decibels denote the intensity of the sound, which relates to how much energy a sound wave contains. The human ear is capable of hearing sounds as quiet as 10 dB but can begin to become damaged when listening to sounds of around 80 dB.
Acoustic flooring solutions can help to reduce impact sound, but what are they and what are the benefits?
What is acoustic flooring?
Whilst there are many solutions available to reduce noise, one of the most effective ways to combat impact sound is acoustic flooring. Acoustic flooring is specifically manufactured with a high-performance foam backing to enhance 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 is important as it can contribute to the acoustic performance of a building in two ways:
- By installing acoustic flooring, you can reduce the level of in-room impact sound generated, which in turn will help to lower overall ambient noise levels within the space itself.
- By reducing impact sound at the source, it will also reduce the level of noise that can be transmitted through the floor and into the spaces below. Here, the impact sound reduction performance of acoustic floor coverings is the most important factor to consider. The higher the decibel value of the floor covering, the better the flooring performance in reducing impact sound.
Historically, education facilities have posed a challenge when it comes to controlling noise. For one, school children can be very loud and not always willing to lower their volume should they be asked. But that’s not the only problem. Many schools were built in an era (20th century) where acoustic performance was not as well understood as it currently is. As such, many classrooms up and down the country struggle with indoor environments that enhance excess reverberation and noise transference between levels, and limit speech intelligibility. Due to the lack of acoustic flooring, older schools have the potential to adversely affect students’ health, concentration levels and performance. Therefore, it is vital to install impact sound reduction solutions.
The potential for nuisance noise within multi-occupancy buildings, where residents live above, below and adjacent to one another, is understandably high, as sound can easily travel from floor to floor and room to room – especially without the careful specification of acoustic solutions. Without the proper precautions, residents in multi-occupancy properties can be affected by unwanted noise from their neighbours. In turn, this can become a particularly problematic issue when it starts to affect individual’s ability to sleep, and often ends up manifesting in physical and mental health ailments. It's important that multi-occupancy buildings are designed in a way that limits the amount of noise transfer. Acoustic flooring solutions, can help to limit excess noise levels, particularly between floors.
Workplace chatter, loud conversations, or perhaps even maintenance work going on are just some of the common disturbances’ employees encounter within an office environment. EThis excessive noise can adversely affect employees and be a hinderance to productivity. In fact, surveys show that employees care more about interior acoustics than they do about how clean their workplaces is, what they sit on and the temperature of the offices..
Incorporating acoustic floor coverings in offices can improve concentration and collaboration, which in turn will increase the quality of work produced and the health and well-being of those that occupy the space.
With more than 30 years’ experience, we have a range of acoustic solutions available to suit the requirements of all different projects.
Our Allura Decibel collection meets the demand for stylish, luxury acoustic floor coverings. Offering 19 dB impact sound reduction, the collection is available in 49 contemporary colourways, taking inspiration from several prominent trends. Installed using tackifier, Allura Decibel planks can be easily removed for re-use or to be recycled.
There are two options available within our Acoustic Marmoleum collection, both of which includes a special insulation layer to reduce impact sound of up to 17dB.
Our Marmoleum Acoustic range has a total thickness of 4mm and reduces impact sound by 14dB, and our Marmoleum Decibel range is 3.5mm thick, providing the highest reduction of impact sound at 17 dB.
Offering exceptional acoustic performance and residual indentation, ourSarlon 15dB andSarlon 19dB ranges are the perfect solution for areas that experience heavy loads and intense traffic. High traffic areas also benefit from our XtremPURTM finish, which is an extremely high-performance lacquer protection, providing the best possible resistance against stains, scuffs and scratches and provides a natural matte aesthetic.
The ranges are also available in over 90 designs, which have been split into the following design families: Wood, Material, Colour and Graphic.
Modul'up 19dB is our high performance, adhesive free acoustic sheet vinyl, which is suitable for high traffic applications, such as corridors within schools and hospitals. As well as offering superb impact sound reduction, Modul’up 19dB can also reduce installation time by up to 50% and can be walked on immediately after installation.
Eternal de luxe Decibel
Eternal de luxe Decibel sits at the core of our Eternal de Luxe range and is designed to provide underfoot comfort and reduce impact sound by 17 dB. It can also be installed adhesive free in areas up to 40m2 – and when installed adhesive free, it can be fully recycled in line with the circular economy.
For spaces that require both slip resistance and superior acoustic performance, ourSurestep Decibel range is available in a selection of 12 contemporary colours across wood, stone and all over designs, all of which achieve 17dB impact sound reduction. When it comes to choosing acoustic flooring, make sure you contact us to ensure you’re specifying the best possible solution for the project you’re working on.