Introduction to Floating Floors
Floating floors systems are used for many purposes, predominantly to prevent noise passing through the floor but also to isolate against vibration and impact.
Acoustic floating floors are used to control the transmission of noise or vibration between noisy and quiet environments. Typically, acoustically isolated walls and ceilings are built on the floating floor to create a ‘box-in-box’ construction. This solution greatly reduces the noise levels or energy transmitted to the quieter area.
Acoustic Floating Floors
There are several acoustic flooring systems available and the nature of the noise/vibration will dictate the best solution. Broadly speaking there are two main categories, concrete and lightweight.
- Concrete floating floors comprise of a reinforced concrete layer, supported by isolators, either LDS rubber or spring. These floors typically use a jack-up system to raise the concrete floor as this offers a number of construction and acoustic benefits. Concrete floating floors are stable and, due to high mass, offer the best possible isolation performance.
- Lightweight floor systems can be quick to build, do not impose a high mass on the existing structure and can be cost effective for small areas. Floor typically comprise of a number of board layers supported on either on LDS rubber floor isolators or low profile springs when impact is a concern. Care should be taken to ensure that the floor has adequate stiffness and mass to perform correctly but these floors can offer very good levels of isolation
Box in Box details
Well-designed rooms incorporate the full ‘box in box’ system. This comprises of the floating floor, isolated walls and suspended ceiling. All elements are supported or suspended using isolators to ensure no solid connection between the existing structure and the space interior. We can help with any aspect of the specification or design of these elements.
What is a floating floor?
A floating floor is a purpose-built floor system where in the floor is constructed on resilient mounts designed to prevent transmission of noise and vibration (specific types for each application). The floor has no solid/rigid contact points, and this is why the term “floating” is used. The fewer contact points between the floor and the structure, the higher the performance of the floating floor.
How does a floating floor work?
A floating floor functions by removing any rigid connections between the floor and the structural floor, through which vibration could be transmitted. The resilient elements which support the floor deflect under load to absorb noise and vibration. The level of deflection directly effects the performance of the floor, often noted as system natural frequency (Hz), isolation efficiency (%) or transmission loss (dB).
What types of floating floors are there?
There are multiple floating floor types which have a variety of performance characteristics and are applied to different applications. Essentially, the floating floor types can be characterised as follows:
- Reinforced Concrete Jack Up Floating Floors: Poured in situ, these systems are constructed on the slab and raised (jacked up) to the desired height once cured. They incorporate either rubber or spring resilient elements for different application. Please see here for more information.
- Lightweight (Formwork) Floating Floors: Typically, a “dry” construction, incorporating multiple layers of board, supported on low profile rubber or spring elements. These can be simpler and more cost effective to construct than concrete floating floors. However, they have limitations to the achievable system performance. Please see here for more information.
Do I need a floating floor?
Floating floors are recommended where there is a need to reduce transmission of noise, vibration or impact. This can be for example a gym near residential flats, adjacent cinema screens, recording studios near a tube line and many more scenarios.
If you would like to order or learn more about these products, please contact Mason UK’s acoustic engineers.