Story at a glance:
- What’s under your floor affects sound and the health of people indoors
- OmniChoice Acoustical Underlayment is a patented high-density polyurethane acoustic foam.
- OmniChoice reduces unwanted noise by up to 22 decibels.
Located in the “Carpet Capital of the World,” also known as Dalton, Georgia, Healthier Choice manufactures high-density polyurethane foam for carpet and hard surface flooring applications. Unlike competitors who commonly produce low-density foams from recycled bedding and furniture packed with toxic chemicals, Healthier Choice’s products contain no VOCs or harmful chemicals.
When Carl Poteet was deciding on a name for his flooring underlayment and carpet cushion business and comparing his product to competitors, the decision seemed obvious—he would name it Healthier Choice.
“Carl looked at all those nasty substances, the intense VOCs, and the emissions they off-gas and how very harmful they are, and he wanted to create something different. He wanted a product that was incredibly durable, resilient, and safe. Safe for your home, your business, and your family. He achieved that,” says Andrew Stafford, vice president of marketing and technical services at Healthier Choice.
Poteet had been in the flooring business for a while. He started Custom Coatings, a latex rubber foam carpet-backing business, in the 1970s and later sold it. All the while his interest in chemistry and flooring applications was growing—polyurethane foam, in particular, had caught his attention. In the 1980s he partnered with DOW Chemical to develop a polyurethane foam called DOW Enhancer. That product became the basis for Healthier Choice foam technology.
“The thing that intrigued Carl about polyurethane chemistry was the durability. It is incredibly durable. It has multiple applications, it is used in caster wheels, truck bed coatings, and the exterior of boat hulls,” Stafford says. “When you take that same polyurethane chemistry and apply it to what we do, it creates a very durable and resilient foam.”
What is OmniChoice?
OmniChoice is an acoustical polyurethane foam underlayment designed to reduce sound transfer from space to space. It can be installed beneath almost any floor covering—from hardwood to stone and everything in between.
It works by dampening sound wave vibration as it comes in contact with the tiny cells that make up the foam. “The foam will deaden the vibration and prevent it from going traveling to the next substrate,” Stafford says.
It has a decoupling effect. For example, if you have hardwood placed directly on a concrete subfloor, then you have two substrates the sound will pass through easily. Installing OmniChoice between the substrate and the floor covering will absorb impact and airborne noise, making it more difficult for sound to travel through. It is ideal for multifamily housing, hotels, office complexes, and any indoor environment where there will be people above or below.
Are you concerned about moisture harming your flooring? Healthier Choice offers VaporBloc, a poly-blended plastic film that can be applied to OmniChoice to prevent vapor emission transmission. It is ideal for at or below-grade installations. “Not only does it give you better sound ratings and a slight amount of cushion on the surface floor from the foam, but VaporBloc also prevents the moisture vapor that comes up through the subfloor from damaging your floor,” Stafford says.
OmniChoice can help architects and designers meet desired IIC ratings and building code requirements. It is durable and resilient, designed to last the life of the floor covering and prevent it from failing prematurely.
As the name implies, OmniChoice Universal can be used with most flooring types, including hardwood, engineered hardwood, vinyl planks, carpet tile, ceramic tile, laminate, and stone. “If they need sound reduction underlayment, OmniChoice is a great all-in-one solution for multiple flooring types,” Stafford says.
It’s also easy to install. OmniChoice can be glued, stapled, nailed, or thin-set in place. “Not every underlayment does that. It makes it unique.” It is easy for installers to manage, coming in small rolls.
It is a safe product with no VOCs. The foam contains antimicrobials, preventing mold and mildew growth and making it the ideal choice for asthma and allergy sufferers.
Finally, the product helps meet sustainability goals. It is UL GREENGUARD Gold–certified and 100% recyclable. It contributes to LEED credits for low emissions, acoustical performance, material reuse, and sourcing. A major raw component used in the foam is sourced from a mine in a neighboring Georgia county. “OmniChoice is a problem-solver. It makes the environment more livable and comfortable,” Stafford says. “It cuts down on stress, distractions and health issues.”
Healthier Choice researchers monitor the flooring industry and take note of problems or issues as they arise. Engineers are currently working on a product that will assist in crack suppression. “Our goal is to develop products that solve problems and provide more economical options,” Stafford says.