In my previous studio build articles, I shared the soundproofing materials we used for the walls and ceiling constructions. In this article, I explain how we constructed the floor system. We decided early on not to go the "floating floor" route as we would have had to tear up the existing floor structure and replace it with a completely new decoupled (isolated) frame from scratch. Instead, we used the original floor as a starting point with an isolation membrane sandwiched between the original floorboards and final top wood floor. But first, what is a floating floor system and why did decide not build one?
What Is A Studio Floating Floor?
Floating floors are decoupled structures. Floor joists sit on rubber inserts ensuring internal floor bases don't directly touch the structural floor. The rubber helps airborne and impact sound from transmitting from one structure to another, very similar to the Genie Clip system we used in the walls and ceiling.
The garden cabin was built with a level concrete base. We could have used this base as a starting point for a floating floor but we decided not to go that route. If we did build a floating floor we would have used a product called U-Boats by Auralex.
What Are Auralex U-Boat Floor Floaters?
Made of a specially-formulated rubber compound, U-Boat Floor Floaters are our proprietary U-shaped channels used to support framing members and float (isolate and decouple) them from the surrounding structure. With the help of U-Boats, a floated room features greatly improved transmission loss (isolation) and low frequency definition (translated: a tight, floated room will always sound better!).
U-Boats are the industry’s most affordable floating solution and are much easier to use than those exorbitant “pucks” that have been used in the past.
Watch the Auralex construction video to get an idea of how to install the U-Boat system for floating floors.
Why Did We Not Build A Floating Floor
To be brutally honest, we didn't opt to build a floating floor because of cost. My budget was a modest £25,000, a fully floating floor system built from scratch would have been one expense too many. Instead, we chose to take inspiration from the floating floor concept by using a rubber material on top of the original floor with a layer of TECSOUND beneath.
Studio Floating Floor Alternative
Instead of decoupling the internal floor from the structural floor we decided to decouple the final wood floor from the original floorboards using a layer of TECSOUND, followed by a single layer of MuteMat 2.
What Is MuteMat 2?
iKoustic, the company that supplied the materials for my studio describes MuteMat 2 as:
A two-ply, high performing resilient floor mat achieving a superior impact attenuation in both timber and concrete structures, as well as high mass to reduce airborne noise which is suitable for all building types. MuteMat 2 comprises of two materials, a 6mm PE crosslinked foam (closed cell) which is in contact with the surface, and a 7.5kg per m2 Mass Loaded Vinyl.
For reducing impact and airborne noise in both timber and concrete structures, use in our MuteMat 2 System for optimum results
The final wood floor has yet to be installed. The MuteMat 2/TECSOUND layers are slightly springy underfoot but this was to be expected from the blue foam layer. Watch the video to see how to retrofit MuteMat 2.
After the paint has been applied I will be talking next about Acoustic Treatment placement in the next instalment of this studio build series.