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? Multi - Unit floor (sound reduction) under layments


Shopped in person and online seeking a moderate to high grade sound "proofing" under layment

for my condo.   Want to reduce noise transmission to my neighbor below within reason.


Been doing online searches, shopped in person at Home Depot, other places some to 

better understand the standards, prices.


Seeking input to verify my perceptions of product prices, industry ratings (I may not understand

fully) and ensure the purchase I may, before I even pick the laminate itself, will be reasonable

for me and my neighbor (STC etc..).  


Have seen prices range from 25 cents or so up to about $1 a Sq Ft for under layments so

want to pick something in between most likely.



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Posted 2012-12-19T16:39:23+0000  by azeg azeg

Hey there Greg,


Thanks for joining the community!~


Since it seems like you've already done lots of homework on the products, I won't belabor the point and reiterate what other people may have told you. However, your biggest concern is to first find out if your condo association has a required IIC or STC requirement. 


IIC (Impact Insulation Class) is a rating that looks at a materials ability to diffuse and block impact sound and is measured by it's resistance to transmission of said impact sounds (such as footsteps, things being dropped on the floor.)


STC (Sound Transmission Class) is an objects ability to reduce airborne sounds, such as music from a stereo or voices from a TV.


An easy way to put it would be that IIC measures transmission of things that are structurebound and STC measures transmission of what is airborne. The higher the number, the better the ability the object has to block those noises.


3-in-1 Padding.png


The Roberts AirGuard Premium 3-in-1 Underlayment is your best choice for the area you're covering. It has an IIC-rating of 68 and an STC-rating of 67, both of which exceed most condo/apartment complex requirements. Another alternative would be to use cork underlayment, which has an IIC of 61 and STC of 60; however you may not be able to use this in your condo as it needs to be glued to the subflooring. Once again, check with your associate first before making your purchase.

Best Answer

Posted 2012-12-20T16:43:06+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI


The Home Depot web site has a number of under layment choices and reviews.


I'll look at the one you mentioned since it does appear to be as good or better than

most I checked earlier.


I may look more carefully at another I saw, more expensive, 4dbxxxx as I recall. Since

I need about 500 Sq Ft total, something mid range may be good without being

the best available.



Posted 2012-12-20T18:41:17+0000  by azeg



I looked into the model that you provided and the closest product I could find was dB-4looring Acoustical Underlayment. Is this the product you were referring to?


I can't say that I have ever worked with this particular product, but I did do a bit of research into it for you and found that your IIC and STC ratings are actually higher with the AirGuard product that I had mentioned earlier. This dB-4looring product came out between 50-55 on average for both rankings from what I found, and bare in mind that a rating of around 50 is about a bare minimum rating for most international building codes.

Posted 2012-12-20T18:58:39+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI


Excellent follow up.


The  dB-4looring Flooring Acoustical Underlayment   seems quite good, but, as you noted, a rating

a bit above 50 with 50 about the lowest acceptable level, means it's average or below average



I did see online another product - Enkasonic™ Floor Underlayment which seems well rated too,

is not it appears available at Home Depot, and is priced per Sq Ft above $1 from what I can tell.


The Roberts AirGuard Premium 3-in-1 Underlayment you first suggested may in fact be one

of the best choices given the multi - dwelling (condo) (noise reduction) situation.





Posted 2012-12-21T21:07:16+0000  by azeg

Glad I could help!~


If you come about any other questions myself or any of my colleagues here can answer, don't hesitate to ask = ) 

Posted 2012-12-21T21:28:12+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI



I still like the underlayment suggestion of Roberts AirGuard Premium 3-in-1 Underlayment for Laminate

and visited the store to see in person.


I also however, in the research mentioned prior to this forum posting,  saw other products with

high ratings


Namely, SILENCER LVT   and  SILENCER SR (   These seem

to stack up to the Roberts product.


Questions then are how these compare to the Roberts product (seem about the same), and

if  these available at Home Depot to order ?   I also don't know the pricing compared to

the Roberts since of course, there are cost limitations and choices are not made solely

on what's sound proofs best, but balances that with the need and costs.


Their STII ratings at about 70 - 73+.


Posted 2012-12-24T17:59:37+0000  by azeg

Hey again Greg, 


Good to hear from you again!~


I looked into the Silencer padding that you linked to and I must say, the 70+ numbers are definitely impressive. In reading through their specs though, those numbers are only indicative of using laminate flooring in a floor to ceiling scenario. Once you change to a hardwood or a vinyl tile (LVT), then your numbers go back down to the 50 range. 


Since I can't truly compare the Silencer products with the Roberts ones that we carry at our stores, I can only give you a rough opinion on my thoughts. To me it looks like the Silencer SR product is most comparable to our Roberts Black Jack Underlayment, in that it's only a sound detonator foam. The Harmony padding is build with crush-resistance in it as well to help keep it from compacting over time. In the Silencer line, the Eco ones would be the closest products I can see to the Harmony padding as they come with what is called "Crushpruf." Again, not having ever seen or worked with the product before, I can't honestly tell you what that is or if it's a superior system to what Roberts offers.


Posted 2012-12-27T17:26:31+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI


Some underlayment choice confusion on my part based on what has

been cited, Home Depot Est., and other info.    Not sure I want the Harmony

estimated in the bid.    I think the Airguard and First Step seem to be about the



Roberts Airguard Premium 3 -in - 1 underlayment (cited posting)


Roberts Harmony 3 - in - 1 underlayment  #269-843  (Home Depot Bid Quote - estimate)


Roberts First Step 3 - in - 1 underlayment #70-102 (other option?)



Posted 2013-01-04T19:15:15+0000  by azeg

The Roberts Harmony and the Airguard are actually one in the same, they have just recently re-named the product to simply be called Airguard, so any mention you may see of Harmony is just not quite updated, but it's the same product.


I haven't had any hands on experience with the First Step product you mentioned, so I reached out to Roberts technical assistance to help me understand the major differences between it and the Airguard product.


The only major discernible difference between the two is that Airguard is protected by Microban anti-microbial technology, which helps inhibit stain and mold growth. The First Step product does have the same air movement technology that the Airguard employs though, which already helps to inhibit mold growth, so the difference is not very large at all. Since we've been talking about sound transmission ratings as well previously, i'll also let you know that they are identical to each other in both STC and IIC as well,  so all three choices given in your last post are identical at this point.


Hope that helps clear things up for you~ = )

Posted 2013-01-04T21:03:53+0000  by Jay_HD_CHI

Thanks. Wanted to be sure.


Will head to the San Jose Hillsdate Store tonight to hopefully finalize the estimate, order, schedule

and ensure the underlayment is as stated (new or old name) and look at possibly upgrading

the base board if really necessary (having not seen the actual suggested item yet).


Thank you again for explaining the sound factors, products, comparisons.  I was very uneasy

about the noise issue with laminate and now know the chosen items will be the best I

could expect reasonably.   I can even fore see doing another project again like this one

pretty much the same now that I know a lot of the specifics and costs.


I am impressed with the measure (person) team and results overall.  Would be nice if the

diagram, or a enhanced diagram had actual measures on graphic (showing wall lengths

for instance since I'm guessing the bid estimate states it but it wasn't overly obvious

to me as a customer - client who does not see these documents everyday.


Maybe there's an App I should seek out which could help  some ...

Posted 2013-01-04T21:18:52+0000  by azeg
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