13 Ear to the Ground: Laying Flooring and Heating
Updated: Apr 14
With the internal walls in place, I could turn my attention towards the floor. As with most studio designs, carpet is a no-no, absorbing too much high-frequency energy can make the room sound dull and lifeless, especially if used for recording. A reflective surface is preferred, with the option of using a light rug to stop any nasty reflections. I opted for 14mm thick engineered wood instead of laminate or vinyl, as these cheaper alternatives tend to ping back too much of that high-frequency content, so is a nice balance between too much or too little reflection, it's Goldilocks all over again!
To begin with, I needed to make sure the concrete base was completely clean of any dirt and dust, and smooth as possible. Back in the structural stage, the floor was leveled, which is crucial for laying down solid flooring.
Again, as we're in the basement, the floor is butting up against the earth, so care needs to be taken in ensuring moisture doesn't seep through. A layer of Celotex was laid down, making sure any gaps were sealed with moisture barrier tape.
The next step was the underlay; whilst providing cushioning for the floorboards, it would also act as a sound dampener for impact noises such as footsteps. Additionally, I needed this to act as insulation as I would be laying underfloor heating on top of the underlay and wanted to minimise heat-loss through the floor. I found the best solution for all of the above to be cork, which as you can see was rolled out on top of the Celotex.
As mentioned, electric underfloor heating was to be installed. This would sit just below the engineered wood and cover most of the floor space, avoiding where bulky furniture may sit. So, the rollin' began again...
Finally, I could begin laying the floorboards. This took a lot of trips between the basement and the garden, measuring the angles, running outside, cutting the boards to length, run back down, hammer in... repeat. But, after not too long, it all started to come together (literally) and look like a proper floor.
And here's the finished floor, with the white foam L-shaped strip around the edge to decouple the floor from the walls.
Next time, we turn our eyes to the skies and look at ceiling solutions...
Frank Leonard Walker
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