It is quite painful to hear noise from any source and if talking about your apartment than it could be from any corner and especially annoying if it is coming from the floor, so if you are struggling to find how to soundproof floor?
Then better check the tips and guidelines given below to explain how to soundproof not only the tiles floor but the wooden floor in a house using basic DIY affordable techniques.
I assume you hear the noise generating from the floor due to the footsteps, the impact of a chair or any home accessories to the floor, which in result vibration to another part of the floor architecture and noise getting amplifies.
To overcome this issue and to help soundproof a house, it is quite necessary to fix the noise generating from the floor. So how to soundproof a floor, no matter if it is an existing floor or you are under construction.
We have included every single step needed for soundproofing both wooden floor or tiles floor, but before deep diving on learning the basics of soundproofing a flat or apartment, what do you think does soundproofing floor really works?
Does the Soundproof floor really work?
If you get annoyed with the unnecessary noise around the space you are living, where that noise can come from the outside of the house or maybe inside.
If so then the very best search you will do in search engine is how to soundproof a house and probably comes to the floor of the house, why? It is because of the amplification of the noise done from the floor.
If talking about the large area in the house which causes the reflection of the noise is the wall, ceiling, and floor, where most of the contacts of home accessories are with the floor than a wall and in some cases with the ceiling.
Whenever noise gets generated from any source it got a reflection from the hard surfaces which have less NRC (Noise reflection coefficient) and less STC and cause less absorption of the noise and more reflection.
If you talk about the noise problem generated due to impact noise than another factor comes into the picture that we call Impact insulation class (IIC), will explain all these terms later in this guide to understand better on noise transmission, attenuation and loss phenomena.
You can block the noise coming from the outside, by using the basic soundproofing materials but what if it from the inside of the room, especially floor?
Mainly we all prefer either wooden floor or tiles floor which are easier to maintain and good looking option people opt for finishing their houses but in terms of the noise attenuation or absorption they are worst than whatever you can think of.
If you have the same floor than probably you suffered from a lot many noise issues due to poor insulations or proper dampening implementation to the floor, cause you may get noise from the person living beneath your apartment or maybe the footsteps on your floor.
Sometimes even striking tables, chairs or any accessories to floor can cause more noise which get amplify due to poor soundproofing floor and bit annoying to the listening.
If floor soundproofing is not done correctly can cause the noise vibration generated from the floor to propagate through different adjoining material and pass to the different area of the room.
To avoid all the above possibilities the very best option is to soundproof a floor, where we will focus on dampening the sound vibration generated due to all the above-explained reasons.
We take help from the different underlayment, mat or insulation materials which really absorb the soundwaves or eliminate the direct contact of any material with the tiles or wooden floor.
Soundproofing a floor has two concepts to deal with one is soundproofing or absorbing and the other is sound deadening and that can be achieved from a variety of ways.
That’s why, if you successful enough to implement them as explained below in this guide that means yes soundproof a floor works and you never asks do soundproofing floors work?
Well, you heard a few technical terms while you are going to purchase any soundproofing material, so what are those. let me explain to them which will be helpful while selecting any material.
STC (Sound Transmission Class)
While you going to purchase any product the number you can see on any soundproof material is STC which rate the ability of the material to reduce the sound transmission.
The higher the number more its ability to reduce the transmission and in most the cases it depends on the frequency of the soundwaves, as STC only conveys the ability of sound transmission reduce in the frequency range of 125-4000 Hz.If something lower than that it is hard to identify using STC.
NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient)
In soundproofing, absorption is the key component that determines how much any material is efficient enough to absorb any sound waves and the factors which you need to think of any material absorption capacity is with NRC.
From the name itself, it suggests how effective any material with noise reflection which means the absorption capacity of any material, the material with higher NRC represents the major ability to absorb the noise.
Let’s take an example of a tiles floor or wooden floor that has less NRC as compared to the floor with a mat or carpet as they absorb the noise and do the very less reflection.
Impact Insulation Class (IIC)
When we talk about the impact noise which could be due to footfalls or things dropping on the floor or dragging things on the floor then the factor which measures the ability of any floor in soundproofing is Impact insulation class.
It won’t help you to measure noise-blocking capacity but get you an idea of the effectiveness of any flooring material against the impact noise so higher the IIC rating the better will be the material against impact noise.
Till this point, you got an idea of why we have noise in the house and how floor soundproofing can really help you to overcome those now let focus on how to soundproof different types of floor.
How to SoundProof Floor in Apartment
Well if you are living in an apartment then you’re definitely suffered from almost every reason I have explained earlier where the floor can be a wooden or a tiles floor.
In the case of the concrete floor, they are efficient enough to block the noise of television or conversation but still, the impact noise will go through the floor and disturb another side of the people.
So let go through different ways on how to soundproof a floor in an apartment.
Place Carpet on the floor
The very effective solution to avoid impact noise is to lay carpet on the floor which avoids direct interaction of any hit to the existing floor, probably you have already installed the same.
But the quality of the carpet always matters the denser and thicker the carpet is, more their ability to prevent the impact noise.
Wooden or tiles floor is harder in nature which in result their ability to sound reflection or amplification is higher as compared to others.
By using the carpet over the floor will reduce the direct connection of any impact and soundwaves and as a result the less noise and better soundproofing.
Make sure to choose the most which have harder in quality for less transmission of noise through the carpet, if searching one than better to check on Stinger RoadKill Carpet (Amazon), this will be quite effective.
It is high-density semi closed-cell foam with mass butyl vinyl layer, it has a sheet of covering 12 sqft area and durable in nature at any site locations.
If you are already having a carpet on top of the floor than even you can place this under the existing decorative floor carpet to increase the density.
Acoustic Rubber Mat on the Floor
The rubber mat is denser in nature and has a great ability to dampen the impact sound. If your whole floor is covered with Carpet but still impact noise pass through it than better to look for Rubber mat.
The rubber mat is denser in quality and has a great ability to dampen the sound and that is why you can use this under the carpet to strengthen the area where are more chances of impact noise.
The more density you create on top of the floor the more chances of less pass-through of noise. The very best choice is from the Rubber-Cal Recycled Floor Mat (Amazon).
It has an excellent ability to absorb the shock of running, exercising and walking on the floor which is made of recycled floors for indoor and outdoor use.
It is ideal for both residential and commercial areas where it perfect for impact protection,anti-slip, and shock absorption.
Use of Anti Vibration Mat
If you are in an apartment where you definitely use heavy machines like Washing machines or dryers which cause your whole floor to start vibrating.
To overcome all the above issues you can have a high-quality Anti-vibration Mats by RevTime, this a rubber mat with wider ribs with a non-slip surface and made of 100% synthetic rubber.
It can be used anywhere under the heavy machines which cause much vibration while running, using this will dampen the vibration and prevent the transmission of sound waves through the floor.
It can be used for both indoor or outdoor application and you will be needed most in those cases where if you are living in an apartment and looking to the soundproof floor.
Use of Mass loaded Vinyl (MLV)
Mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is well known for adding an additional mas on the existing flooring surface if you have used carpet than rubber mat means you have already added a lot of mass on the floor.
This almost reduced the impact noise but if still, you are struggling from covering small gaps left at corner or floor then the best effective solution is Mass loaded vinyl (MLV).
Mass loaded vinyl is having an excellent quality of blocking sound waves and one of the best material in dampening the soundwaves.
You can stick this to the very first layer on the floor and it is flexible like sheet cover which you can set yourself on top of the floor, make sure every piece overlap other with at least 1 inch for better results.
MLV will add additional mass to the floor which prevents the passing of soundwaves, to learn on Mass loaded vinyl better to check the Detailed guide on Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV).
Well above 4 ways can really help you to soundproof a house where you are looking for fixing an existing floor no matter it is wooden or tiles floor.
Now let go to the other big solutions where you can think of setting up a new layer under the existing floor.
The very best way to soundproof your floor is to set up underlayment, it is a thin layer material which is sandwiched in between two materials, which are widely used in flooring and ceiling to overcome noise pass through.
If talking about flooring it has three major things to understand before the use of underlayment.
Joist is the foundation of your existing flooring, it is a horizontal structure which is often used in between beams that transfer loads to verticle studs.
While used in floor framing, it provides a strong stiffness to the subfloor where joists can be places doubled or triples in adjacents based on the condition it required.
It is made of wood, engineered wood or steel and in old-style, they were also made of timber framing.
It is mainly set on top of the joist which provides the strong thick flat surface for all other layers on top of that.
Ideally, it is the bottom-most flat layer which is typically made of plywood and its thickness is ranging from 19/32″ to 1 1/8″.
You can consider subfloor as the only hard surface which holds everything in your house including you and your staff.
Underlayment is an additional thin layer that is placed on top of the subfloor when if you are having tiles, carpet or laminated flooring.
It acts as a vapor barrier which helps to save our floor against the moisture if your floor is of solid hardwood or engineered wood than probably you may put underlayment of plywood.
Underlayment helps to block sound transmission, it is made of recycled fibers that absorbs sound and stop traveling to another side of the floor.
It also helps to provide consistent levelness to the existing floor which provides proper finishing.
You can use the underlayment as above the subfloor and on top of that can have a sandwich of plywood using green glue in between them.
If you have laminated flooring then it is recommended to use the underlayment which can absorb noise and vapor both and here is a collection of the 5 best underlayments for the cost-effective noise solution.
It has a superior sound reduction and compression-resistant which is made of dense recycled fiber materials. It also works best over concrete to managing vapor from becoming moisture.
Use of SoundProof Insulation
The way we use insulation in the wall in a similar way we can also use the same insulation to prevent or block the noise from the floor.
Ideally, Underlayment is used on top of the subfloor but the insulation is used under the subfloor which helps to reduce the vibration in the floor structure.
Basically it is perfect for filling the gaps in the floor structure in between the subfloor and joist. This could be of different types such as Batt, Blow in or foam spray insulation.
To learn more on which insulation works better make sure to learn from the detailed guide on types of insulation.
Acoustic Tiles Floor
Well, acoustic tiles alone not that much effective but yes to use them with Mat and underlayment can really improve the ability of soundproofing.
Having acoustic tiles will definitely improve the sound absorption quality of the flooring and also help to reduce the impact noise it is widely used in studios, gyms or weight room or specialty in sports academy to minimize the machinery vibrations and impact of any material with the hard floor.
The very best product you can take from is Blanace foam interlocking tiles by Balaceform which are easy to set up which has exceptional resilience and exceptional moisture resistant.
If I summarize the soundproofing floor than here are things to be done with the existing floor.
- If the floor is of wooden then probably you need joist to create strong basement.
- Make sure you lift the existing floor until you are with the subfloor.
- Set underlayment on top of the subfloor.
- Set a sandwich layer of plywood on top of the underlayment.
- Complete with the final finishing using carpet, mat or any decorative flooring materials.
Conclusion on Soundproof Floor
We have learned a lot many factors on soundproofing any floor and basic need of soundproofing of any floor.
In soundproofing a floor the major thing to care is the impact noise as it cases the vibration into the existing floor and using the mat, carpet or MLV you can overcome that efficiently.
If the installation of them not working effectively than the next best choice is to deal with underlayment which provides a kind of insulation as same we use behind the drywall.
MLV is among the topmost choice these days to dampen the noise and very easy to install on top of the wall or floor or any area which really required great insulation from noise.
If you are planning to raise the existing floor using subfloor than better to make it more smooth as it will be the best part which will give level finishing to the top layer of floor.
Here is the end of the soundproof floor and I hope you got a lot many ideas on which things work better and which not?
If you have done any such implementation earlier better to share with our reader.