There are many reasons why you might want to soundproof your floor. Perhaps your little ones are heavy-footed and haven’t quite mastered walking without stomping. Or maybe you have butterfingered neighbours who drop countless items on a daily basis. No matter your reason, there are plenty of benefits to be had by soundproofing your floor. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the key benefits that come with soundproofing and the ways in which you can do it. A peaceful abode is only a few materials and a bit of know-how away.
Key Benefits of Soundproofing Floors
Before we get into the specificities of installation methods and how to soundproof a floor, let’s take a look at why you should install insulation in the first place.
Floor soundproofing, in fact, soundproofing any part of a property, gifts homeowners with a more peaceful lifestyle – meaning you can sleep more soundly, work without distractions and feel generally more rested day-to-day.
Although primed to dampen sound, the majority of sound insulation solutions and soundproofing material also help to reduce heat loss – a welcome benefit amid the current financial climate.
Types of Noise
Sound transmission can come in many forms; be it music, the slow hum of next-door’s TV or the sound of your neighbour snoring – an insult to injury when you yourself are struggling to catch the z’s.
Before you go ahead and source materials for your soundproofing project, you should first identify the source of the noise. Does the noise originate from outside or inside the room? If it is coming from outside, then you need to look at window treatments and door seals. You can also install a door sweep underneath the door. If it is coming from inside, you’ll need to invest in sound-absorbing materials. In this case, we recommend using acoustic insulation slabs from brands like Rockwool and Knauf, or noise-cancelling devices.
The source of the sound will ultimately determine what category of noise it falls under. Let’s explore the two most common types of noise: airborne and impact noise.
Airborne noise is essentially sounds which are transmitted between rooms via flanking elements. To put it simply, airborne noise is noise which travels through the air.
Acoustic underlays mitigate airborne and impact sound when applied to timber or concrete sub-floors. We suggest using an amalgamation of vinyl sheets and soundproofing foams
Impact noise, on the other hand, is noise which is transmitted throughout a property when an object meets another object. A common example is footsteps on a wooden floor. You can easily combat impact sound by installing either a thick carpet or a padding layer throughout your property.
How To Soundproof A Floor
Now that we have established why soundproofing your floors is a smart choice, we can get into the ‘how’ side of things.
Airborne Noise Insulation Solutions
To reduce the transmission of airborne sound through wooden floors, we suggest insulating between floor joists using soundproofing materials.
Here at Materials Market, we stock a host of soundproofing materials to get you kickstarted. Why not browse our comprehensive range of acoustic insulation here?
If you don’t want the hassle of lifting floorboards, another method is to apply a high-density mass-loaded vinyl sheet. These mats don’t require any real expertise to lay and also work to increase airborne floor sound insulation.
Here are just a few methods you can use to reduce impact noise:
- Lay down carpets and paddings
- Lay down underlayments
- Make use of a durable soundproofing compound
- Construct a drop ceiling
Impact Noise Insulation Solutions
When tenants in the property above you apply a certain degree of weight on their floor, it creates impact noise. This can affect not just one room but multiple rooms – even your whole apartment. This type of noise moves through the floor and will slowly lose energy and sound as it travels.
To soundproof floors from unwanted noise, sound and vibration absorption are key to reducing impact noise. You can achieve this by installing a floating floor system or an acoustic ceiling system.
To prevent noise from travelling through timber floors, you will have to invest in either an acoustic mat or a floating floor.
How To Soundproof Concrete Floors
Wooden floors are a lot easier to soundproof than concrete as you’ll have a few more tools available to you. With concrete floors, you can’t really lift or modify them once they are laid (without great hassle, at least). To soundproof concrete floors, you will need to apply materials on top of them. This can be done by laying a thick carpet and/or utilising soundproof mats as a way of preventing impact noise.
Another method is to employ a medley of types and thicknesses of high-impact absorption foam. A durable layer will need to be applied over the concrete and below the final floor finish.
Cheapest Soundproofing Materials – How To Soundproof a Floor on a Budget
If the area which you’re soundproofing is only small (such as a child’s playroom or a small box office) interlocking floor mats will do just the trick. Not only are they highly convenient in their design but they are also one of the cheapest options available on the market.
This low-cost does come (ironically) at a higher cost; they aren’t all that effective in the way of completely deadening sound. To achieve this, you will want to use interlocking floor mats in conjunction with other floor soundproofing solutions such as floor underlayment and the laying of carpet.
What Are The Best Soundproofing Materials Available On The Market?
Now you know how to soundproof a floor, you’re probably wondering what the best materials for the job are. There are many products available on the market that are reputed for their soundproofing credentials (particularly rubber mats or underlay solutions), however, as is always the case with any type of insulation, there are always solutions that triumph over others.
But which is best? This, of course, is entirely dependent on your application and the type of noise you are dealing with. In these cases, there is no one-size-fits-all material or method, each property is different and needs to be treated as such.
Whichever method and material you end up adopting, all work will have to comply with building regulations in order to be deemed safe – if you’re unsure, we advise that you seek professional advice. Improper installation should never be risked, especially in applications as fundamental as flooring.
However, to give an answer to ‘what are the best soundproofing materials’ we recommend using the following materials:
- Thick carpet
- Cork flooring
- Wood plastic composite (WPC) flooring
- Rubber flooring
- Vinyl tile