Multi-unit residential buildings often have very strict sound attenuation requirements for flooring installations to help isolate residents from sounds originating in the apartments of their upstairs neighbors. The requirements may originate from municipal ordinances or directly from the building’s own rules.
Specifying a high quality wood flooring installation under these conditions can be challenging. Since these sound isolation requirements often prohibit direct mechanical fastening of a subfloor to the concrete substrate, it is necessary to develop a totally isolated flooring system. For those seeking a solid plank floor installation, one popular solution is to incorporate a gravity-loaded floor system into the apartment. This type of system is also referred to as a “floating floor”, because it is simply sitting on top of the concrete without any fasteners or adhesive tying it to the larger structure. It is held in place by its weight alone.
Typically this subfloor system consists of a sound isolation mat rolled out over the concrete substrate, upon which two layers of subflooring panels are placed. The panels are typically 3/4” thick plywood sheeting that are glued and mechanically fastened to one another. Unfortunately, plywood sheeting that is not hard fastened to any substrate can start to resemble a potato chip!
Not surprisingly, what in theory was to be a flat subfloor ends up undulating, lifting and bouncing… I’m getting queasy just thinking about it!
Fortunately, there is a domestically manufactured OSB (Oriented Strand Board) subfloor sheeting product called AdvanTech manufactured by Huber Engineered Woods that outperforms plywood and other competitor’s OSB products in testing. AdvanTech has superior bending stiffness, bending strength, resistance to water absorption, and lower water induced edge swell than its competition. All these characteristics allow a gravity-loaded AdvanTech subfloor system to remain incredibly flat while other trades are working in the space, and provide a superior underlayment for a high quality wood floor installation.
For more information on AdvanTech, please contact us at 212-627-1818.