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Sound Control Underlayment, Cork Underlayment, Acoustic Underlay


Rubber Flooring Inc has all of your underlayment needs. We offer a variety of acoustic underlay for hard wood floors, wood flooring, engineered wood floors, laminate flooring, bamboo wood flooring, and even cork flooring.


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Quick Facts

Options with Vapor Barrier Safe with Vinyl Installation Crack Suppression Fun Fact
Rubber Underlayment Rubber Underlayment No No Floated or adhered to subfloor Yes Not for use underneath vinyl
Cork Underlayment Cork Underlayment Yes Yes Adhered to subfloor Yes Favorite in condos
Rubber Cork Underlayment Rubber Cork Underlayment No No Floated or adhered to subfloor Yes Superior crack suppression
Foam Underlayment Foam Underlayment Yes Yes Floated or adhered to subfloor No Most popular low cost underlay

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Available in rubber, cork, rubber cork & foam.       Shop All »

All About Underlay

Hollow Man...Great movie! Hollow floor...Not so great. Underlayments are one of the key pieces to making a great floor great. Many people think a great floor is made from great materials or excellent craftsmanship, but none of that can be appreciated without the proper underlay. Underlayments help to add comfort and warmth under your flooring while reducing the hollow sounds that can come from floating floors. Underlayments are offered in many different materials including Rubber, Cork, Rubber Cork and Foam.

An underlayment’s main job is to insulate against sound. To ensure they can do their job, most underlays undergo a series of tests. We don’t need to go into specifics of these tests, just like we don’t need to know the specifics of the alien tests they do in Area 51. There are two numbers that come from these tests that you will want to pay attention to: the STC and IIC ratings. STC stands for Sound Transmission Class and IIC stands for Impact Insulation Class. STC evaluates the ability for the underlay to reduce room noise. This would be noise from talking, TVs, radios and the like. And who wants to hear their neighbor playing Europe’s “The Final Countdown” on loop? IIC evaluates the ability for an underlay to block impact sound, which would be footsteps, children dropping toys or adults pretending to be the Ultimate Warrior and dropping suplexes all night. So what do these mean to me, you ask? Well what you need to take from these is that the BIGGER the number of either test, the better the underlay is at insulating against sound. Bigger is better in the underlay world.


Why Do I Need Underlayments?

Without and with Underlayment
Underlayment is an amazing invention created by the flooring gods out of necessity. Underlay has an impressive list of benefits, including: adding warmth to your floors so your feet aren’t so cold on new tile flooring, adding comfort and a slight ‘give’ underneath wood or vinyl floors, reduced sound transmission (great for houses with noisy teenagers!), as well as reducing in room step noise. This image is a very simplified example of using underlayment versus not using it, but as you can see the benefits greatly outweigh any reason not to.

IIC / STC Ratings

IIC/STC Ratings
IIC stands for Impact Insulation Class, which refers to impact sounds such as shoes hitting the ground, dropping a cell phone, or other scenarios where something it dropped or impacts the floor. STC stands for Sound Transmission Class, which refers to any audible noise (not an impact) such as music playing aloud, a conversation, or a loud television, for example. With both of these ratings systems, the higher the number rating is for the underlayment, the better it will suppress sound, and the quieter a room will be. You may want to pay close attention to these ratings when shopping for underlayment if sound reduction is important to you.

Types of Underlayments

engineered wood

  • Rubber Underlayment Rubber underlayment is one of the best underlays for most flooring types. This underlay features some of the best sound resistance and one is of the most versatile underlays we offer. This underlay can be installed in areas where water may be an issue and is great over wood and concrete subfloors. When installing rubber underlay, it is recommended that it be loose laid, but you can install it with double sided tape, glue, nails, or staples. Rubber underlay is mold and mildew resistant and helps keep the cold air from down in the subfloor from coming up to your feet.
  • Cork Underlayment Cork underlay is the most popular underlayment used in condos, apartments and other high rise buildings. This is because cork is great at inhibiting sound from floor to floor and it can be installed under any flooring type. Cork underlayment is typically adhered to the subfloor, but can be installed with double sided tape or floated. We do not recommend putting nails or staples through the underlay since that will diminish the cork’s acoustical value. Cork is naturally resistant to mold, mildew, and water. However, on ground floors or in basements, it is recommended that the cork be installed with a vapor barrier underneath. This is due to moisture being able to flow through the cork underlay which can damage your beautiful new flooring. Cork underlay also has great thermal properties, keeping the cold air from coming up from your subfloor.
  • Rubber Cork Underlayment Rubber Cork underlay is composed of cork and rubber. Just like Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, these two materials make great music...I mean, a great underlay...together. Rubber cork underlayment is great for crack suppression. Have you ever installed a tile floor on the first level or in a basement and then, after a year, you start noticing cracks appearing in your floor? This is due to your foundation settling. Homes are meant to move, but this movement can spell trouble for your floor. This is where rubber cork underlay comes to the rescue. It will help to prevent the subfloor cracks from affecting your floor. Rubber cork underlayment can be installed under most flooring types, but it’s great under hardwood and tile floors. These rolls are mold and mildew resistant and feature the same thermal properties that cork has. Rubber Cork rolls are typically installed loose laid, but can be installed with double sided tape or adhesive.
  • Foam Underlayment Foam underlay is the most popular underlayment for flooring. This is due to the fact that foam is the cheapest underlay option, but still provides excellent sound reduction properties. Foam is very easy to install and is popular under carpet and floating floors. Many foam underlays have an attached vapor barrier which helps protect both the floor and underlay. Some foam underlays come with attached adhesive strips which makes installation a breeze, while others have to be glued, nailed, stapled or taped. Foam is mold and mildew resistant and has thermal properties.

Best Underlay For Flooring Type

engineered wood

  • Laminate Flooring - Foam, Cork
  • Vinyl Flooring - Foam, Cork
  • Tile - Rubber Cork
  • Engineered Wood - Foam, Cork
  • Hardwood - Foam, Cork
  • Cork Flooring - Cork
  • Carpet - Foam, Rubber
  • Hard Plastic Tiles - Rubber


Underlayment Delivery

Most underlayment orders are shipped through FedEx Ground. Some extremely heavy orders may ship via freight delivery. For more information on freight delivery, please contact one of our sales representatives to get the low down, as it varies on a case by case basis. Don’t worry though - you will not be asked to take your new underlayment off the truck. We cover the cost of lift-gate and curbside. You are only responsible for getting the underlayment inside and enjoying how quiet your new floor is!



Why use underlayment?
Underlayment is a great product solution that will work to help reduce impact noise like footsteps between floors of a building, as well as adding thermal properties and a little bit of cushion so that your tootsies stay comfortable on your new flooring.
Is noise really an issue?
There are two types of potential acoustical issues that you might face in a home or business: sound transmission between multiple rooms or floors, and room acoustics within a single room interior. Noise is a very important factor in a variety of spaces, such as in hotels, hospitals, multi level apartment complexes, homes with a quietly sleeping newborn, call centers, you get the point.
I don’t want a loud, echoey house. What is the best floor to reduce noise?
Consider how reflective the flooring surface will be. Harder, more rigid products such as tile, stone or hardwood will be more reflective than soft/fibrous floors.
What can I do to make it quieter once my flooring is installed?
If you have a hard surface flooring, to increase the effectiveness of impact sound reduction, you should consider adding an area rug or runners in hallways and spaces that receive a large amount of foot traffic. It really helps to think of sound reduction as a whole ‘system’ rather than simply a ‘one piece’ solution.
What are the ratings and what do they mean?
IIC, or Impact Insulation Class, is a rating of how well a floor-ceiling assembly lessens impact sounds or structure-borne sound transmission (think of noisy footsteps upstairs, or a dropped remote hitting the floor). This number can be significantly affected by the choice in a floor covering and/or an underlayment.
Example: carpet (an absorptive floor option) can help to absorb and lessen impact noises, compared to a tile floor (a reflective floor option) that is very hard and would hit loud and bounce the noise. More rigid materials will be less effective than soft, fibrous materials.
STC, or Sound transmission Class, is a rating of how well a wall or floor lessens airborne sound (think of a cranky teenager blasting their loud, angry music). STC rating numbers are minimally affected by a floor covering and/or an underlayment. (Time to think of building a soundproof room for those music sessions!)
NRC, or Noise Reduction Coefficient, is a measure of how absorptive a finish is, or how much sound is absorbed by a finish when the sound comes in contact with it. Smooth surfaces typically have a lower NRC rating (more ‘bounce’) and are not as absorptive as carpet, acoustic wall treatments, or ceiling panels. Think of the last time you were in the movie theater - it had carpeting and the fancy wall panels to absorb sound. This prevents the audio from bouncing around and becoming echoey.