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The Acoustical Properties of Carpet

The Acoustical Properties of Carpet

Carpet acts as a sound absorber as well as dampening any impact noise in a room, such as that arising from foot traffic, dropped objects, moving furniture and even vacuuming. Any room having wall to wall carpet, which is correctly installed by a professional carpet fitter, is one of the most practical and cost-effective methods of controlling noise in a built environment.

The acoustic properties of carpeting provide benefits that should be taken into consideration when choosing floor coverings. In the home, the noise reducing properties of carpets provide a relaxed atmosphere in a comfortable environment. In the office they increase job satisfaction and performance, while in the school they allow for deeper concentration and ease of studying.

Living in a world of noise

The control and impact of noise has become more important as we live, work and play more closely. Most of us want our homes to be quiet retreats where we can relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of daily commute and the never ending hum of work noise. As individual work space becomes smaller and more people work within that area, our offices too are becoming noisier. Noise can also be a problem for those with impaired hearing as the background noise makes picking out the desired sound more difficult. In restaurants having hard flooring we are very often aware of noise volume due mainly from the large amount of sound generated on and reflected from the hard floor.

The role of carpets

Have you noticed that nearly every car, cinema and passenger aircraft has carpet on the floor and sometimes on the wall as well? The reason is simply because carpeting is one of the most cost-effective and practical methods of reducing noise. Carpet can absorb sound equally as well as some dedicated acoustic materials. The superior acoustic properties of carpet can be further enhanced by the use of a quality underlay. Carpets are one of the few materials that can reduce noise in three ways, achieved by reducing surface noise, airborne sounds and transmission to rooms adjacent and below.

Surface noise control

Surface noise is any sound arising from footsteps, moving furniture, dropping of objects and vacuuming. This is achieved by converting some of the high frequencies of sound into less obvious lower ones. In other words a sharp on a non carpeted floor will be converted as a muffled sound on a carpeted floor, and also the ‘life’ of the noise is only half as long as that generated from a hard floor. A thicker pile along with the pile height and weight will have an increased effect of reducing sound and noise. Good quality underlays can almost double a carpet’s sound absorption performance.

Airborne noise control

Sound is transmitted by the vibration of air molecules. When reflected from a hard surface they can cause a room to echo. The longer the sound bounces around a room the greater the overall sound level. The porosity of carpets means that the sound is absorbed into the pile and underlay rather than bouncing back as it would from a hard surface floor.

Noise transmission control

A survey carried out by the World Health Organisation found that noise from neighbouring flats was the second most reported noise annoyance and cause of sleep disturbance after traffic noise. The reduction in the transmission of noise through a floor below is clearly important for multi-story buildings, flats and apartments. Carpets fitted along with underlay can reduce sound transmission so effectively that there is virtually no competitive flooring alternative.

It is proven that in order to achieve best results from noise control and transmission that a professionally fitted good quality carpet and underlay is a must. Carpet pile, height, density and construction type are all important factors to be taken into account as they have a direct bearing on the acoustical properties of the carpet. A good quality carpet and underlay is a worthwhile investment. And in order to get the best return and protect your investment regular maintenance and yearly cleaning by a professional carpet cleaner is a must.

If you live in the Birmingham, Solihull or surrounding areas and wish to protect your flooring investment with regular cleaning contact Brendan on 0121 472 3349.

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