Soundproofing Smarter: Recycled Rubber vs Foam

Acoustic underlayment is an important component in sound insulation design and the choice of material is crucial for achieving optimal results. Recycled rubber and foam are two of the most popular options for acoustic underlayment. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two materials and demonstrate why recycled rubber is the better choice for sound and impact insulation and how foam underlayment has some drawbacks that limit its effectiveness as a sound and impact insulator.

Firstly, foam underlayment is made from polyethylene or polyurethane which is produced by a reaction between chemicals derived from natural and crude oils and it can be used in a vast number of applications including as an acoustic underlayment to reduce noise transmission through a floor. However foam underlayment is most known for its high air content, which can reach up to 80% of its total volume. This cellular structure provides a lightweight material that is easy to handle and install, but it also reduces its effectiveness as a sound and impact insulator. Over time, foam products are more likely to compress and lose their insulation properties, as seen in the creep plot. On the other hand, higher-density rubber products exhibit increased resistance to creep, maintaining structural stability over time. In comparison, foam products have less durability and resistance to creep, which can lead to a deterioration of insulation properties and a need for frequent replacement.

Foam vs Rubber Creep

Because recycled rubber underlayment is a more heavy-duty and denser material it offers superior sound and impact insulation properties. The rubber is made from scrap tires and other recycled materials, providing a more substantial mass for insulation. As a result, it is more effective in reducing sound and impact noise transmission and has a higher reduction to impact sound pressure level (∆Lw). Get in touch with us to request the third party acoustic data that demonstrates this. 

In addition, recycled rubber underlayment is much more durable than foam, it will not compress over time and can withstand heavy foot traffic and other forms of wear and tear, making it an ideal choice for high-traffic areas or commercial spaces. The density of recycled rubber underlayment means that it provides more resistance to impact noise, resulting in a better impact insulation performance.

While recycled rubber underlayment tends to be more expensive than foam, the long-term benefits and durability of the material make it a cost-effective option in the long run. In conclusion, for projects where sound and impact insulation is a top priority and long-term durability is important, recycled rubber underlayment is the clear choice. It offers superior sound and impact insulation properties and is more durable and cost-effective than foam underlayment in the long run.

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