tyjy_gw

Quiet Walk? Floor Muffler? Need Help Choosing Underlayment?

tyjy
9 years ago

We are installing a new Mirage Lock engineered floating floor and trying to decide the best underlayment to use. Mirage sells Uni-Mat 3 in 1 membrane but allows comparables for the warranty. I was quoted about $65 per 100 sq ft. roll for Uni-Mat.

We're installing most over a particle board subfloor with a little over (dry) concrete.

Our local flooring store sells Quiet Walk. I've read on this forum people using Floor Muffler. I think the Quiet Walk is more a recycled eco-friendly material where the Floor Muffler is a synthetic...right? (whatever that means) I really, ultimately hope for the quietest, most solid feeling floor I can possibly get.

Thanks for any and all the advice you can offer!

Comments (36)

  • mike_home
    9 years ago

    Are you adding the underlayment because your floor sqeaks? If so have your tried securing the floor to the joists with screws?

    Trying elimiating as much sqeaking as possible before installing the new floor. The underlayment will help muffle sound, but I suspect you will still hear it.

  • tyjy
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    We need underlayment because it's a floating wood floor.

    I'd just really like suggestions about what underlayment/matting will make this feel more solid feeling (vs. "spongy") and not "clicky" sounding. Mirage suggests a "waterproof acoustic membrane".

    In OP I should have called the Mirage underlayment: ULTI-Mat (not Uni-mat). It's 2 mm thick and is made of polyolefin.

    The Floor Muffler is 2 mm thick & made of polyolefin blend foam

    The Quiet Walk is about 3 mm thick & made of recycled synthetic fibers.

    Please, anyone?

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  • tyjy
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Anyone?

    I thought this would be an easy question figuring plenty of folks out there have installed floating floors : /

    Or is it just as flippin' complicated as I'm finding it??
    (If only the different product spec sheets categorized in a consistant way then I'd be able to compare myself, Why is everything so hard and so time consuming, hey?! sheesh!)

    I'm trying to compare: Ulti-Mat, Floor Muffler, Quiet Walk, and Sound Solutions.

  • wi-sailorgirl
    9 years ago

    We'll be installing a floating floor this weekend and were told that the best way to get a "solid" sounding floor was cork underlayment. So we're going with quarter-inch cork.

    I talked the place where I bought the floors at for a recommendation.

  • cgpsp
    9 years ago

    I used quiet walk (bought it Lowe's for a good price) on a recommendation from the installer, and it looks very thick. I thought this would be a good thing. I went with Ikea's $1.29/ft2 laminate, and it was a bad combination. The laminate is rather thin, and with the thick, squishy Quiet Walk, the boards have cupped. It also feels a bit weird to walk on a wood floor and feel the floor underneath sink. I recently talked to the owner of a local flooring company, and they recommended a much thinner more dense underlayment. I think it was floor muffler. He had a piece of each (FM, and something that looked like QW), and put a board on top of each and had me knock on each one to hear the difference. It's a good test, and perhaps you can find a place that can let you do that.

  • tyjy
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    cgpsp: Thank you SO MUCH for taking time to write! I was beginning to lose hope.

    What you say is exACtly what my problem is about. Although we bought a top quality, expensive, engineered wood floor that we'll install "floating", the manufacturer (Mirage) recommends either THEIR matting (Ulti-Mat) or an equivalent, something I've deducted seems more like Floor Muffler than the Quiet Walk. As you say, the Floor Muffler is thinner and like a dense foam, the Quiet Walk is like a fiber and thicker.

    My problem is it seems to defy logic that the thicker wouldn't be a better idea cuz it's, well, thicker. Your experience and explanation helps me alot because I surely don't want a floor that's squishy or even thicker than the flooring itself! I just have to get my brain around a foamlike/denser/flatter membrane (like the Mirage brand or the Floor Muffler) is actually a better option because it's, well, thinner.

    I was considering the Quiet Walk because the local flooring store I deal with stocks it. They don't stock/sell the Mirage flooring though (which is the only thing I wanted due to color choice) so I'm basically worried the owner isn't really experienced with Mirage and the underlayment recommended.

    Thus, my dilemma. I don't want to just buy something that someone stocks, I want to buy something that's going to be the very best application with the results (not clicky sounding or squishy feeling) I so desire.

    Again, thank you VERY MUCH for helping me. I welcome any and all additional advice! Please let me know as we need to order this coming week.

  • mike_home
    9 years ago

    Amazon.com sells underlayment products. You can do some research by reading the reviews of the products. It may give you some additional information to consider.

  • susanlynn2012
    9 years ago

    I used the Floor Muffler Ultra for my BR-111 5" wide floating floors. I almost went with the Mirage Lock since I loved the sturdy finish on top and how it locked without glue and I loved the 4.25" wide boards the best. I chose BR-111 since I had my heart set on Brazilian Cherry Floors for about a year and I thought it looked best with my cherry desk in my home office.

    Everyone that visits me seems to think I have a solid wood floor since the floor muffler makes it feel that way.

    Most likely the Mirage product is very similar to the Floor Muffler and I would go with the product that is more cost effective and easier to buy out of these two underlayments. Just my humble opinion....

  • tyjy
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    lynn, thanks for writing!

    Did you install over a concrete floor or wood subfloor as I am? I'm wondering if there's a difference in opinions when considering the different subfloors? Do you know?

    Right now we're leaning towards the Floor Muffler or Mirage Ulti-Mat, esPECially after reading CGPSP'S experience above!!!!!!!

    My biggest worry is if a thin, denser membrane will cover any imperfections in a particle wood subfloor? I do know that we will try and get it as flat, flat, flat as possible but if we can't entirely will it be noticable?

  • oldhousegal
    9 years ago

    It sounds like you are interested in perhaps an eco-friendly option? I used eco-friendly Whisper Wool underlayment for my Marmoleum click panels. It did make the floor very quiet, although Marmoleum is on a cork base, so I'm sure that is also quiet. But, it warmed the floor considerably- I have a full basement under the kitchen, so it gets really cold, and there is a considerable difference with the whisper wool. It was a more expensive option, but I'm against any 'plastic' building materials in my home. It was super easy to use as well. My old floor does squeak in spots, but this muffles that sound quite a bit.

    Is there any way you could get samples and lay a few planks of your floor on top and just try them out?

  • tyjy
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    oldhousegal: Thanks for the tip. I will check that out. I'm mainly trying to abide by the Mirage flooring warranty issues that requires certain criteria.

    Floor Muffler seems to be getting good reviews. I'm thinking of the kind w/Ultra Seal. Anyone ever order through Shock Flooring.com? The price is considerably less through that online company but I'm wondering if it's the kind of thing like "if it sounds too good to be true...it probably is"!

  • susanlynn2012
    9 years ago

    tyiy, my floor was a concrete floor since my home is on a slab with no basement. Make sure the installer knows what the Ultra Seal is since my first installer wasn't using it and part of the boards were installed improperly. My 2nd installer was great and read instructions. I wish I did the floor myself and just had a friend cut the boards.

  • tyjy
    Original Author
    9 years ago

    Thanks lynn! We're doing the entire job alone so any/all help is appreciated!

    We have stupid particle board subflooring on the area (raised by 2 ft.) we're installing, which will definitely need re-screwing so there's no more squeaking, etc. Some underlayments claim they help with "imperfections" in subfloors soooooo...that's what I'm hoping for. We will try our hardest to address any issues with that dang particle board, but honestly, I believe it will never be perfect...Also why I want to make the right decision on this.

    I'd still welcome input. We're down to Quiet Walk and Floor Muffler w/Ultra Seal. We don't have any lower level so sound that direction is not an issue. I'm MAINLY concerned with clicky sound when stepped on and a solid feel since it won't be nailed down.

    Basically, even though it's "floating" I want it to seem like solid, hard wood flooring. Is that asking too much or is Mirage really the "cadilac" like they claim? (Can you tell my DH chose the floating style, due to the DIY in him?)

    Anybody with advice I'd truly appreciate it. THANKS!

    (Anybody order online from Shock Flooring?)

  • jeanieannt
    8 years ago

    I would like to know what you ended up choosing......I have cement floors and will be installing engineered wood and soon as I pick something out!

  • UniqueWoodFloor
    8 years ago

    We have been having good experience with Floor Muffler w/Ultra Seal in the past years.

  • tyjy
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Hi, glad I ran across this...

    We ended up using Healthier Choice Sound Solution, really because we had a flooring installer friend come over to give us any last minute tips and he said that's what his company uses. We purchased it from Menards for about $44 a 100 sq ft roll. Pretty sure we taped the seams. Flooring has been installed for over a year and all is great!

  • tyjy
    Original Author
    8 years ago

    Just a quick adder here, I'm thinking more about this and the flooring DOES have a louder sound when walked on with hardsoled shoes (vs. a solid wood sound like with an old oak floor from back in the day-my only reference). I forgot this when responding above because I don't usually wear hard soled shoes! MAYbe another person will be able to say if this is normal or a wrong choice! Sorry to recomplicate it

  • Jackson Chou
    last year

    Curious if floor muffler is still the best underlayment after 4 yrs since this thread is older. thanks everyone for their advice

  • Mittens Cat
    last year

    @Jackson Chou, thanks for bringing an old thread back to life just when I needed it. :)

    You would think there would be improved options four years after this thread started but my flooring store just told me they carry Ultra Seal Floor Muffler (or is that Floor Muffler Ultra Seal?). In any case, we have a chemically sensitive family member so I have been set on MP Global's QuietWalk from Green Building Supply due to its eco-friendly characteristics (no biocides and fungicides in the verison Green Building Supply sells). But now I'm seesawing. We are going to float engineered wood flooring on a concrete slab. You?

  • Christopher Dugan
    4 months ago

    We found a PERGO 9 mm thick product that is the perfect color, but we are also concerned about a cheap clicky hollow feel/sound after install. We are installing on a concrete slab. I don't have other concerns other than a quiet floor as much like a nailed/glued down floor as much as possible. I ran into Quiet Walk and Floor Muffler. Floor Muffler has better specs on sound. Is floor muffler the consensus?

  • SJ McCarthy
    4 months ago

    First things first. Which product of the Pergo have you set your heart on? Do you have the name of the line/colour? And does the product have an attached underlayment?


    If you want to get away from a 'bouncy, clicky' laminate, then go with 6mm cork underlay. It adds to the 'solid under foot' situation. I've seen 6mm cork underlay make a $0.79/sf laminate look at feel like a million bucks.


    I've seen the acoustic documents (not just the juicy numbers) for the QuietWalk and the Floor Muffler. I've read the LABORATORY report (the one with RAW numbers) and have concluded - a long time ago - that QuietWalk is the only thing that compared to 6mm cork underlayment.


    As a cork flooring expert, I've drowned myself in acoustic numbers and the Floor Muffler "big, fat, juicy numbers" are as close to a scam as you can get. The amount of product the manufacturer STUFFED INTO the LABORATORY testing room was ENORMOUS (like 1500 lbs of materials) so they could publish the INFLATED numbers for their 100lb product.


    If you can, work with product in this order:

    1. 6mm cork underlayment

    2. QuietWalk

    3. Floor Muffler


    Please tell us a bit more about your Pergo choice...you might have to walk away from underpad depending on your choice.

  • Don Cowman
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Hi, I’m looking to replace my Berber carpet on the 2nd floor and trying to find the best combo for soundproofing to the max. I’m looking at Duralux Vinyl Plank (5mm) which has a sound blocking foam. I think floormuffler underlayment would be the best choice over quietwalk. Any reasons why I can’t do this? Thanks!

  • SJ McCarthy
    4 months ago

    @ Don...the single reason you can't do what you want to do = you are using vinyl. Vinyl does NOT like underpad. The underpads used for laminate floor are a NO-NO for vinyl. Vinyl needs to sit on RIGID. Even 3mm of cork is "out" for 99% of vinyls.


    The OTHER REASON: DuraLux 5mm vinyl already has an integrated foam underpad. Even with laminate you cannot add another underpad if the plank already has one.


    If you want maximum sound proofing, here are your options:

    1. Carpet

    2. 6mm cork with laminate flooring (not vinyl...never vinyl)

    3. 6mm cork with floating engineered hardwood


    And remember: vinyl floors with integrated underlayments can be BOUNCY, CLICKY and SQUEAKY and there is NOTHING you can do to make it better. The issue is with the board which you chose.


    Second take away to remember: carpets hide the WORST subfloors in the world. I kid you not. Be prepared to spend $2-$4/sf on subfloor prep before your flooring professional installs the vinyl. The subfloor prep costs are extra and are not included in the $2.50 - $3.50/sf install price for vinyl.

  • Don Cowman
    4 months ago

    Glad I’m asking since I’ve started to investigate what options I have. My thinking was to have the same material in the bedroom/hallway and you guess it, the Master bathroom. So I started looking at waterproof type of engineered planks. Now I will look at laminated planks and see what I can work with. Thanks again for jumping in and saving me any heartburns. Stay tuned and safe!

  • SJ McCarthy
    4 months ago

    Bathrooms are allowed to have their own design elements. I would look at a stone or tile-look vinyl for the bathroom. And then go with a wood-look laminate throughout the rest of the level.


    There's no need to have 'water proof' in a bedroom. The design world 'pumps' same floor throughout but that EXCLUDES bathrooms. Just a little FYI.

  • Don Cowman
    2 months ago

    Sorry for the late reply. Will do tile in the bathroom. Now we are leaning on the 6mm cork underlayment and top it with 8mm or 10mm laminate from Pergo or Mohawk. I need to measure the height of the entry hallway marble tile and backing. It would be a bonus if I could do the 12mm laminate, but not holding my breath.

  • Brandie May
    2 months ago

    I am so glad I came across this thread. We are currently building and need soundproofing between the main floor and fully finished basement. I remember hearing about cork underlayment almost 20 years ago but I see so many products now that I am researching.

    Main level will have engineered 1/2" x 5.5" tongue and groove Eucalyptus flooring. For this application, would cork be our best option or should we consider Quiet Walk or Floor Muffler? We are using Rockwool insulation between the levels which will also provide some sound deadening.

    Would we use the same if we decide to install carpet in the children's rooms? TIA

  • SJ McCarthy
    2 months ago

    The 1/2" engineered = zero noise reduction. It's like living on plywood. If you are FLOATING the Eucalyptus then you can look at 12mm cork (1/2") to get 22 dB of noise reduction (transfer from upstairs to down stairs and vice verse). You can adhere the cork to the subfloor and then glue the Eucalyptus down to that.


    A single layer of Rockwool = 5 dB worth of noise reduction. All of the plywood + wood = 2-5 dB. If you add that up, you are at 27 dB total. Not the best but better than nothing. A human conversation = 60 dB. You are not even half way there.


    You can REALLY rock the basement by using Acoustic Drywall (5/8" acoustic drywall = 18 dB). Now we are cooking with fire. The acoustic drywall (18 dB) + 1/2 cork (22 dB) = 40 dB all by themselves. If you add in decoupling channels in the basement = another 5- 10 dB worth of noise abatement. Now we are SERIOUS!


    Acoustic 5/8" drywall = $3/sf (that's 3x more than regular drywall = $1/sf). The cork = $1.50 - $2/sf. Acoustic channels add another $1/sf to the basement ceiling.


    Yes those are big numbers but let me tell you the PEACE OF MIND it gives you when you build a basement properly (with acoustics built into the specifications). It is MUCH cheaper to build it this way in the first place then it is to retro fit. A retro fit can cost $10 - $15/sf.

  • Brandie May
    2 months ago

    @SJ McCarthy sounds like I may need to rethink my selection of flooring material. The basement will be set up as an apartment for my grandma and we have two small children that jump and run a day. I want to have it as sound proof as possible.
    Thank you for the information.

  • SJ McCarthy
    2 months ago

    The EASIEST way to get the floor 'quiet' is carpet. It can be replaced when A. kids grow up and (in the sad event) B. Grandma no longer has use of the basement.


    And remember: design it RIGHT from the BEGINNING. It will save you THOUSANDS of dollars in a retro fit. To design it PROPERLY you need an acoustic consultation along with your Architect's designs. Reach out to someone BEFORE they put up the framing. Even after framing is done, somethings might need 'redoing' because they have to make space for double studded/off-set studded walls with acoustic insulation AND acoustic drywall.


    If you think of noise like water, you can image how noise moves. Like the Titanic, if you misunderstand the movement of water in a ship's hold, you will pay the price. If water can run underneath a door frame, then so can noise. If water can run down a floor vent, then so too can noise. If water can run down a pipe, then so too can noise.


    To get a single family home up to par with a condominium living situation, you need to design it that way. You can't just throw some 'Rockwool' behind a regular wall or in a ceiling cavity and expect it to be noise/water tight. It doesn't work that way.


    Close your eyes and imagine a MASSIVE pipe bursting in you UPPER floor. Now imagine, in your mind's eye, where that water runs. It goes DOWN the stairs (stairs LOVE to carry noise and echos). It runs under doorways (same as noise). It fills a room 'wall to wall' and then runs UNDER the drywall and into the walls of the house...just like noise. If you can image water SPLASHING hard against your front windows....you have just imagined how hard noise crashes into a glass surface and BOUNCES back into the room (echo).


    Whew! Sounds fun doesn't it? Acoustics are fascinating AND frustrating at the same time. I suggest you get your Architect to reach out and do an acoustic assessment on your build. Sure it costs a few thousand...but it will be well worth it.

  • gc01480
    last month

    @SJ McCarthy ur truly awesome!! I really need help from someone who understands the mechanics of soundproofing :) we're actually installing laminate flooring and I've been doing tons of research on what material to use. It seems like rubber is the top contender for impact sound reduction but I'm looking at this product that's a foam and cork composite called ecocork and the iic numbers and reviews seem pretty impressive, what's your thought on ecocork vs quietwalk vs rubber?

  • SJ McCarthy
    last month

    Ecocork has a VERY TINY amount of cork in it. So tiny you will see 90%/green foam with roughly 10% gold cork grains. The numbers from the ecocork comes from the 8" concrete slab (this is in the test chamber) and then they paid for isolation channels to be installed on the cement slab (underneath) and then they paid to have 5/8" acoustic drywall to be installed underneath the slab (using the acoustic channels) and then they paid to put down someone else's 3/4" 'floor'. We call this a 12" drop-down acoustic ceiling. The ceiling alone gives 18 dB worth of noise reduction.


    The 8" concrete slab offers 30+ dB worth of noise reduction. Then inside this MASSIVE 23" thick sandwich they makers of Ecocork have thrown in a 3mm (1/8") of green foam and used the test number as if it is all down to the 3mm worth of foam. Which it isn't. The Ecocork is worth (roughly) 6 dB worth of insulation. If you look at 3mm of cork underlay (100% natural material) you get the same numbers.


    Those big fat juicy acoustic numbers are fabricated. They always are. I wouldn't trust those Ecocork numbers any more than I could throw them.


    Quietwalk is a different concept. It uses mixed (recycled) post-manufacturing materials. They 'felt it' together and then acoustic numbers from the Quietwalk (3mm) is roughly the same as 3mm of cork.


    Rubber is a vastly different animal. Rubber is, technically the most efficient acoustic material, better than all of the materials you have looked at. Rubber is so good, it does the same amount of work as cork...but with 67% of the thickness.


    In other words, 6mm cork offers the same numbers as 4mm of rubber. But rubber is almost 3x the price (per mm) as cork. Oh dear. Now that's a bit of a bummer.


    You can purchase 6mm of cork underlay for $0.75/sf (https://www.icorkfloor.com/store/floor-underlayment-cork-6mm/ ) yet you will pay almost $2/sf for 4mm of rubber underlayment.


    And then there is the smell of rubber. Rubber can cause breathing issues with people who suffer from asthma or who are allergic to latex/natural rubber (5-15% of all healthcare workers are either allergic to or will develop an allergy to latex/natural rubber). As soon as rubber heats up (as in a room full of sunlight...or on a hot summer evening) the rubber will emit a strong odour. This will continue for years. The off-gassing of rubber can be for the length of it's use (it only goes away when you rip up the floor and remove the rubber).


    To get away from the horrible smell of rubber (imagine the smell of a 'tire shop' every time you come home from work) you need to spend ++ money. The 4mm rubber underlay just jumped to $3-$4/sf.


    Now compare that to 6mm cork = $0.75/sf.


    If you can only afford 3mm worth of product (that's the thickness of the Quietwalk or the Ecocork) you can look at 3mm cork underlay = $0.39/sf ( https://www.icorkfloor.com/store/3mm-cork-underlayment/ ).


    For me, you don't get into 'ACOUSTIC' numbers until you reach 6mm of cork (or 4mm of rubber or 5mm of Quietwalk). Now you are getting into some SERIOUS costs (other than cork).


    Remember: these 'big' acoustic numbers are gimmicks. Ecocork just about caught you with their gimmick. If you can't work with cork, my preference is the THICKEST Quietwalk you can find (not afford...FIND).

  • Scotty D
    22 days ago

    I’ m trying to reduce the sound from the main level to the basement so I just ordered some rubber, it is 2 mm, I’m putting it under LVP that’s 8 mm or thicker. I paid 43 cents per ft. I did a little research and found a very dense rubber, I’m hoping it works better with my LVP, I don’t want problems being to squishy and damaging my vinyl joints. I’m also putting insulation between my joists and decoupling my floor joists, then I will install two layers of 5/8 drywall on the ceiling below the LVP. This is a test to see if it works, but it’s still costly, I think I’m all in at about $3 a ft just for the sound isolation experiment.

  • SJ McCarthy
    22 days ago

    @ Scotty Do your vinyl planks have an underpad attached to them? Do you know if the rubber underpad is rated for vinyl? Vinyl and rubber react (chemically) to on another. Rubber (like rubber entrance mats) can stain LVP a strong 'nicotine' orange.


    I've also seen rubber react to cork underpad. I've had a customer who wanted more acoustic insulation than what the cork attached backing could give so they went with rubber underlay. Within a few weeks they had a strong chemical odour in their home. No matter how much they aired out their home, the smell remained.


    It turned out to be the rubber chemically reacting to the binders in the cork underpad (on the planks). Once the rubber was removed, the odour went away. They were HORRIBLY upset.


    Please be VERY careful with rubber + vinyl. They are both petroleum based products that have 'active' chemical compounds which can and will react (chemically) to other products.


    It's the same reason why rubber mats are forbidden on vinyl, cork and hardwood.

  • Scotty D
    22 days ago

    Thanks for the info, I think I’m leaning towards the Cortec Grande line of LVP, it has a 3mm cork backing.