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Advice on buying Carpet Underlay

Rubber Carpet Underlay

Waffle rubber based as supplied by the majority of retailers. As a general rule of thumb...

There seems to be a never ending amount of carpet underlay available to the general public through various different carpet outlets throughout the UK. But this is not really a true statement.

The main type of underlay supplied by the Nationals is of the waffle rubber type and believe it or not, there are only a handful of suppliers and different types available.

Retailers will supply the same underlay under different names with only slight specification changes to prevent the consumer being able to compare prices at other retailers.

This allows retailers to charge a totally inflated price for the product on offer.

Rubber based waffle type carpet underlay, as supplied by the majority of retailers, comes in various different weights, this is the only main difference and there are only five main different weights available.

The weight of the underlay is related to the "feel underfoot", the heavier the weight, then the softer and thicker it will feel when walking upon it.

So a 65lb weight will not have the luxurious feel of the 130lb weight underlay. The only exception to this, is that the 150lb weight feels harder underfoot than the 130lb. If comfort is required then the 130lb weight has the most luxurious feel.

We have listed the main weights of underlay on offer in the UK market place below.

60lb 58oz/yd2 1965g/m2
80lb 70oz/yd2 2420g/m2
100lb 90oz/yd2 3025g/m2
130lb 115oz/yd2 3930g/m2
150lb 133oz/yd2 4535 g/m2

APT/PU Rebond, Wool, Jute and Crumb Rubber Underlays

These underlays are not measured by weight as the waffle rubber based underlays. They are measured by thickness, usually 7mm, 9mm and 11mm. 11mm being the thickest underlay of any type to be produced.

We hope this has helped you in your decision but we have listed the frequently asked questions about carpet underlay below.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Why are you cheaper than other retailers?
A. We are a national mail order company that only supply underlay direct to the public via mail order. We buy in bulk direct from the manufacturer and pass the savings on to you.

Q. Who do you use for your on-line payments?
A. We take internet payments very seriously and after considering other companies we decided to use the Sagepay who are part of the Royal Bank of Scotland, as it gives you, the customer, the peace of mind that you are in control of the payment and that you are insured by Sagepay at no extra cost with regard to the transaction. It has to be the most secure and well respected way of paying over the internet. You may of course pay by credit or debit card over the phone should you wish to do so.

Q. How do I decide which underlay is best for me?
A. The main deciding factor is feel underfoot, the heavier the weight of rubber waffle types of underlay, the thicker and softer it feels when walking upon it. The only exception to this is that the 150lb weight does not feel as soft as the 130lb weight.

Q. Can I compare underlays from different suppliers by the comfort rating?
A. This is not a hard and fast way of measuring carpet underlays, as suppliers give their own rating to an underlay and there is no standard applied.

Q. How do I work out how much underlay I need?
A. Simply measure your rooms widest and longest point in metres, multiply the two which will then give you the m2. For example a room 3.5m x 4m has a m2 of 14m2.

Q. How do I know how much underlay I need for a hall, stairs and landing?
A. As a very general rule of thumb it is around 80% of the carpet m2, but it is best to have it measured by a carpet fitter or store from where the carpet is to be purchased.

Q. Which is the best underlay for a concrete floor?
A. If you do not have underfloor heating, then a high tog underlay would be best as this will offer good insulation. Try Tredaire Dreamwalk.

Q. I want an underlay that gives excellent noise reduction?
A. The Tredaire Dreamwalk or Cloud 9 Cumulus as these have the best impact noise reduction properties of all the underlays we sell, Dreamwalk and Cumulus have a noise reduction of 46db and 43db. Please note that all acoustic sound insulation figures are based on impact sound and not airborne sound.

Should you require an underlay that has airborne sound reduction properties, then have a look at the Combination underlays and in particular the Acoustic 1 and Kensington Deluxe Combination acoustic underlay.

Q. What have underlays to do with room acoustics?
A. An important function of floor coverings is to improve the acoustic environment. Anyone who has moved into an empty house knows how harsh and noisy the rooms seem before the furnishings, and particularly the carpets, are installed.

Floor coverings are able to achieve the hushed environment, which is both comfortable to live with in practical terms, and also has become associated with luxury and taste. They do this by providing absorption and insulation of airborne noise and by reducing transmission of structure borne impact noise. Interfloor underlays considerably enhance the performance of floor coverings, and their acoustic benefits should not be underestimated.

Q. Well, OK, but what is airborne sound?
A. Sound travels through air as oscillating waves of compression and rarefaction. This is airborne sound. A freely suspended loudspeaker, for example, would achieve 100% airborne sound. However in practice all sound sources will be connected in one way or another, and to a greater or lesser degree, to the walls, floor or ceiling of a room. Sound also travels in these and is referred to as structure borne. Since one form is readily converted to the other, noise will not occur purely as one type.

Q. Is there a difference between sound insulation and sound absorption?
A. Yes. Sound insulation is the ability of material to stop noise created in one room penetrating to another. This is achieved in two ways, only one of which is desirable. Firstly, sound may be reflected back into the room in which it was created: this echo effect is characteristic of hard non-porous surfaces. It leads to a noisy environment in which speech and music are not clear because the listener hears the original sound repeatedly, but separated by time intervals, and at reducing intensities.
Secondly, the sound energy may be converted into another form such as, initially, mechanical movement of the receiving surface, and subsequently to heat, this is sound absorption. Where present to a high degree, a quiet and clear environment in the room is achieved, and penetration into adjacent rooms is low. A good carpet/underlay combination can be very effective in achieving this.

Q. What is impact noise?
A. Impact noise is produced when an object strikes the floor. Some of the impact energy is converted into noise, which is airborne directly back into the room. Whilst this in-room noise is actively being researched at present in conjunction with the producers of hard floors such as laminate etc. Standard methods have not yet been adopted to measure it by the major national and international standard organisations. However, some of the impact energy is also transmitted to the floor structure mechanically, and is then transmitted as sound energy into adjacent rooms, particularly that below.
Since the structure of the floor determines to what degree this effect can interfere with neighbours, the characteristics of the floor constructions in this respect are specified in building regulations. When a floor covering is present, there is cushioning of impact so that the resultant noise transmitted through the floor is reduced. This is neither insulation nor absorption. It is reduction of the energy level at source. Underlays are important in this function, which is why we publish performance specifications for this property.

Q. Do you sell part bags of underlays?
A. Yes, we supply by the square metre of all the underlays we stock.

Q. I have under floor heating, which underlay is best?
A. Please check with your heating installer, but you are limited usually of having a combined tog rating of around 2.5 for the carpet and underlay with this type of heating, this does limit you to the types and styles of underlay.
We would recommend that Duralay Heatflow or Heat King as these underlays have a tog value of 0.75 and 0.79 tog but still have a good feel underfoot. Please under no circumstances use PU underlays as the Tog values are far too high.

Q. What is the difference between blown rubber and crumb rubber?
A. Crumb rubber is made from recycled car tyres that have been crumbed and then bonded together, it is very hard wearing and usually used in commercial applications were comfort is not as critical as wear. Blown rubber is a rubber material that is similar in looks to foam but made from a rubber based type material.

Q. I want a carpet underlay that has excellent thermal properties?
A. The Tredaire Seventh Heaven range and Cloud 9 range has the highest tog rating of all the underlays we sell and are therefore the best at heat insulation.

Q. I would like the thickest and softest underlay available?
A. Tredaire Dreamwalk has the softest feel underfoot. It is 11mm thick and has a
lifetime guarantee. It is a light weight underlay and this system has been voted number 1 in the carpet trade for some years now. Once you have used this product you will never go back to traditional carpet underlays.


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