Best Underlayment for Condos and Apartments

Best Underlayment for Condos and Apartments

Have you ever lay awake at night because you could hear every little sound from the person on the floor above? This issue is the reason underlayment is a necessity in condos and apartments. When owners or even current residents choose to install new wood floors, standards set forth by their condo/apartment association usually require the use of an underlayment to reduce the noise between rooms. Don’t worry, we’ll cover everything you need to know and more about what underlayments meet the requirements.

What are STC and IIC ratings?

These ratings are much simpler than they might sound. They both are standard sound-class ratings for underlayment. STC (Sound transmission class) is a rating given by the underlayments ability to absorb airborne noise, such as TV, music, and voices. IIC is a rating based of the underlayments ability to reduce sound from physical impacts, such as footsteps, jumping, and dropped objects. For both of these ratings, the higher the number the better. A common baseline set by the International Building Code (IBC) declares that all multi-resident buildings must have a minimum sound transmission rating of  STC 50 and IIC 50. Remember to check with your own apartment/condo association to get the exact numbers just in case.
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Which Underlayment should I buy?

There is more to underlayment than just ratings. Your choice of underlayment should also vary depending on what flooring you will be installing. Some underlayments are better for hardwood, just as some underlayments are better for luxury vinyl. We have made a list of the three best underlayments for each type of flooring based on sound ratings, cushioning, and ease of installation.

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