The current trend is towards condominium apartments and hardwood flooring. These are items on which a simple ball bearing is enough to cause quite a commotion. It becomes difficult to find silence and owners can quickly suffer from headaches or irritation. To remedy this, we suggest that you install a high-quality membrane in your floor. The goal is to limit noise from one floor to the next. However, it is clear that it is not always easy to find the right flooring membrane on the market. To help you find your way around, this article presents an idea of flooring membranes to adopt for unparalleled sound comfort.
The acoustic membrane is a piece of equipment that helps reduce the transmission of impact noise such as footsteps, chair leg rubbing, falling objects and more. This phenomenon is more easily resolved by working on the top of the floor than by the ceiling below it. In conventional construction, the hardwood floor is nailed into a plywood that is screwed and glued to the floor structure, which in turn is solidly nailed to the wall structure. This assembly ensures that the slightest vibration on the floor is transferred to the plywood and then to the floor and wall structure. The result: the plaster coatings on the walls and ceilings only vibrate, which is not always pleasant to live with. In this case, the role of the acoustic membrane is to uncouple the hardwood covering from the plywood by eliminating any form of rigid fastening. An effective way to cut off vibration directly at the source.
Concrete floors are not immune to impact noise problems. Indeed, even with its resistant and reinforced structure, a concrete floor covering is not immune to the noise coming from one floor to another. A 20 cm thick concrete floor with an IIC index of barely 37, whereas a value of at least 50 should be sought in order to make the noise acceptable to 90% of the population. By adding a few millimeters of carpet or acoustic membrane, you can increase the index to around 60. However, in residential renovation, it is not easy to exceed a CII of 50 for existing floors because of the noise that passes through walls, plumbing, doors, ventilation ducts and electrical boxes. Existing walls are also complicated to make completely sealed at an acceptable price.
When you decide to install a floating wood floor over an acoustic membrane, the membrane should be neither too thick nor too soft. However, if it is too soft, the tongue and groove joints of the planks may move under the steps with a hinging motion. This could cause the floorboard tongues to crack. On the other hand, for hardwood floors, the ideal would be to always opt for a thin and relatively firm membrane. Anyone who wants to maximize the soundproofing of the floor against airborne sound can also add a concrete screed of about 38 mm to the wood floor. This practice is very common and is particularly appreciated in new condominiums because of its efficiency and practicality. The acoustical membrane to be installed should act as a vapour barrier between the plywood and the thin concrete screed. In this way, the water in the concrete will not be absorbed by the wood and the concrete will have the opportunity to harden under the right humidity conditions. Note that the membrane can be raised slightly vertically on the walls to create a watertight pool, while at the same time preventing contact between the floor covering and the wall structure. This is the best way to reduce the transmission of impact sound to the structure of the entire building.