Carpet underlay is an essential accessory to carpets. It is vital for protecting your carpet against wear and tear and thereby enhancing the life of the carpet.
Underlay can be used to help improve sound absorption efficiency, helping to reduce noise levels in your home and stop your downstairs neighbors from hearing your every footstep.
There is a wealth of great looking acoustic underlay floor materials out there, but not nearly as many products that can make them sound as good as they look. The most commonly used product is a soundproof floor underlay, but there are other options like soundproofing floor mat, insulation, and acoustic foam tile products.
Here is an overview of each category of materials:
- Acoustic Underlayment
Special materials that lay over a concrete or plywood subfloor, cushioning the flooring and reducing the effects of airborne and impact noise. See the definitions of STC and IIC below.
- Sound Deadening Vinyl
Also known as Mass Loaded Vinyl, this is a thin but heavy vinyl sheet that excels at dampening noise, especially in floors, machinery, and vehicles.
- Sound Absorbing Floor Insulation
This would be acoustic insulation that gets stuffed between floor joists, immediately below the subfloor. It can also be installed from the ceiling in the floor below.
- Acoustic Floor Tiles
These are special floor tiles that help reduce echo and reverberation in rooms with hard surfaces and floors.
- Sound Absorbing Carpet Padding
Carpets with a cheap pad don’t perform as well as a carpet with a thicker, more dense, noise absorbent padding.