Acoustic Underlay 12mm Cork Underlayment – Advantages

Acoustic Underlay 12mm Cork Underlayment – Advantages
Acoustic Superiority

The single greatest advantage to 12mm cork underlayment is the superior acoustic benefits it adds to any situation. 12mm Cork Underlayment has been tested using brand-name 8mm laminate at Riverbank Acoustical Laboratories. The Gold Standard for acoustic ratings, the Delta IIC test, was performed and the 12mm cork + 8mm laminate achieved an astounding result:

acoustic underlay 12mm (1/2”) Cork Underlayment Delta IIC = 22 dB

The laminate is considered, or often ranked, as “zero” decibels. In other words, it is viewed as have no acoustic benefits. The rating is therefore hung on the acoustic underlay 12mm cork underlayment alone. This is an astounding amount of acoustic insulation.

Consider a “good” acoustic floor is rated at Delta IIC = 14 dB. And 6mm cork + 11mm cork floating floor achieves a “very good” Delta IIC of 20.0 dB. The acoustic underlay 12mm cork underlay, alone, achieves 22 dB. Any acoustic floor installed over top (such as 11mm or acoustic underlay 12mm cork flooring) has the potential to achieve 30+ dB. In the acoustic industry, this is a huge advantage.

acoustic underlay 12mm cork underlayment
acoustic underlay 12mm cork underlayment

Condo Boards and Poorly Understood Ratings

Today’s high-rise world involves plenty of red tape for condo owners. The poorly understood, and highly suspicious world of STC/IIC ratings is one of the single largest frustrations a homeowner will come across. The Delta IIC rating system demystifies this system. It is a simple rating that eliminates the “subfloor” numbers (6” concrete slab) which produces “pure” numbers that are matched directly to the underlayment + floor that was tested in the chamber. The simplicity of this system is it can be ADDED to the substrate you already own. This is known as the “floor-ceiling” assembly. Because each building differs, the additive power of the Delta IIC rating takes the guess work out of purchasing flooring and underlay.

For those condo boards who require convincing, the 12mm cork underlayment offers excellent benefits with little down side for the condo board. Strata Councils and condo boards alike are extremely happy to see 12mm cork underlayment as the acoustic underlayment used in their buildings. They know enough to know the 12mm cork offers significant acoustic benefits. They will be impressed by the numbers and thickness. For those boards who are hard to budge, 12mm cork underlayment opens the way for homeowners to achieve a solid floor without argument.

Thermal Insulation

The next known benefit of cork is its thermal insulation. Whether keeping the warm outside or the cold inside; cork achieves thermal insulation rivalled by no other natural building material. Cork ranks as one of the best materials for insulating a home. It has the same R-value as solid Styrofoam insulation. Its ability to reduce heating/cooling costs is legendary. By adding cork underlayment to a home, the efficiency of the heating/cooling system has been known to increase by 30%.

½ Inch Floor Height Raise

Sometimes the only thing that you need to do is get the two floors “even”. It sounds simple enough until you realize the amount of time and money that goes into raising a subfloor by ½” (12mm). Finding ½” plywood or OSB is one thing. Purchasing screws and the correct adhesive is quite another. You will have to get the circular saw or table saw fired up. Then the time and the effort add up (especially if you are paying someone to install it). If you are installing a floating floor system such as laminate, cork, bamboo or engineered hardwood then a fast, simple fix is ½” cork underlay. When installed underneath these floating floors, the only thing that needs to be done is to lay the cork over the wooden subfloor and then lay the floor over top. No glue. No screws. No nails. Just lay it down and go. Contractors will charge the same rate as laying “underlay” or underpadding. You save the amount they would charge to build up the subfloor (can be $1-1.50/sf for labour + material costs = $2.50/sf or more). Most contractors will lay underlay/pad for $0.25/sf. The savings of both time and money can be significant.

Over a concrete subfloor, the same idea applies but the use of a vapour barrier (6mil polyethylene sheeting properly taped at the seams) is still required. Just like always, the vapour barrier goes over the concrete, the cork underlayment goes down over that and then the floating floor is installed over top of the cork.

If you wish to be precise and proper about it, you can take the time to run the “long” edge of the cork in perpendicular to the “long” edge of your floating floor planks. You can also stagger the joints of the cork underlayment (running bond pattern = brick pattern) to offer just a little bit more stability.

Tripple the Benefits with a Single Product

12mm cork underlayment offers three distinct benefits. It’s the building world’s equivalent of a Bo-Go product. A single product purchased and installed with tripple the benefits of other materials. It’s a win-win-win situation for all.