From recording studios to home offices and everything in between, soundproofing spaces can help you do your work and go about your life in peace and quiet. One of the most effective and essential tools in soundproofing a space is underlayment.
This involves placing soundproof material beneath your flooring, and different types of floors, such as laminate and hardwood, have different soundproofing needs.
Whether you’re looking for the best soundproof underlayment for hardwood floors, the best options for laminate, or the best soundproof underlayment overall, this list has something for everyone.
Table of Contents
- What to Look for?
- Comparison Table
- 1) FloorLot Blue Laminate Flooring Underlayment
- 2) QEP 72003Q Cork Underlayment Roll
- 3) Floor Muffler Ultra Seal Underlayment 300SF
- 4) Roberts Super Felt Premium Underlayment
- 5) Roberts AirGuard 5-in-1 Floor Underlayment (Best for Laminate Flooring)
- 6) Feather Step 3-in-1 Silent Vapor Barrier Underlayment
- 7) QuietWalk Plus Underlayment
- 8) Schluter Ditra Underlayment (Best for Hardwood Flooring)
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What to Look for?
First, let’s touch on three basic qualities you’ll want to look for in any soundproofing underlayment:
- Sound Transmission Class, or STC, which refers to the degree to which soundproofing material can block sound by reducing decibels. For domestic and commercial properties, levels between 20 and 60 and above are most common. The higher the number, the more effective it is.
- Impact Insulation Class, or IIC, which measures how well a floor can reduce “impact noise (think footsteps and similar actions) with higher numbers indicating greater effectiveness.
- Thickness and Density, with thicker and denser underlayment often more effective.
With these factors in mind, let’s take a closer look at the top flooring underlayment options on the market.
1) FloorLot Blue Laminate Flooring Underlayment
As the name would imply, this is another underlayment strip that excels at providing soundproofing to laminate flooring. It is certainly one of the larger options on this list, measuring 200 square feet per roll and 3 mm thick.
The underlayment is specially engineered to work well with laminate and engineered flooring. It comes with an adhesive strip that makes it easy to stick into place. Rather than having to attach separate adhesive strips, all you have to do is peel back the tape and use the strip’s adhesiveness.
The underlaying does not come with grid lines, which can make it more difficult to align and attach for newcomers to floor underlaying. That said, this isn’t too great of a barrier, and for experienced users it should not matter at all.
The bottom of the underlaying is cushioned, which can help reduce squeaky floors.
Our rating: 4.8 / 5
2) QEP 72003Q Cork Underlayment Roll
One of the most underrated, yet effective, means of dampening sound is with cork underlayment. The soft cushioned material does a good job of absorbing pressure, which means it can help absorb the shock and noise of things such as footsteps and wheels rolling overhead. The difference is especially noticeable when compared to a bare uncushioned subfloor.
This cork underlayment option for QEP is one of the thickest options at this list at 6 mm thickness. That makes it ideal for working with surfaces where extra-thick, extra-cushioned underlayment is called for, including hardwood, laminate, and tile.
Once problem with floors’ undersides we haven’t discussed so far is pests. The last thing you want is for ants or rats to claw their way up through your underlaying. After all, blocking out sound won’t matter much if you have insects or rodents nibbling their way into your room instead. One of the other big benefits of cork underlaying is that its toughness and consistency help it repel many pests. In addition, the extra cushioning can also be useful for easing stress on floors, thereby helping prevent cracks.
That said, you need to watch the humidity level in your home carefully, lest the cork expand and spoil.
In addition, the cork can be more difficult to tear than other options.
Still, cork is an eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, and one of the best soundproof underlayment options.
Our rating: 4.7 / 5
3) Floor Muffler Ultra Seal Underlayment 300SF
This option from Floor Muffler is made from a special type of polypropylene foam with closed cells that are designed to absorb and cancel noise. It is available in both regular and ultraseal variants, with the latter offering a slightly tighter seal, and it is easier to tape down.
Its construction is similar to the Roberts First Step underlaying. This Floor Muffler option is on the thin side for underlaying. Just like the Feather Step, this is another underlaying option which is only 2 mm thick. That said, it scores highly in STC (73) and IIC (74). The STC rating of 73 means it should be good enough to insulate your floors from most indoor and much outdoor loud sounds, such as traffic. In addition, while the Floor Muffler is on the thin side for soundproof underlaying, that thinness allows for a lot of flexibility in terms of how you want to install it.
Floor Muffler is the best soundproof underlayment here for wood and cement flooring.
In addition to soundproofing, this option from Floor Muffler has the added benefit of offering protection against moisture and mold. We live in an era where environmental consciousness is more in demand than ever, and Floor Muffler fits right in with that, being made from eco-friendly 100% recyclable materials.
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
4) Roberts Super Felt Premium Underlayment
One of the biggest themes that will come up is how well the options here are able to balance those three factors listed above. While it is not a leader in any one factor, this underlayment from Roberts does a good job of balancing these options.
With an STC rating of 66, this underlayment is able to block most exterior sound, with even loud sounds being muffled or cancelled out. Its IIC rating of 67 is about middle of the road for these ratings, allowing it to cancel a fair amount of interior sound while still not stifling things such as footsteps and squeaky floors entirely. This underlayment also boasts a good deal of thickness at 3 mm.
This is eco-friendly underlayment as well, partially made from recycled fibers. This felt is also designed to absorb rather than reflect noise, adding to its noise-cancelling abilities. While it can be applied to a wide range of surfaces, it can be most effective with laminate and engineered flooring.
As an added bonus, it can provide added insulation to your flooring, helping it remain cooler in hot months while keeping it warmer and blocking out moisture during the winter and rainy seasons.
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
5) Roberts AirGuard 5-in-1 Floor Underlayment (Best for Laminate Flooring)
Laminate flooring can be especially difficult when it comes to soundproofing an area. This is because laminate makes use of fiberboard cores that need to be protected against moisture, which can cause it to swell and severely damage your flooring. That means that soundproof underlayment for laminate flooring has the double challenge of guarding against both sound as well as moisture.
The Roberts Airguard rises to that challenge as the best soundproof underlay for laminate flooring. Its underlaying is made with its special AirGuard technology – which improves airflow between parts of the cushioning – as well as Microban. Both of these elements work to keep moisture from becoming trapped within the underlayment, thereby helping prevent water and mold buildup.
What’s more, the AirGuard underlayment doesn’t just guard against moisture, but external and interior noise as well. This underlayment boasts a highly respectable STC rating of 67 and an IIC rating of 68. Both of these are on the higher side for flooring underlayment, especially for laminate floors.
The Underlayment is also reasonably durable and, with the added benefit of 4-inch self-adhesive strips, is easy to install.
The sheets can be a bit frustrating to cut into shape. This is due in part to the fact that they can shed Styrofoam beads as you attempt to cut it to the shape you want.
That said, this is easily the best soundproof underlay for laminate flooring.
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
6) Feather Step 3-in-1 Silent Vapor Barrier Underlayment
The first thing to say about the Feather Step is that it is indeed feather-thin compared to other underlaying options at just 2 mm. It makes use of a foam and film foil vapor barrier and adhesive strips that allow it to be stuck into place with ease. While this material is on the thin side, this foam-film combination is nevertheless quite durable, which makes it less susceptible to tear than other types of underlaying that make use of foam.
It has an STC rating of 65, which should be enough to block most loud exterior sounds. The ICC rating of 64 is lower than other options on this list, but is nevertheless respectable in its ability to dampen sound. What’s more, not only can the Feather Step help dampen sound from the outside, but the added cushioning can also help eliminate squeaky floors.
Each role comes packed separately in a roll of plastic wrap.
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
7) QuietWalk Plus Underlayment
Tile can be especially difficult to soundproof. That’s what makes the QuietWalk Plus underlayment stand out. With an IIC rating of 71, it isn’t just one of the most highly-rated options on this list in that regard, but it is especially notable for achieving that when paired with tiling. It also boasts a solid STC rating of 66 and is nice and thick at 3.1 mm.
The underlayment’s rubber structure provides rigid, stable support for tiling, thereby keeping them from deforming, cracking, or making too much noise when stepped upon.
Our rating: 4.4 / 5
8) Schluter Ditra Underlayment (Best for Hardwood Flooring)
While other options are good for hardwood and laminate, this offering from Schluter Ditra stands apart. It comes in 54 square feet rolls and makes use of a cushioned grid structure paired with a fleece underside. That added cushioning can help pad and protect your flooring against moisture as well as soundproof your interior.
While it is listed as underlayment with soundproofing capabilities, it has the lowest IIC rating on this list – 28 on bare slabs and 38 on tiling. That doesn’t mean that it is not able to block out exterior sound. In addition, it is not intended as a solo soundproofing measure, but rather is meant to be used in tandem with other options. That said, it is also one of the most multifaceted options listed here as it can guard against both exterior sound as well as moisture and is the best soundproof underlayment for hardwood.
Our rating: 4.2 / 5
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Here is a list of the most asked questions about soundproof underlayment.
1) Does soundproof underlay work?
In short, yes, it does. Soundproof underlayment is designed to reduce both, sound and reflective noise through the floor sound transmission and absorption.
2) Which underlay is best for soundproofing?
There are several brands that specialize in manufacturing quality soundproof underlayment. Just to mention a few: FloorLot, QEP, QuietWalk, Floor Muffler, etc. Most manufactures produce various models with different sound insulation materials and sound-proof ratings, so make sure to check each underlay respectively.
3) Does soundproof underlayment provides cushioning and moisture barrier?
Yes, most of them provide these features. However, make sure to double-check this information with the manufacturer before your purchase.
4) My underlayment has foam on one side and plastic on the other. Which side is up?
The foam side is up, the plastic side (moisture barrier) is pointed at the bottom.
Which flooring underlaying is right for you will ultimately depend on your type of flooring. Options such as the Roberts AirGuard can do wonders for laminate, the Floor Muffler works well with cement, the Schluter Ditra is especially useful for hardwood, and the QEP can work well with for floors that may benefit from cork.
Whether you’re looking for the best soundproof underlay for laminate flooring, best soundproof underlayment for hardwood, or the best soundproof underlayment overall, you’ll want to review your floor type first and search and soundproof accordingly.
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