How to choose the right acoustic floating floor panel
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One of the most effective ways to reduce sound transmission through a separating floor is to create an acoustic floating floor.
This is a proven approach to reducing both airborne and impact sound because it is a design in which the floor panels are decoupled from the structure through a resilient layer, breaking sound paths as a result.
Providing the flooring panels are sealed properly around the perimeter using a flanking strip, such as the Hush HD Flanking Strip, and any gaps are treated using an acoustic sealant like Hush Acoustic & Intumescent Sealant, significant sound reduction performance can be achieved through the combination of separation and cushioning.
But with at least 15 different acoustic floating flooring panels available from Hush Acoustics alone, which of these is right for your project? Unfortunately there is no one size fits all to answer that question, but there are four key considerations when selecting a floating floor panel.
Floating floor height build up
One of the most obvious differences between the acoustic floating floor panels is their thickness. The reason for this is to ensure Hush products can accommodate a wide range of project requirements and structural floor constructions.
For example, the majority of floor constructions and applications are suited to the most widely used of all the Hush floating flooring panels, Hush Panel 28. This comprises a P5 moisture resistant chipboard and a 10mm layer of the Hush Felt resilient layer, which makes the panel incredibly versatile for use in the majority of material change of use projects, as well as some new build developments.
Hush Panel 28 is actually the UK’s most specified acoustic floor panel of its kind, but it may not be suitable where the floor build-up limit is restricted – in which case a thinner acoustic floor panel such as Hush Panel 14 and Hush Panel 17 may meet the brief.
Why density matters
The importance of density in selecting an floating floor product is crucial, particularly when dealing with lighter floor structures such as steel or certain timber frames
For such scenarios, the Hush CEM Panel range is recommended due to its higher mass. For instance, the Hush Panel CEM 28, compared to its non-cement counterpart, Hush Panel 28, offers an additional 10 kg/m² of mass. This extra mass is pivotal for achieving desired acoustic performance in settings where sound reduction is paramount.
In some circumstances it is really important to maximise the mass in the floor to meet the target acoustic performance, which is why Hush manufactures heavier boards. The composition of the Hush Panel Cem boards is a high density cement particle chipboard, a 10mm Hush Felt resilient layer and a 5mm Hush Barrier Mat, which combine to provide the extra density that is so important in blocking soundwaves.
Where a high acoustic performance is required, it will be necessary for the floor panel to provide extra mass and more resilient material. Here the Hush Panel Cem 37 could be used, as it has a 15mm layer of Hush Felt resilient material, compared to 10mm on Hush Panel Cem 28, plus a 22mm cement particle board.
How are the floor finishes to be installed?
A further factor in deciding which floating floor panel to use is how the proposed floor finish will be installed. It is important to understand which panel is best suited to the floor finish materials to ensure the completed project meets the aesthetic goals in the long term without unwanted movement or deterioration in quality over time.
Again, the Hush range offers products to accommodate every type of floor finish, from laminate and LVT to ceramic tiles and carpets, and the team can advise on the best solution for your project. Knowing the finer details of how products combine can make a big difference, such as which adhesives work best with plywood topped products, for example – a factor that could make Hush Ply 28 a better option than Hush Panel 28 or the Hush cem panels.
Target acoustic performance
The final consideration is what level of acoustic performance the separating floor requires. As a general rule of thumb, the more density, mass and separation that can be built into the floor construction, the more effective it will be at stopping sound transmission between the upper and lower rooms.
Clearly there are numerous factors which can influence the maximum possible airborne and impact sound reduction level, such as the floor height build-up and limitations presented by the ceiling conditions. Hence why the Hush floating floor panel range provides a product to meet any acoustic performance goals, from compliance to ‘better’ and best.