Materials & Technology

Sound attenuation and the Warmboard radiant heating system

Wed, 02/15/2012 - 10:22

Sound attenuation - the limiting of the intensity of sound propagating in a medium - for floor/ceiling assemblies is often required to attain code ratings or desired by a client or homeowner in order to mitigate the transfer of noise.

The assembly is usually evaluated by one of several testing methods, including field testing, lab testing and software modeling and estimating. Usually these services are peformed by an "Acoustical Consultant" to provide STC and IIC ratings, as the higher the number, the quieter floor/ceiling assembly.

Sound Transmission Class (STC) is a rating of how well a building floor/ceiling assembly attenuates airborne sounds, and Impact Insulation Class (IIC) is a rating of how well it attenuates structure-borne sound.

The housing industry is currently flooded with thousands of building products that promote a quieter living space, but it is important for consumers to evaluate the entire space and not just the product by itself.

Certain radiant heating systems work well in this regard, while others limit the type of products that can be used. Warmboard systems allow a homeowner to choose from a variety of relatively affordable technologies, and several are recommended by the company.

Warmboard suggests rubber sound mats, as they interface easily with the radiant heating system, and are easily installed on top of the panels and under the finish floor.

The company also recommends using carpet, tile and floated engineered hardwood, as these are easy to install, especially in conjunction with a Warmboard system. Other recommendations include the Sound Shark, the QTSCU and the Privacy Ultimate Underlayment.

These products work especially well with a Warmboard system, which is much thinner than other radiant systems, helping the homeowner have a larger range of choices.