NRB Collection

Carpet can be a real solution to noise pollution, especially carpet tiles with our innovative Noise Reduction Backing.



In today’s world, a grossly underestimated problem is rearing its head: noise. Noise disturbance has a major negative impact on our quality of life. The NRB (Noise Reduction Backing) Collection is a major step towards enhancing the well-being of everyone in the workplace.

The term “noise” refers to any unpleasant or irritating auditory sensation or any acoustic phenomenon producing this sensation, which must be random in nature and have no clearly defined components. Noise level is measured in decibels, and the lowest level, 0 dB, corresponds to the threshold of human hearing. Sounds become a nuisance once they pass a level of 75 to 80 dB, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers the threshold for dangerous noise levels to be between 85 and 90 dB. Over 110 dB, sounds become intolerable and can very quickly damage hearing.

As a guide…


  • 130 dB: Jet engines on the ground
  • 120 dB: Hammer blows on steel
  • 100 dB: Pneumatic drill
  • 80 dB: Major roads
  • 60 dB: Everyday conversation
  • 40 dB: Peaceful offices
  • 20 dB: Recording studio
  • 0 dB: Hearing threshold

The noise problem

Modern offices are characterised by open spaces, where workers can easily interact, collaborate and communicate.

But studies show us that open plan offices can be noisy and can reduce productivity by up to 66%. Disruptive noise is everywhere in offices – telephones, chatter from colleagues, noise from printers and other office services. Excessive noise affects wellbeing and motivation of individuals and can even cause anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that two of the most vital attributes of a functioning office worker, reading comprehension and memory, are those most sensitive to environmental noise.

Offices with poor acoustics exacerbate noise, rather than mitigating it. Prolonged exposure to high noise levels can trigger stress responses in our bodies. A study published in ‘Noise Health’ showed that individuals exposed to noise as loud as traffic noise experienced a sharp increase in cortisol levels – the stress hormone in our bodies. The introduction and strategic location of sound absorbing surfaces will contribute towards providing an environment that creates maximum comfort for staff and can ensure good productivity. No matter what type of office space you are in; open plan, private office, meeting room or AV/VC suite, the pre-requisites for acoustic comfort, speech intelligibility and speech privacy are the same.

The acoustic benefits of carpet

The “life” of a sound is halved in a carpeted room.

Impact sound is the noise generated by footfalls, or by noise created by impacts. Typically carpet reduces impact sound by between 20dB and 35db, and to obtain the same result with hard flooring it would need to be 60cm thick! In fact compared to concrete floors, carpet will reduce impact sound by up to 40dB.

Airborne noise on the other hand is any sound that spreads through the air, like conversations, music, ringing and traffic noise, it has nothing to do with a building’s structure. Once again carpet provides a great solution due to its natural airborne noise absorption properties.

Our standard bitumen tile backings reduce impact sound by between 20dB (for lower pile weight/density ranges) and 27dB (for high pile weight/density ranges) with airborne noise reduced by αw0.15-αw0.20. Our Tussah Collection ranges featuring our LiftBac system reduces impact sound by 28dB-32dB and airborne noise by αw0.20-αw0.25.

But to really boost your carpet’s acoustic performance, specify one of our NRB-backed tiles, made from a dense polyester felt that incorporates 80% recycled content. Our NRB-backed tiles provide unparalled impact noise reduction of 32dB-36dB and airborne noise reduction of αw0.25-αw0.30.


Fossil NRB - standard colours

Esperance NRB - Standard Colours

Treescape NRB - Standard Colours