T.W. from Palm Beach County, Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I am renovating and understand the need for sound proofing products underneath flooring. However, my board has specified an underlayment brand name vs a product specification. Can the board dictate a brand name?
Mister Condo replies:
T.W., architectural guidelines are the purview of the Board. If they have designated a brand name, then that is the product you should use. However, you might petition the Board to change their guideline and allow other types of product to be used as long as they meet the standards of the brand name they have called for. There are times when certain brands just perform better than others and the Board, in fulfilling their duty to maintain standards, is certainly well within their right to require a certain brand, it may be in the best interest of the unit owners to have a standard that allows them some flexibility. Underlayment is a prime example where a certain brand my provide optimal noise-dampening in the opinion of the Board. Demanding that unit owners use this brand of underlayment gives the Board peace of mind that they have acted in the best interest of the unit owners who will be affected by the product’s use. In this case, they are concerned with the noise-dampening. In my experience, the cost of underlayment is a small part of the flooring project. Unless you are looking for a fight with the Board, I would recommend you use the product they require and enjoy your nice, new, quiet floors. Good luck!