by Nathan Sevener


‘Floating floors’ are often recommended by acoustical consultants when there is a need to isolate adjacent spaces within the building from impact generated noise – for example, when a fitness center is located in a mixed-use building – and when noise and vibration generating equipment must be located on an upper floor over noise sensitive spaces.  These floating floors consist of resilient pads laid down in a grid over the structural floor and layers of plywood or other lightweight boards placed on top of these pads.  When the floating floor must support a greater load or provide better airborne sound isolation,

concrete is ‘floated,’ rather than lightweight boards.  When the vibration isolation performance must be improved further, the concrete floor is supported on springs instead of resilient pads.   


Several manufacturers provide the components for these floating floors.  We have often recommended those produced by Kinetics Noise Control and Mason Industries.  A new floating floor product that we have tested and specified for a couple of recent projects is the model Freedom-step Pro from AcoustiGuard.  We have had success with this floor on several fitness center projects where the fitness center was located on the upper floor of a building.  The product is different from some of the other available options in that it arrives at the project site as tongue and groove panels with the pads and sound absorbing insulation already attached, allowing for quick installation.  We have had the system installed both per the manufacturer’s basic recommendations and with modifications to further improve the performance when our analysis showed that an even higher level of sound and vibration isolation was needed.