Floors made from untreated hardwood or tiles can make a big noise impact when you’re walking on it or moving your furniture. This not only may disturb your family members but also neighbors occupying the floor beneath yours if you’re living in an apartment block.
This is where a soundproof underlayment comes into play. It also helps to have one when you’re planning to carpet the floors. The underlayment is a thin barrier laid between the floor and the sub-floor to deaden the impact of noise as well as to prevent moisture and mold formation.
A soundproof underlayment can also form a firm base on the floor so that tiles don’t shift easily. With so many benefits that it has to offer, everyone should certainly opt for it. However, there are plenty of brands with various features available.
How would you pick the best soundproof underlayment to serve your purpose?
To aid you in this purchase, this post will guide you by giving you the relevant details of what to buy and for what purpose. Without further ado, let’s delve into the details!
Top 11 Soundproof Underlayment Comparison Chart -(2020)
FLOORLOT SHOP Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Underlayment
Roberts 70-190A 70-190 Super Felt Insulating Underlayment
QuietWalk Underlayment for Laminate Flooring
Recycled synthetic fibers
First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment
TMS Mass Loaded Vinyl MLV Soundproofing Barrier
Mass loaded vinyl
AMERIQUE 691322306255 Thick Flooring Underlayment
QEP 72008Q Underlayment
AMERIQUE Super Quiet Floor Underlayment
Floor Muffler UltraSeal Underlayment
Both with and without adhesive options
STEICO Wood Fiber Flooring Underlayment
Serenity Foam Underlayment for Laminate Flooring
Things To Consider Before Buying Underlay for Soundproofing
As with all big investments, some thoughts need to be put behind in the pre-purchase stage. Before buying soundproof underlayment, you should consider the following factors.
Not all rooms in your home may need soundproof underlayment. For example, ground floors don’t need one unless there are rooms in the basement. Similarly, if the noise in other rooms don’t bother you when you’re in the bathroom, there’s no need for underlayment here.
When it comes to bedrooms, almost everyone would want to have a barrier to keep away the noise of people walking in other parts of the house or any other noise. Bedrooms are where we seek rest and relaxation and therefore, underlayment should be considered here.
If you want to focus 100% on your work, then you certainly need underlayment in your office, be it a home office or one that’s located in a commercial building.
Some people install underfloor heating to keep their home uniformly warm during winters. For this purpose, you need a soundproof underlayment material that is not too thick to get the heat distributed to the floor surface. Besides deadening the noise, it also protects the underfloor heating.
Material And Thickness
The purpose of underlayment should determine the type of material and thickness you should choose.
For example, although sponge or foam is the ideal underlayment material for canceling out noise as it’s thick, you may not need it in your bathroom as much as you would in your study or bedroom.
However, a foam underlayment will not have a layer of plastic to make it waterproof although it will work somewhat as a heat insulator.
An eco-friendly material for underlayment is cork. It’s also antimicrobial, therefore good for people with allergies. They are quite effective, especially in apartment buildings. However, it won’t resist the effects of water on the underlayment although you could get one with a plastic vapor barrier.
Rubber underlayment is great at noise deadening, resisting against water, and improves insulation. But, you cannot use it under vinyl flooring although it’s compatible with carpet, tile or wooden floors.
Because of the thickness of recycled felt, this is often the material of choice for soundproof underlayments. It’s also compatible with all types of floors but you need to look for one with a vapor-resistant layer to provide waterproof and durability features.
The underlayment for your underfloor heating should not be more than 8 millimeters in thickness as otherwise, it will beat the purpose of the underfloor heating. Moreover, the perfect material would be a sponge rubber for this purpose.
Sound Transmission Class or STC and Impact Insulation Class or IIC are the two ratings to be looked at before purchasing underlayment for floors.
1. STC Rating
This rating refers to the ability of the material to drown out airborne noise like speech, animal sounds, noise from road transports, and device sounds like mobile phones, TV, and other gadgets.
This rating is based on logarithms and is carried out in labs. Hence, even a small difference in the resulting number could mean a big difference in noise-canceling abilities. The number ranges between 15 and 80, with a higher number indicating a better ability of the material to resist sounds.
2. IIC Rating
This is a measure of how well the material can negate sounds produced through impact, like walking, running, falling objects, or jumping. This is also a test that’s carried out in labs using a low-tech noise generation method to check the resulting vibrations.
A higher number of the rating indicates the better ability of the material to cancel out impact noise.
Ease of Installation
Materials for an underlayment that weigh less are easier to handle and install. Besides, the method of installation also determines the ease of the process. if you can have the flooring float over the underlayment, then this makes things easier.
A peel-and-stick tape installation is great for achieving a uniform look. Also, check whether you can double-glue or nail the floor and the underlayment on the sub-floor to keep things simple.
You may want to check the recyclability of the underlayment before you buy it if you are conscious about the wellbeing of the environment. Also, if you are planning to have an underlayment on the ground floor or basement, consider choosing one with a vapor barrier.
Top 11 Best Soundproof Underlayment Reviews
1. FLOORLOT SHOP 200sqft 3mm Laminate Flooring Vapor Barrier Underlayment
An easy installation process takes away half the headache of laying a soundproof underlayment. And this is exactly what makes this product so popular!
The peel-and-stick tape ensures you don’t need extra tape and that you can get the leakproof seal with its quick seam sealing feature.
With this in place, you will have no more of the disturbing sounds of running feet or the hollow sounds that come from a floating floor. Its excellent noise reduction ability will make your home and office an oasis amidst the concrete jungle.
Each roll provides total coverage of 200 square feet, thereby helping you to keep things economical.
Moreover, you get more bang for the buck as there is no need for you to invest in additional films as this product already has a built-in 0.4-millimeter thick moisture barrier with overlap to keep your flooring safe from mold and fungus.
The ideal thickness of 3 millimeters provides not only superior walking comfort but also covers up subfloor imperfections so that the floor lays smoothly. With the overlap system, installation becomes much simpler.
As it’s compatible with a wide range of flooring materials including engineered wood, hardwood, laminate, and bamboo, this underlayment gives you more flexibility and usage options.
You will notice a marked difference after you use this underlayment in the way it absorbs sound when walking on the floor and how comfortable your feet feel with each cushioned step.
Extend the lifespan of your floor with this product that reduces noise and prevents vapor and moisture formation with its extra-thick barrier.
2. Roberts 70-190A 70-190 Super Felt Insulating Underlayment
Create a soundproof environment in your home or office with this felt underlayment!
Many people don’t want to use plastic as it’s harmful to the environment. If you belong to this group, then this is the perfect floor underlayment for you as it’s made from recycled felt material.
Very high temperatures are applied to process and compress the materials.The layers of recycled fibersproduce a deep and rich sound instead of the hollow sound associated with loose floor parts. This product has the unique ability to absorb sound instead of diverting it to another part of the house.
Each roll measures 44 inches in width and 27-1/3-feet in length and provides coverage of 100 square feet. The 3-millimeter thickness provides the right cover for any minor irregularities on the sub-floor so that the main floor layer rests smoothly and firmly.
This is compatible with concrete and wooden sub-floors and laminate and engineered wood floors. It provides efficient insulation to help you keep your rooms warm in the winter and cool in summers.
You will find it very comforting to step on the floor with this soundproof underlayment as it reduces the noise and also provides a padded layer to walk on.
With a film layering the felt underlayment, this product protects your subfloors from collecting moisture and giving rise to mold formation that can be so damaging.
The 2.5-inch overlap system with the adhesive strip makes installation hassle-free and rewarding as you can connect more than one roll with the overlap.
3. QuietWalk Underlayment for Laminate Flooring
This is the choice of professional architects for its synthetic fiber pads that provide excellent moisture protection and exceptional acoustic quality.
Compatible with vinyl, laminate, and engineered floors, this underlayment made from recycled fibers absorbs impact and airborne sounds and doesn’t deflect them to other rooms.
Installation is simple as you just need to roll it out and join the seams. You will not get any wrinkles or uneven parts. Just use a utility knife to cut according to your requirements.
The sounds on the floor will not sound hollow because its click-together mechanism is supported by the underlayment with its dense fiber structure. This helps to resist compression, thereby prolonging the life of the flooring, even where foot-traffic is high.
With the vapor barrier, it will not allow the formation of bulk moisture that can lead to the growth of mold. Thanks to the safe antimicrobial compound with which the underlayment is treated to resist mildew and mold.
It goes a step further with moisture barrier by absorbing 5 times its weight of water that may result from faulty plumbing and leaks. Thus, your flooring will remain free from spills and protected. Moreover, the anti-tear property will keep the underlayment in service for a long time.
This is the best underlay for soundproofing as it not only meets the basic requirements but goes beyond by ensuring proper thermal insulation, safe air quality, no smell of petrochemicals, and a strong vapor barrier bonding using high temperatures.
4. First Step 630-Square Foot Roll Underlayment
For any grade of subfloors – below, at, or above par –this underlayment for soundproofing works wonders!
It’s suitable for concrete and wooden subfloors and laminate and engineered wooden overlying floors. Besides the 630 square feet roll, you can also purchase a 100 square feet option. The thickness is 2 millimeters.
The unique airflow technology fights moisture buildup and noise reverberation. The top and bottom layers have Styrofoam balls in between to regulate the air constantly so that there can be no vapor formation.
Any moisture on the subfloor is passed through the bottom layer with the help of the tiny holes. So, when you walk on the main floor, there’s air movement triggered on the underlayment to remove moisture through the walls of the room.
The airflow technology also deadens the impact and airborne sounds, extends the life of the floor through moisture prevention, regulates warmth through insulation, and softness out any imperfections on the subfloor to ensure the main floor can be laid properly.
Treated with GoldGuard microbial protection, you get the extra assurance of protecting the floor and the home or office environment safely.
The densely-packed structure of the underlayment prevents compression and is, therefore, another way to help the floor to last longer.
The adhesive strip makes installation simple and the 4-inch overlap is great for connecting multiple rolls.
If you’re living in condos or apartment blocks, this is the type of underlayment that will help make your and your neighbors’ lives more peaceful.
5. TMS Mass Loaded Vinyl Soundproofing Barrier
When you need a soundproof underlayment not only for the floors but also for a host of other installations, then reach out for this product.
Besides floors, you can use this 0.125-inch thick underlayment on ceilings and walls; around noisy machinery and pipes; under speakers and musical instruments; light fixtures and air conditioning vents; and boats and automobiles.
The 4 feet wide by 10 feet long roll can cover an area of 40 square feet. Each square foot of the material weighs a pound.The heaviness of the material prevents sounds from vibrating. It is fire rated for guaranteeing safety and is made from top quality vinyl.
The uniqueness of the material is that it adds to the mass of any current structure to drown out all types of sounds. It does so without cutting down on your space size. You can also place them under the carpet as an extra-cautionary measure against sounds.
Whether you’re wrapping it around pipes or placing on the ceilings, installation is flexible as you can use various fasteners to keep it in place –tacks, roofing nails, mechanical fasteners, PVC tape, screws with washers, or plastic ties.
As the underlayment is made from virgin material, it doesn’t give out any odor unlike others made from recycled materials. Therefore, you can enjoy a calm environment within the confines of your apartment or workplace without getting the whiff of any unpleasant smell.
Use it in your studios and bathrooms to prevent sound from going out or coming in.
6. AMERIQUE 691322306255 3-In-1 Heavy Duty Foam 3MM Thick Flooring Underlayment
Save more with a bundle of two rolls of this underlayment that can cover 400 square feet of subfloor area!
The heavy-duty foam underlayment for soundproofing has the right thickness of 3 millimeters to put underwooden, laminate, and bamboo floors. The anti-crush technology ensures that the lifespan of the floor is multiplied so that you keep getting the same level of performance year after year.
For excellent sound reduction, the product has used closed foam technology to make sure the impact and structural sounds are absorbed without producing reverberations.
The built-in vapor barrier prevents moisture formation to discourage the growth of mold that can spoil your floors and subfloors. This padding comes with self-adhesive tape and an overlap system to make installation faster and easier. You can also cut pieces from it with a utility knife.
Some users have had issues with laying it straight on the subfloor as it had wrinkles and the adhesive tape did not stick so well.
Its non-allergenic property is great for people who are allergic to dust and other microbes. Moreover, it provides a cushioned step when you walk on it and gives you much comfort. Plus, it doesn’t produce any crunchy noise when you are walking on it.
Many users have claimed it to be the best underlayment for laminate flooring to reduce noise when they have compared this to other higher-end products in the same category. It has also been praised for its thermal insulation quality to keep rooms warm in winter and cool in summer.
7. QEP 72008Q Underlayment
There are many benefits of using a cork underlayment and it will appeal to you especially if you are environment-conscious!
Besides being friendly to the environment, cork is also a healthy choice of underlayment as it is partially responsible for the healthy air quality inside your home or workplace. On top, it is naturally hypoallergenic, a renewable source, and suitable for people with dust allergies.
It also prevents insects, mites, pests, and termites from invading your space. For installation, you could get either a seam tape or an adhesive. You can use it under floors made from laminate, marble, ceramic tile, engineered hardwood, and stone. Thus, cork can be used under a wide variety of floor materials.
This cork underlayment for soundproofing not only reduces impact and airborne sounds, but it also prevents stress cracks from the subfloor to move to the main flooring, thanks to its crack isolation membrane.
It prevents noise from traveling throughout the floor and also doesn’t let it permeate through the floor to other floors in the building.
This product made with cork from Portugal naturally enhances the floor heating system by resisting thermal transmission, hence keeping your rooms warm in winter for longer. Each roll of this product covers an area of 200 square feet.
It’s the perfect thickness of 1/8th inches if you don’t want to raise your floor too high. However, do handle with care as the thin cork underlayment is prone to tearing easily. You can cut it evenly with a box cutter.
8. AMERIQUE AMSLV3MM1R Silver Super Quiet Floor Underlayment
Your premium flooring needs a matching premium underlayment to keep disturbing sounds out and peace in!
Along with sound reduction through its closed foam technology, it also has a built-in moisture barrier so that there’s no bulk vapor to encourage the growth of mold and mildew.
This is a heavy-duty 3-millimeter thick underlayment made from foam to help the upkeep and maintenance of your laminate, bamboo, or wooden floors. With the unique anti-crush technology, this product delivers superior performance and is durable to boot.
Its non-allergenic property is good news for people who suffer from dust allergies and hay fever as it repels dust particles from settling on its surface.
It comes with self-adhesive tape and rolls out easily to help you with simple installation. The overlap system helps to seamlessly connect multiple rolls. If you need to cut parts of it, just use a pair of scissors. You can cover a 200 square feet area with each roll.
The metallic silver color of the underlayment looks attractive. You should be careful while working with this as it might tear easily, but it’s great once you’ve laid it out. It gives a shiny, smooth finish with no ripples or warps.
Many users have praised this underlayment for keeping the warmth of the floor through preventing thermal transmission. Every step that you take on the floor with this underlayment beneath it will be a padded and comfortable one.
Besides the single-roll pack, it’s also available in 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-roll packs for convenience.
9. Floor Muffler UltraSeal Underlayment
As this brand of underlayment believes in what lies underneath counts, it has paid close attention to the construction of the product.
Made from closed-cell, polypropylene foam, this premium 2-millimeter thick protector reduces through-the-floor and across-the-floor sounds effectively in commercial and residential complexes for superior acoustic protection.
It meets and even exceeds the industry standards when it comes to providing excellent moisture protection. You don’t need to invest in separate films as the built-in vapor barrier does an outstanding job of preventing moisture buildup and mold formation.
The product also contributes to the air quality of the interiors, making sure the air you breathe in is free from harmful substances. Besides, the materials used are completely recyclable, hence itdoesn’t cause harm to the environment.
This is the best soundproof underlayment for solid and engineered hardwood as well as laminate floorings as its dense structure prevents compression and helps to lengthen the lifespan of the floors. Thus, it saves you repair and replacement money in the long run.
If you are looking for comfortable walking space, then this product is ideal for you as it not only provides a cushioned step that’s gentle on your feet but also warms up cool floors with its thermal insulation property. So, if your floors have a radiant heating system, then this protector is compatible with it.
It is easy to install as it lays flat without wrinkles and you could use three ways of securing it –double glue down, floating, or nail down. The choice is yours!
10. STEICO Wood Fiber Flooring Underlayment
If you’re looking for a natural option,you could try this underlayment made from 100% natural wood fiber.
This material does not diminish in its quality or shape over the years, making it a great long-term investment. The wood fibers are bound together with a natural resin, thus it has no synthetic component in it. The natural glue makes the product hardy and durable.
Only spruce and pine fibers are used to form this underlayment as these are the only types of wood that meet the length requirements. Installation is easy as no glue is required. You can either nail it down or leave it floating.
The underlaymentproduces zero toxic emissions, ensuring you live and breathe in a safe environment. Its natural and dense structure absorbs impact and airborne noise and prevents these from reverberating across or through the floors.
It can withstand pressure due to its solid structure and therefore, will not produce squeaky sounds at the joints. So, when you walk on it, it won’t produce any hollow noise, thanks to its click-lock protection, which also prevents your steps from feeling springy.
If your concrete underflooring has some bumps on it, this 3-millimeter thick underlayment will cancel these out and form a straight and solid barrier between the floor and subfloor.
With a unique Water Vapor Open feature, the underlayment allows free flow of air and moisture within its natural wood fibers. It can hold moisture of up to 20-25% of its mass without losing its ability to prevent sound and moisture transmission.
11. Serenity Foam Underlayment for Laminate Flooring
A basic underlayment made from foam, this is suitable for wooden subfloors and engineered wood and laminate flooring.
As it doesn’t come equipped with a built-in moisture barrier, you need to buy one separately if you are planning to put this on concrete slabs or subfloors. However, it provides a comfortable and cushioned step on the floor and reduces noise significantly.
The materials it’s made from are of good quality and suitable for use with floorings that have a radiant heating system. The thermal insulation works well to keep the chill off the floors.
If the subfloor has minor irregularities, this soundproof underlayment can tackle this issue by smoothening it out to give a level field for the main flooring.
The thickness is 3/32-inch, making it a multipurpose material for not only underlayment but for also wrapping up ceramic crockery and Christmas decorations. It comes in handy when you are relocating as you can wrap your valuables with this material.
Each roll of this product weighs one pound and measures 4 feet in width and 25 feet in length with a coverage of 100 square feet.
The lightweight feature makes it easy to handle. The underlayment rolls out without a fuss for a hassle-free installation. Use a pair of scissors for cutting parts of it. Tape down for optimum results when you’re working.
Users have had success with this product when placed under hardwood flooring and garage decks. It doesn’t give the squeaky sound of tiles when you walk on it.
Benefits Of Using Soundproof Underlayment
There are several benefits of using soundproof underlayment between the floor and the sub-floor, both functional and for comfort.
In rooms with high ceilings or in apartment blocks where many families live on many different floors, there’s bound to be some impact noise like falling objects or simply walking. And, if pets or children are living in these houses or apartments, then there’s a higher chance of such noise.
To cancel out the noise as much as possible, it’s necessary to use the best underlayment for laminate flooring so that you have a peaceful home or work environment and you do not disturb the neighbors.
Flooring Upkeep And Comfort
To protect your tile or wooden flooring and even your carpeting, an underlayment is necessary. It gives you a softer surface so that you have more comfort while walking and at the same time, produce less impact noise.
Moreover, the underlayment gives long-term protection to the flooring material, making them last longer. Many types of flooring shift when there’s a change in weather and an underlayment prevents tiles from shifting during these times.
Prevents Mold Formation
Mold can damage the flooring if left unattended for too long. Mold also has various effects on human health.
An underlayment does another important job of preventing moisture build-up on the flooring. As it acts as a barrier against water and moisture, it prevents the growth of mold.
Also, for people with allergies, an underlayment provides respite as it reduces the airflow and prevents dust particles from entering and forming a film in your home.
The underlayment helps to regulate the temperatures in your home or office as it prevents the warmth from escaping during the winters and the cool air from the air conditioner during the summers. Thus, it helps save energy and electricity bills.
Smoothens Subfloor Imperfections
With a layer of underlayment, you can smoothen any imperfections your subfloor may have. This will lead to a better laying of the floor as it won’t rest on an uneven surface as there is the underlayment in between.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What Is The Difference Between Airborne And Structural Noise?
Answer: The noise that travels through the air is referred to as airborne noise. Examples include people talking, babies crying, dogs barking, cars passing on the streets, and noise from the television.
Structural noise or impact noise is that which is produced as a result of an action. For example, walking, jumping, running, and moving the furniture create impact noise.
2. Is It Necessary To Have Underlayment With Vapor Barrier?
Answer: No, it’s not necessary that your floor underlayment should have a vapor barrier. This is especially so in the case of upper floors of a building that get the advantage of more heat from the sunlight, thus preventing a moisture build-up and subsequent fungus or mold growth.
However, it is necessary for ground floors and basements as these areas are closer to the ground and will absorb moisture more easily.
3. What Can I Do To Negate Noise Completely?
Answer: As underlayment can reduce the impact or airborne noise but will not get rid of them completely, you can take other measures to further reduce the sound.
Opt for carpets that are thick and dense and place them around the house. Or, you could place rubber floor mats under the rugs and carpets to deaden the sounds further. Mass loaded vinyl is thin vinyl sheets that can be placed on the floors. They are pretty effective to drown out sounds.
4. What Are Acoustic Tiles?
Answer: If the underlayment beneath the flooring has not been able to reduce noise, you can try using acoustic tiles. These can be placed on the walls and the floor and are a special type of tiles. They can absorb the sound from the walls or the heavy-traffic floor areas.
For optimum results, acoustic tiles are used along with traditional soundproof underlayments.
5. Is It Okay To Use Rubber Underlayment For Vinyl Flooring?
Answer: No, rubber underlayment is not suitable for vinyl flooring because of staining issues. However, it’s perfectly compatible with all other flooring materials like wood, carpets, or tiles.
For vinyl flooring, cork is the ideal underlayment material as it won’t damage the vinyl or stain it. Felt and foam are also usually safe options. However, do not choose a cork rubber blend as the rubber will stain and spoil the vinyl.
Our eyes are trained to look more around the left and right than in an upward or downward direction. However, sometimes it pays to look at the ground beneath your feet to make sure you’re standing on a floor that’s well protected from sound, moisture, and other issues.
When building a home or office, flooring is a key consideration as it sets the tone and looks of the interiors. But what lies beneath the floor is more important. That’s why this article on the soundproof underlayment has been put together to steer you in the right direction.
With the best soundproof underlayment, you not only reduce noise but also extend the lifespan of the floor, get better thermal insulation, discourage mold growth, and have a more comfortable experience when you walk.
Hope this article will help you get to know the flooring material before you choose the underlayment that’s compatible with it. Remember that a great foundation for your floors will keep the whole house standing!
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