Ceramic tile floors are stylish, durable, and very popular. If you are using one in an upper floor, however, you may be concerned about the noise level in the rooms underneath. Apartment building and office high-rises use soundproof underlayment to cut down on noise, and as a homeowner, you can do the same.
If you are buying a condo, you are probably already concerned about the noises you will hear from neighboring condominiums. With soundproofing material applied under your ceramic tile floors, you will be able to cut down on both noise coming through the air and that coming through the structure of the building.
Underlayment Can be Used on Different Types of Subflooring
Whether your subfloors are concrete or plywood, you can apply soundproof underlayment. You can use them safely on heated floors, although the installation might be a little different. There are different products available for different applications. They have different strengths, as well, so you can choose the durability you will need.
Underlayment, which comes in 4-foot wide rolls, can be applied as either a free-floating product or glued down. It can be used under other types of flooring as well as under ceramic tile. For instance, you can use it under wood floors, carpeting, laminate, or vinyl flooring.
Carpeting usually soaks up some of the extra sound, but hard floors tend to increase the noise level in a home, making soundproofing all the more desirable.
Materials Used in Underlayment Products
Some underlayment products, like Iso-Step and Footfall brand, are made of environmentally responsible rubber. In fact, the rolls are actually made from recycled tires, constituting a wise use of this ever-present pollutant.
Other soundproof underlayment products for ceramic tile floors, such as the Protecto Whisper Mat, are made from self-sticking cross-linked poly-olefin foam.
Pro-Flex is a self-stick product with a durable fabric on the other side and rubber sandwiched in between. Cera-Silence from Impacta is another brand of underlayment specifically designed to reduce sound under ceramic tile flooring. It consists of two layers of board with adhesive between and poly sheeting underneath.
In addition to soundproofing, these underlayments can keep your flooring safe in the event of a crack in the subflooring material, although you should repair any existing cracks before laying it down. You will also find that soundproof underlayment can reduce your heating and cooling costs because it insulates your floors.
Basic Methods of Application
If you are using one of the adhesive roll underlayment products, you will first want to use primer on your subfloor. If the subfloor is concrete, you must make sure it is clean and dry and that it is free of oil, paint, grease, dust, or wax.
Proceed carefully as you remove the backing paper and place the underlayment on the subfloor because it will stick firm and be very difficult to move. When it is down properly, you can apply ceramic tile on it using latex modified thin set.
Using one of the board-style underlayment products will also require having the subfloor clean and free of cracks to start with. Follow the manufacturers directions for laying the poly sheeting and the two layers of boards. Ceramic tile can be applied to the top just as you would with any other suitable subfloor for tile.