How you treat the floor assemblies in a multifamily unit has a huge impact on its perceived quality. Floor systems can be particularly effective in solving noise and floor vibration complaints.
In this first of a two-part post, we’ll talk about how to handle noise.
Although building code specifies a measure of sound privacy, the current standard is minimal at best. Furthermore, the standard is does not necessarily have to be enforced as an onsite measurement because onsite validation depends on local code. because of this, compliance can sometimes go no further than an architect’s design. As there are often variances between design and actual construction, it sometimes happens that the resulting building doesn’t even meet the minimum standards.
Measured in decibels, the current standard is 50 STC or Sound Transmission class and 50 IIC or Impact Isolation Class. Onsite measurement, which is always preferable, requires slightly lower sound transmission at 45 STC and ICC.
Improving performance during construction is best
If your aim is to improve the perceived quality of the building, the best way to improve sound performance is to implement during the design/construction phase, as retrofitting is expensive, time consuming and a huge inconvenience to the occupants.
Soundproof sublayment can be applied at the subflooring level. It is important to uniformly glue it to the subfloor. It can be various materials such as polyethylene or polystyrene film, rubber, fiber or even cork. Always fasten the subfloor itself with the proper sized screws and uniformly laid glue. You may even want to consider a double layer of subflooring, depending on your project budget.
A very effective way to dampen sound at the Joist level is by installing batts either made of simple fiberglass insulation or more specialised stone wool insulation. Also, joists with an open design make installation of such material very easy.
Finally, Closing the floor assembly at the bottom with resilient channels and 5/8 gypsum board is sufficient.
In the next installment I’ll talk about how to optimize your floor system by reducing vibration.
If you’re curious, find out more about our floor system’s technical specifications right now!
Continue reading the second part: Customer satisfaction strategies for multifamily floor assemblies, part 2