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Ask the expert - Acoustics

with Forbo Flooring's Garry Bateman, Head of Technical Sales

Posted by Hannah Oakman | March 12, 2016 | Interiors

Q. Can you tell me how my choice of floor coverings can help create a quieter learning environment across my university campus?

A. AUDE’s 2015 report states that on average a university estate is 100,000m² and impact sound is generated every time someone walks on a floor, moves a chair or drops a bag, so it’s easy to see why noise is an issue.

Floor coverings can help in two ways:

●  Impact sound reduction – this is the measurement of the contribution that the floor covering makes to reducing sound transmitted through the floor from one room to the floors below. Reducing impact sound is very useful in multi-storey teaching environments and student accommodation where there is often additional distress caused by noisy neighbours.

Carpet tiles offer high-impact sound reduction, typically 20dB or greater.

In mixed use areas, Flotex flocked floor covering offers impact sound reduction of up to 20dB and the maintenance properties of a resilient floor covering. 

When considering resilient flooring, acoustic sheet vinyl ranges, such as Forbo’s new Sarlon collection, offer 15–19dB impact sound reduction with the more ‘natural’ solution, Marmoleum Decibel, achieving 17dB.

●  In-room impact noise – this is the comparative measurement of the contribution that different floor coverings can make to reducing ambient noise generated in a room or circulation space. High ambient noise levels can have a significant detrimental effect in a learning environment. 

Measurement of the comparative in-room impact noise properties of different floor covering types can be useful in helping to control ambient noise levels.

Four categories define floor covering performance with class A defining the best-performing floor coverings – all Forbo’s acoustic vinyl products achieve class A.

If you would like more guidance on how Forbo’s floor coverings can meet the acoustic needs of your university, then please contact We’d love to help.

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