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Understanding Acoustical Flooring Standards for Canadian Builders and Developers. November 08, 2023


In the dynamic world of commercial construction and design, acoustical performance has become a pivotal factor, particularly in multi-unit residential, healthcare, and educational buildings. As an expert with over four decades of experience in commercial flooring, I've witnessed the evolution of industry standards and the increasing importance of sound control. This article delves into the critical aspects of Canadian acoustical flooring standards, focusing on the role of flooring in sound mitigation and how BMD Materials is leading the way in Winnipeg.

1. The Significance of Sound Control in Commercial Buildings

Sound control is essential in creating comfortable, functional, and productive environments. Inadequate sound insulation can lead to noise disturbances, which can affect concentration, communication, and even health. For instance, in educational settings, excessive noise can impact students' learning abilities, with studies showing that a 10-decibel increase in background noise can reduce children's learning by up to eight months.


2. In-Depth Analysis of IIC and STC Standards

In Canada, acoustical performance in buildings is governed by rigorous standards, primarily the Impact Insulation Class (IIC) and the Sound Transmission Class (STC).

  • IIC Standard: This standard is pivotal in multi-story buildings where footfall can be a significant disturbance. The IIC rating measures how well a floor-ceiling assembly reduces impact sounds. A basic requirement in the National Building Code of Canada (NBCC) is an IIC of 50. However, for enhanced living comfort, many modern buildings aim for ratings between 60 to 65. It's crucial to note that an increase of 10 points in IIC is subjectively perceived as approximately halving the impact noise level.

  • STC Standard: STC assesses how well a partition attenuates airborne sound, such as voices or music. The NBCC requires a minimum STC rating of 50 for walls and floors in multi-family dwellings. However, for environments like hospitals and schools, where quiet is essential, standards often recommend an STC rating of 60 or higher.

Both IIC and STC ratings are dependent on the entire floor/ceiling assembly, including the floor covering, subfloor, ceiling, and any insulation. For example, a concrete slab floor might have an STC rating of 52 and an IIC rating of 50, but when combined with certain flooring materials and underlayments, these ratings can significantly improve.

3. The Critical Role of Flooring in Acoustical Performance

Flooring choices are vital in achieving desired acoustical outcomes. Different materials offer varying degrees of sound insulation:

  • Carpet and Underlay: A carpet with a quality underlay can dramatically enhance both IIC and STC ratings. Research indicates that carpet with a 7mm rubber underlay can improve an IIC rating by 25 points or more compared to hard flooring.

  • Engineered Wood and Laminates: With a proper acoustic underlay, these can achieve IIC ratings in the range of 55 to 60, making them suitable for many multi-family and commercial applications.

  • Vinyl and Linoleum: These materials, particularly when backed with a dense acoustic layer, can offer IIC improvements of 15 to 20 points over bare substrates.

  • Tile and Stone: These hard surfaces generally have lower base IIC ratings but can be combined with specialized acoustic underlays to achieve IIC ratings of over 50, meeting the minimum NBCC requirements.


4. Innovations in Acoustic Flooring Solutions

At BMD Materials, we're at the forefront of innovative flooring solutions. We offer a range of products, from high-density rubber underlays for hard surfaces to specialized acoustic carpet tiles, each designed to meet and exceed the current IIC and STC standards.

5. BMD Materials: Your Trusted Partner in Winnipeg

Located at 780 Bradford Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, BMD Materials is your go-to source for cutting-edge commercial flooring solutions. Our team of experts, led by seasoned professionals like myself, is dedicated to providing top-notch materials and installation services.

Why Choose BMD Materials?

  • Expertise: With over 40 years of experience, we understand the intricacies of acoustical flooring and are equipped to offer tailored solutions.
  • Innovative Products: We stay ahead of industry trends, offering the latest products that meet and exceed acoustical standards.
  • Strong Local Presence: Our deep roots in Winnipeg ensure that we understand the local building codes and environmental factors.
  • Collaborative Approach: We believe in working closely with developers, architects, and designers to achieve the best outcomes.


Sound control is not just a luxury but a necessity in modern construction. With the right flooring solutions, achieving optimal acoustical performance is within reach. BMD Materials is your trusted partner in this journey, offering unparalleled expertise and innovative products right here in Winnipeg. For builders, developers, designers, and architects looking to make informed choices in commercial flooring, BMD Materials is your definitive solution.

For more information and to explore our range of acoustical flooring solutions, visit us at or drop by our office at 780 Bradford Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba.