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Acoustic regulations: The fight against noise, a national priority

Carpets are the true solution with regard to the acoustic regulations and work against the noise pollution encountered in buildings, which has a negative effect on the well-being of inhabitants.

Reducing the impact of noise

Carpets make it possible to sharply reduce ambient noise: it would be necessary to lay a hard floor surface of 60 cm in thickness, in order to obtain an insulating effect equal to that provided by a carpet. Carpet is the most effective covering for deadening the noise of footsteps and chairs dragged across the floor. It absorbs the sound of voices, conversations and music, and therefore avoids the stress caused by a creaking floors and heels tapping on tiled floors. This is a considerable advantage when one considers that noise is condemned as being the principal nuisance by the majority of French people. It is therefore no accident that carpets are to be found in all places requiring a certain level of acoustic comfort (cinemas, restaurants, offices etc.).

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The index of impact sound insulation: (ΔLw) effectiveness

This index is usually required for soundproofing between rooms situated one above the other (dwellings, hotels) and in certain passageway areas (hotel industry). Impact sound insulation is measured by placing a standardised impact machine on the floor of the premises emitting the sound and then taking sound level meter readings of the noise in the next room and in the room below. The performance of floor coverings is characterised by their ΔLw efficiency index measured in the laboratory and expressed in dB.
It is equal to the difference between the sound level picked up in a room with a bare floor slab of 140 mm of concrete (78 dB) and the level picked up under the same floor slab covered with the product. The regulation specifies a sound reduction threshold of 60 dB, which means that any carpet of greater than 18 dB is suitable (on a concrete floor at 78 dB). All Balsan carpets are in accord with this threshold. In restoration, the rule consists of replacing worn carpets with high-performance coverings whose effectiveness is at least equal to that of the previous covering. Indeed, the courts have ruled that complaints are admissible with regard to noise resulting from the replacement of carpets by parquet flooring in buildings (civil cassation [cassation civique] of 5/1988) : measures are recommended such as the insulation of floors with carpets, in order to reduce the noise of footsteps The greater the ΔLw, the better the impact noise insulation of the floor. Ensure that you do not confuse the ΔL and the ΔLw. The ΔL represents the sound absorption for a given frequency, in general 1000 Hz, while the ΔLw is a value which represents the absorption for all frequencies from 100 Hz to 3150 Hz. The two values are not in any way comparable, and only the ΔLw is the value used in regulations.

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Comparative performances of floor coverings (impact noises on concrete floor)

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Absorption of aerial noise

Apart from the absorption of impact noise, textile floors possess good aerial noise absorption properties. The “lifespan” of sounds, in a room equipped with a carpet, is reduced by half as compared with bare, smoothfloored rooms.

• In order to limit the reverberation of noise in buildings, the French regulations require the use of absorbent materials in certain passageways. This rating is calculated using a chart of the αSabine absorption coefficients in octave bands (measured in the laboratory). The usual required threshold is 0.25 in shared premises and the hotel business. These materials are characterised by their unique αw absorption index, calculated on the basis of the curve of the αSabine absorption coefficients in octave bands (measured in the laboratory).

• Most materials used in interior decoration (ceilings, walls and floors) are able to reduce sound reverberation. The overall acoustic absorption of the item (αw) will depend on their individual performances . Using Balsan carpets and tiles (see table) will considerably increase your acoustic absorption performance. The exceptional sound insulation capacity of carpets is confirmed, in particular, in public spaces, such as open-plan offices, reception halls and libraries. Planning the laying of a carpet at the design stage makes it possible to achieve significant savings in terms of acoustic insulation.

Acoustic insulation

In order to provide solutions for acoustic insulation Balsan is going even further and offering a new tile with an acoustic sublayer containing a majority of recycled material and delivering improved acoustic performance. Balsan also offers this Sonic Confort underlay on special order for the following products: Airbrush, Batik, Boléro, Sérénité dalle, Impression, Infini Design (Dimensions, Kilt, Ombra, Silva, Tweed), Landscape (Canyon, Groove, Rift), Mezzo, Pilote, Eco-Pilote, Shades and Stripes.

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Balsan interactive catalogue

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Balsan manufactures carpets for offices or homes and sells made-to-measure carpets and environmentally sound (HQE) carpets in a wide range of colours. Carpet
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