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 neighbours from hearing your every footstep.
The most effective carpet underlays for soundproofing are made from rubber & cork.
Any underlay you want to use for soundproofing a floor should have a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating of at least 0.4. In simple terms, underlay with an NRC rating of 0.4 should absorb 40% of footfall noise.
Below we have put together a list of different acoustic underlays ranked from most to least effective for soundproofing:
A rubber cork underlay is made from a mix of rubbers & cork. This gives it a high density which allow it to offer exceptional acoustic insulation.
Rubber-cork underlay is easy to install, lightweight, and moisture resistant along with being an environmentally friendly product.
It provides superior heat (and sound) insulation and is a cost-effective solution to save money spent on heat energy. Rubber cork underlay should not be used in high moisture areas such as kitchens or bathrooms.
Rubber is one of the best sound absorbing underlay materials that experts recommend. Most rubber underlay is produced from recycled rubber making it far more environmentally friendly than it used to be.
Commercially available rubber underlay is easy to install and doesn’t need to be glued with adhesives. In fact, these products are super strong and resilient to wear and tear.
They provide soft, comfortable underfoot padding, and are usually available in flat or waffle designs. Flat underlay offers greater support and stability to the carpet, while waffle underlay provides a more comfortable feel underfoot as well as maginally improving the thermal insulation of the underlay.
Cork underlay isone of the strongest sound absorbing materials. Cork is known to be a fantastic acoustic insulator which is also very effective for heat insulation too.
Cork underlay is usually made from the outer bark of the cork oak tree. Cork is also excellent at eliminating bacteria, mildew, and mold growth. It is easy to maintain and has a long life duration.
Crumb rubber underlay is manufactured using old or recycled car tires, making it an environmentally-friendly underlay solution.
It is highly durable and resilient and known to provide extra firmness to the carpet.
Felt underlay has high-density as it is produced from recycled fibers. It can be mixed with wool, jute, fabric bags, and even old clothes making it a solidly eco-friendly option. It owes its sound absorbtion capacity to its high density.
Felt underlay is strong and less susceptible to crumble under the pressure of heavy furniture. It is made of wool fibers which are also great for heat insulation as well.
Foam is the most inexpensive form of carpet underlay.
It is made from either prime Polyurethane material or bonded polyurethane chip material. Foam underlay can be used under soft carpets but is not suitable for wood and vinyl floors.
Most foam underlay offer moisture protection and resistance against mold and mildew. It usually will come with an adhesive glue strip and is quite easy to install.
Carpet underlay is a cost-effective solution for improving carpet life as well as improving thermal and sound insulation in your room.
A carpet underlay is a thin layer of cushioning installed beneath the carpet. They are created out of different materials including felt, rubber, cork, sponge, foam, rubber cork, and crumb rubber.
Underlay is an essential accessory to carpets. And there are different variants available in the market depending on their thickness, density, and material.
Soundproof underlay is valuable not just because it can help muffle sound, here are some other reasons why you should invest in some good quality underlay:
It increases the longevity of the carpet. Underlay protects your carpet from indentation damage caused by heavy furniture and increases its lifespan.
A quality acoustic underlay adds a cushioning thickness of approximately 6 to 10 mm. This kind of extra padding improves the comfort and feel of the carpet.
Underlay protects your carpet from friction and reduces the pressure of the hard flooring beneath it. This helps reduce wear and tear on the delicate strands of carpet threads, especially those that are handcrafted using silk or wool.
Underlay provides better thermal insulation than carpet alone. It comes with tiny holes that trap warmth inside and keep your home warm during winter. This prevents the cold from escaping through the extra layer, helping maintain ambient temperature levels throughout the year.
As already mentioned underlaycan help improve the sound resistance of your floor especially if you choose an underlay made from materials that have high sound absorbing qualities such as cork or rubber.
The extra underlay padding protects your carpet as well as home from any moisture that may seep in through the flooring, minimising structural damage to your floor.
Most underlays are treated with anti-microbial treatments. Yhese products also help in preventing the growth of fungus, mildew, and mold. Using carpet underways is especially helpful in preventing allergens from spreading in your home.
In a layman’s language, soundproofing is preventing the entrance of or reducing unwanted noise in your home.
The process of soundproofing uses different techniques that may diffuse, reflect, or absorb the sound waves and thus prevent them from entering your home.
There are lots of techniques that you can employ to help soundproof your home, some of the quickest, easiest and most budget friendly soundproofing wins come from things like soundproofing your doors and windows, or simply putting a rug down!
There are two different categories of noise—airborne noise and impact noise.
While airborne noise includes sounds of music, television, babies, animals, and means of transport, impact noise includes the noise made by walking, jumping, running, and dropping of objects.
Carpet underlays are perfect for blocking impact noise. Here are some factors to consider for using these underlays for blocking noise:
High-density material like a sponge, rubber, foam is better for blocking impact noise.
A thickness of about 8mm and above provides optimum protection from outside noise.
Underlay materials that come with adhesive glue strips are better suited for blocking noise as they will not move easily and will be more efficient at blocking noise.