Do you live in an apartment where sound moves from one unit to the next, hurting your quality of life? Or perhaps you want to limit the amount of sound that travels between rooms in your own house? Then it is about time you soundproof your floors to eliminate these annoyances for good.
Soundproofing your floors is a very effective option in most cases, as long as you pick the correct application based on a proper diagnosis.
In this article, we will walk you through the following:
- Various ways in which you can soundproof your floors
- Tips and precautions to take during the installation of the soundproof materials
- The frequently asked questions by individuals who want to or have already soundproofed their floors.
But first, let us discuss the various noises that are likely to emanate from the floor.
Types of Noises Produced by the Floor
There are two types of noises treated by soundproofing the floor. They include:
This type of noise is produced from the impact of something on the floor. Examples of impact noises include pulling a chair, footsteps, or a book/glass dropping on the floor.
Impact noise mainly affects the person living beneath your floor more than you.
This type of noise is transferred through the air. For example, when a car hoots or a child cries.
Factors to Consider When Soundproofing your Floor
To pull successful and effective soundproofing, you must consider factors such as:
Some soundproofing techniques are expensive, and others are cheap. Therefore, you need to know how much you are comfortable spending to acquire the required materials.
Nature of the Floor
If your floor is naked, then you can effortlessly soundproof it. This is because it is easier to work with bare floors compared to covered floors.
Is the House Temporary or Permanent?
Since soundproofing floors is quite expensive, you must be sure that you will stay in that house permanently.
If you are renting, you would rather find an alternative or bear with the noise. Besides, some landlords do not allow you to carry out modifications or alterations to your space.
How to Soundproof Floors
There are various materials that can help effectively soundproof your floors. They include:
1. Interlocking Mats
One of the easiest methods to soundproof a room is to use interlocking floor mats. First, you have to measure out your floor area to buy enough of your selected design to cover it. The mats are installed over your existing floor.
Interlocking floor mats come in various sizes, designs, and textures, but they are often shaped like cushioned tiles. Their edges are made in a way that allows the pieces fit together or interlock by the sides. You can also buy chopped interlocking mats to fit your room’s corners.
These mats are long-lasting, feature antibacterial properties, and you can easily clean them. They are suitable for use in studios, garages, and gyms.
Even though the interlocking floor mats may not provide complete sound deadening, they achieve a lot.
To achieve optimum performance, use them alongside other soundproofing materials such as a floor underlayment. As a result, you can freely drag your table across the room or drop a book without the fear of being a disruptive neighbor.
2. Carpet Pads
They come in a variety of thicknesses, textures, and sizes. A light carpet padding will be useful in providing comfort for your feet, but it will most likely not retain much noise.
Sound-absorbing carpet pads are usually much thicker and are made of rubber. The wider and thicker a carpet pad is, the better it is. Such pads also tend to serve you longer.
3. Soundproof Floor Underlay
When you have a bare floorboard, this technique is considerably more manageable. This makes it easy to install the current floor with soundproof material.
However, if your floor is already covered with tiles, vinyl, or a carpet, you must remove these coverings before installing the acoustic floor underlayment.
It would be best to use acoustic underlayment with acoustic mats to ensure total absorption of airborne and impact noises.
When mounting the floor underlayment, ensure that your floor is smooth. It shouldn’t have any fractures. If your floor is in a wreck, consider repairing it first before carrying out any installation. Also, ensure that the floor area is spotless.
The floor underlayment material and textures vary depending on how it is manufactured. How it is to be installed is as specified by the manufacturer. However, there is a general, main procedure for its installation.
You will need these materials after you’ve determined that the floor is in great condition;
- Mats and acoustic underlayment
- Scissors or a pocket knife(sharp)
- Tape, dustpan, and broom
Spread the underlayment material out with the adhesive side facing down. You will then need to butt up the sticky edge against the wall, with the other side that’s not sticky facing outward to the room.
The second underlayment should then be placed on the first, where you use the glue to bind the two together.
Finally, it would help to trim surplus underlayment once you have correctly pressed it together and covered the whole room. Install the acoustic mats over the acoustic underlayment before installing the flooring.
You should note that this installation process is primarily for laminated or hard floors. If your floor is carpeted, install the acoustic mat first, followed by the acoustic underlayment. Then finally, place the carpet on the acoustic underlayment.
4. Noise-Isolating Compound
You probably know about the Green Glue Noise-proofing Compound, also known as a sound dampening compound. If you’ve never heard of it, this glue reduces noise from both sides of the floor. It can be used directly on the current floor or as a barrier between two hard surfaces. You can also utilize it between the floorboard and the underlayment.
Green Glue Noise-Proofing Compounds are non-toxic, unscented, and ideally safe for the environment. You will only take a few minutes to apply the glue, after which it is simple to clean and lowers noise by 90%.
Related: Green Glue Alternatives: What’s Your Best Choice?
The glue reaches its maximal sound-dissipating efficacy within 30 days of application.
To ensure you fully utilize this absorbent compound, have a good supply of Green Glue. Before handling the compound, read the documentation thoroughly and take simple measures such as wearing gloves.
Spread the Green Glue all over the floor using a caulk gun, then place the underlayment or hardboard on top of it. An example of a hardboard you can use is a cement board.
Finally, install your carpets or floors as needed. If this process proves difficult, you can hire an expert to assist you.
5. Deck Screws
If you experience squeaky floor noises, the best solution is to install deck screws. For the process, you’ll need tools such as a drill, pencil, a countersink drill bit, and a bit driver.
First, you must remove your existing flooring, which might be either tile, vinyl, or carpet. The purpose of this method is to gain access to the subfloor. You may do this for specific squeaky places, or you can decide to install the deck screws on the entire floor.
If you decide to work on the noisy places, find and mark out those noisy spots. Create pilot holes on each marking with a bit of countersink, ideally the same size as the screws you’re using. The bit should be somewhat less than the screw width.
Insert a floorboard into the previously drilled holes and insert the pointy head of the deck screw. With the bit driver, gradually drive the screw through the board and into the frame, applying pressure as you go.
To fasten all floorboards, repeat this step by inserting screws into all of the previously drilled pilot holes. Drilling the joists is preferred.
6. Make use of Rubber Floor Mats.
A rubber floor mat can quickly fix the problem if the noise is produced by machinery or equipment placed on the floor. Examples of such appliances include speakers, treadmills, washing machines and dishwashers.
These mats are placed beneath the appliances to help absorb vibrations and reduce noise. So, you’ll never have to be too cautious while using your appliances and equipment.
7. Add More Flooring
This should be the last option you resort to as it can be quite costly. However, it is quite effective in noise reduction. You can decide to install hardwood, carpet, tiles, or any of your flooring choices.
Any of the above options will reduce floor noise. For maximum results, use glue to fix your flooring to the underlayment before installing the final flooring. It helps to reduce noise with even the least amount of effort.
If you like, you can also throw in lovely rugs. After all, they are also a good, visually appealing solution to minimize noise.
Significant Tips and Precautions
Before making any alterations to the floor, first, visit the retail store you intend to get the soundproof materials from. If possible, bring along a physical or photographic representation of your floor or sub-floor. This way, the retail store’s staff can assist you in selecting the right products and equipment as well as how you will approach the job.
When working with saws, screws, dampening materials, and hardwood, ensure to protect yourself by wearing safety goggles and gloves.
Try not to alter the floor of a building, especially if it is a rental. Before making any alterations to the floor’s structure, obtain the appropriate authorization from the owner of the building. You will find out that some property owners may permit this kind of work only if experts do it.
Note that, you may take all the necessary steps to soundproof your floor but may not enjoy the peace you so much desire due to noise disturbance from your upstairs or downstairs neighbor. To get the most out of soundproofing your floors, if you can, offer to buy them a soundproofing material. That is, assuming you reach an arrangement with them to install it.
All of the above floor soundproofing alternatives have advantages and disadvantages. However, it would help to prioritize their usefulness in light of your specific flooring structure, accessible space, and the kind and quantity of noise you’re coping with.
It is always good to seek the advice of a qualified soundproofing practitioner. He or she can assess your flooring, its structure, and the appropriate material for the job.
To choose the most exemplary soundproofing approach, you’ll need to know the type and level of noise you’re dealing with. If you follow the instructions in this article, you will enjoy a pleasantly noise-free homestead.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is soundproof underlayment effective?
A soundproofing underlay is an excellent solution to improve the quietness of your house or business place. Not only would it minimize noise, but also preserve your floors.
These items also act as excellent insulators and will aid in retaining heat in your house.
How can a hardwood floor be soundproofed?
By installing hardwood floors with a robust sub-floor and damping compound. The robust underlayment isolates the building elements, and the damping compound aids in the dispersion of sound energy.
What is the difference between soundproofing and sound absorption?
Soundproofing prevents sound from passing from one room to the next, whereas sound absorption is used to improve the existing sound quality of a room by soaking up the echo within the room. Therefore, while sound absorption reduces the level of noise within the area, it does not prevent it from escaping.
What portion of the floor will require soundproofing?
It would be best if you soundproofed the entire floor. If any gaps exist, the sound will find a way to get through. Sound usually finds its way through even the tiniest cracks.
Is it possible for me to soundproof the floor by myself?
Yes. A DIYer can efficiently complete floor soundproofing with the techniques described in this article. Nevertheless, you can hire a professional if you don’t have the confidence to do it yourself.
Will I have to take my floorboards out during the soundproofing process?
The solution would be to install acoustic mineral wool below the wooden joists, which would necessitate the removal of floorboards.
A sealed compartment exists between the ceiling below and the flooring above. Noise will reverberate and magnify if it reaches this region. This is referred to as “The Drum Effect.” Applying acoustic minerals to this cavity absorbs sound and prevents it from rebounding and echoing.
Is it possible to retain my original floorboards after the final finish?
Yes, it is possible to re-use the original floors if necessary. However, you will be significantly increasing the height of your floor.
Is it necessary for me to trim my doors?
If the height of your floor has risen to the point it interferes with your door, you can always trim or replace it.
What about a variation in floor height?
If there is a difference in height between levels after you have finished soundproofing your floors, add a threshold strip to eliminate potential trip hazards.