Best underlay for impact noise reduction?

19 Jan 2006
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United Kingdom
I searched through the archives on "underlay", but I didn't really find an answer to this question, so apologies for bringing it up again. Anyway:
The upstairs floor in our new two-storey is plywood on joists, and I guess we are resigned to a certain level of impact noise from footfall (kids!) transmitting to downstairs. We are going to lay timber floors, and I'm looking for a recommendation for the best underlay for damping the impact noise. There are a lot of products out there, and they all make haughty claims, but it would be great if someone could pass on their own experience, good or bad ...
Carpet is not really an option.
Many thanks!
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We can recommend Timbermate Duratex (4mm insulation = 23dB), make sure you don't get the Excell version which has a DPM combined = not suitable for installing on sheet material.
Also make sure your floorboards don't 'hit' any walls, doorpost or other sound-transporting structures otherwise whatever you use will have the effect you want.
Thanks WYL, that's great.
What would you say about doing something mad like doubling up with another layer of Duratex or some other product for extra effect, or is that just complicating matters by possibly mis-using the product(s) ...?
(Of course the extra height adds its own issues re planing doors etc.)
Thanks again.
Well, the bigest problem you would get with doubling up is creating a bouncy floor.
Duratex on it's own would normally do the trick, if you're not sure you have to invest in a more expensive sound-insulation product (like 5mm Technics 27dB, costing around £100 ex VAT for a roll of 15 sq m, where the Duratex normally costs £32 ex VAT for hte same 15 sq m).
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Hi again,
I just cannot get Timbermate Duratex in Ireland. Every timber supplier will only sell me Excell. I can however get my hands on Technics 5, after much trying. Again, everyone is trying to sell me Boardwalk 2, so I'm ploughing a lonely furrow here trying to resist the foilback solution to my particular underlay needs (solid wood upstairs floating on ply)!

The Technics is coming in at about twice the price of say Excell/Boardwalk 2 (which of course are foil-backed). I'm willing to pay the extra as the 27 dB rating is very attractive. Has anybody got first-hand experience of using Technics 5 in a scenario such as mine? I don't mind paying a couple of hundred Euro extra and the extra 1.5 mm height if it significantly damps the thud of my noisy nippers!

Thanks again!
Croppy said:
Hi again,
I just cannot get Timbermate Duratex in Ireland. Every timber supplier will only sell me Excell.

Very strange! If they have Excell, their supplier must also be able to supply the Duratex. Why don't you keep insisting on the duratex, explain why you need it.
Our wholesaler also only lists the Excell in their catalogue, but when I asked if they also did the Duratex I got a positive answer and price.
Sorry if we can't be of further help.
No problem WYL, thanks for all your help.

About the Technics then, is there any drawback, other than the price? Remember, I'm like a pioneer here, well in my part of the world anyway!
I even had to go to a carpet retailer to get the Technics.

Can't comment on underlayments, but if you're interested in a very durable flooring material that also cushions against foot falls, then go talk to the COMMERCIAL salesman at your local carpet retailer about Johnsonite Comfortech flooring.

This is a bulletproof synthetic rubber flooring made in three layers, with the middle layer a soft shock absorbing foam cushion layer. It's very comfortable to walk on and made for commercial and industrial settings where people are on their feet all day long, but is more durable than carpet.

In the San Diego Terrarium (where they keep lizards), they installed Johnsonite Comfortech flooring to absorb the impact of foot falls. The reason why is that lizards detect the presence of prey with their feet through ground vibrations, and a normal flooring would have the lizards thinking they are surrounded by much bigger lizards (the human visitors to the terrarium) all day long. So, if this flooring can absorb foot falls sufficiently well to keep a small lizard relaxed when surrounded by much bigger animals, it should do exceedingly well in a residential environment.

Synthetic rubber is probably the most durable flooring I know of except for the hard black plastic or rubber mats they have in skating rinks that people can walk on with their ice skates. I installed synthetic rubber stair treads in the front and back stairwells of my building, and I'm very happy with it.
do a search for cloud 9 underlay should be able to get that in Ireland

We've got wooden flooring in our bedroom and laminate in our kids bedrooms (they wrecked 2 very expensive woollen carpets in our last house!). We have used this type of thing under it all

The eldest can have his music really loud and we don't hear it downstairs as the boards absorb the noise - they're brilliant.

Ours are green in colour and we got them from a joiners merchants if it's any help.

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