Putting Acoustics to Work For You

What are we talking about?         

It’s scientific, but it isn’t complicated. Whether it’s moving a chair, speaking loudly or walking across the floor, you create vibrations that become sound waves. When sound waves strike an object, they can either pass through it, be partially absorbed by it or reflect off it. Everything from the ceiling to the furniture to the flooring determines the noise level of a space.

That’s where we come in – the floor. Interface tiles offer significant noise reduction qualities with the flexibility of an integrated modular system. We’ve engineered our LVT to be a compatible in height with our carpet tile backings, so you can seamlessly transition from LVT in public areas to carpet tile in more private spaces where greater noise reduction is required.

How do you know what flooring is best for your space?

Consider the room's purpose, how many people will occupy it, wall and floor structure and the furnishings you're using. A well-trafficked lobby with one or two people working at a reception desk most likely won't require the level of noise abatement that a classroom or workspace will. There are established rating systems that help you compare a product's performance in terms of sound transmission, absorption and reflection.


The Impact Insulation Class (IIC) rating is a measurement of sound transmission from the floor to a room beneath it. The higher the rating, the less sound gets through. But when you compare products, look beyond the number. The subfloor, ceiling assembly and presence of an underlayment during testing impact the rating from one manufacturer to another. Of course, the specifics of your structure also determine performance.


How well flooring absorbs sound also determines acoustic comfort. Soft surface flooring like carpet offers the greatest sound absorption qualities, so for those areas that must be quiet, it’s your best option. Performance from one product to another varies here as well. Face construction, backing type, underlayments—all of these impact a product’s rating so be sure you’re comparing apples to apples when considering carpet tiles for your space.


Impact Sound Improvement tests how well a flooring can mitigate noises like sliding chairs or footsteps within a space. The results indicate how much impact noise is reduced in decibels. It’s important to note that a 10dB difference is a doubling or halving of sound intensity. For example, our LVT with Sound Choice™ backing reduced impact sound by 16dB in laboratory tests compared to a hard surface floor that only offered a reduction of 1-6dB. That 10dB difference means that Interface LVT with Sound Choice reduces impact sound within a room by more than half