Noise and acoustic management are a significant concern in hotels, apartment living and close quarters communities. One way to reduce noise is by installing the right flooring. There are very few flooring materials that can boast true soundproofing, but there are options that can absorb sound and help make living spaces quieter and more peaceful for everyone.
Carpet, Wood and Tile Vs Luxury Vinyl Flooring
Carpet is the most popular choice in community living because it is cheap, easy to install and provides enough cushion to appreciably reduce the sound of footsteps. However, carpet has many drawbacks, especially in the context of tenants who may not treat their flooring with care.
Some of those drawbacks include:
- Highly susceptible to water damage
- Gets dirty quickly and traps odors and stains
- Needs to be replaced often
- Holds onto debris and dirt from animals and shoes
- Difficult to maintain and keep clean
- Not considered particularly aesthetically appealing unless it’s an especially high end, expensive type of carpet
While aesthetically pleasing, wood is likely the least desirable option when it comes to noise reduction. Hardwood flooring is praised for not only its beautiful aesthetic but its natural acoustic properties. Sound reverberates off wood flooring and makes an echo. Wood is prized in music studios and some music venues, but it creates an effect that is the opposite of what most residents want in their living spaces. Hardwood can be difficult to maintain, is easily scratched or damaged and one of the most expensive residential flooring options.
Most landlords aren’t keen on investing in wood for their multifamily properties for a variety of reasons (price, needing to refinish, questionable tenant treatment of flooring, risk of water damage, etc.) – sound transmission is just another item on the long list of drawbacks for this type of use.
Like wood flooring, tile does not absorb sound but instead can spread or even amplify it. Some types of porcelain, ceramic and stone tile are also prone to cracking and breaking when they’re not treated with care. If a tenant drops something heavy on your tile not only will it crack, but you’ll be able to hear it cracking from far away. Higher end stone or porcelain tiles are often not ideal for multi-resident living.
Even laminate flooring, which can often be found in apartments, can be noisy. The thin layered construction (wear layer + design layer + wood-based fiberboard core) offers little noise insulation between residents above and below. The wood-based cores in laminate also make the flooring far more susceptible to water damage compared to LVT and LVP, which is a serious drawback in multifamily settings.
Luxury Vinyl Tile and Plank with Sound Absorbing Underlayment
When it comes to sound reduction in a multifamily residential or commercial setting, luxury vinyl tile and plank makes the most sense. LVT and LVP are cost-efficient, easy to install, and many designs incorporate noise reducing attributes.
Metroflor’s Inception SPC (Solid Polymer Composite) and Genesis WPC flooring combine the affordability of vinyl flooring, the beautiful look of wood flooring and cutting-edge sound absorption technologies.
Each Genesis plank has a 1.5mm pre-attached acoustical IXPE (cross linked polyethylene) underlayment that insulates sound. Genesis’s ISOCORE technology also makes it exceptionally sturdy and waterproof – both highly valuable attributes in multifamily housing.
Inception SPC also has a pre-attached sound mitigating and shock absorbing underlayment. This 1.0mm HDPE (high density polyethylene) underlayment not only provides sound insulation and better impact protection, but it also makes the flooring especially comfortable and warm underfoot.
Maybe the most important attribute for multifamily property owners is affordability. In addition to the sound reduction, comfort and durability benefits, LVT is also inexpensive. Multifamily property owners can get the luxurious aesthetic of wood without the corresponding price.
The unique combination of affordability, comfort, durability, design diversity and longevity make luxury vinyl flooring the best flooring for apartments, assisted living communities and other multifamily luxury living complexes. If you are looking for a flooring that checks all the boxes, check out our latest in innovative LVT. Browse our flooring or contact a local dealer for more information about noise reduction flooring.