Need to soundproof a floor? I got you!
Imagine you have a home office downstairs, and your children have their room upstairs. Obviously, children must play every now and then inside their room.
As children play upstairs, the noise they make keeps finding its way downstairs through the floor to your home office, distracting you.
Now, this happens more often until you’re on the verge of losing it.
Instead, you can soundproof the floor separating your home office downstairs from your children’s room upstairs. Soundproofing a floor blocks noise from going through.
In this guide, you’ll learn the best ways on how to soundproof a floor and protect against unwanted noise.
Before we get to the different ways of soundproofing a floor, let’s first explore the types of noises transmitted through floors.
Types of Noises Transmitted Through Floors
There are two major types of noises transmitted through floors, namely;
- Impact Noise
- Airborne Noise
Impact noise is also known as footfall noise.
As the name suggests, Impact noise is the sound produced when an object falls on the floor. However, it doesn’t have to be an object falling on the floor. It can also be a result of force applied on the floor.
The vibrations produced by impact noise travel through the floor and air cavity of the ceiling below, eventually emanating through the floor joints of the room below. Impact noise affects people in the room below more than those producing the noise.
Examples of impact noise include footfall, footsteps, or moving furniture and chairs.
This type of sound is hard to control due to the high energy in which it enters the floor assembly.
Unlike impact noise, airborne noise goes through the air and spreads through the atmosphere.
So, it can affect people downstairs or upstairs. Air picks up airborne noise waves and carries them to the direction it’s going. These waves crash when the air hits something solid like a wall.
If the waves are strong enough, the collision sends a vibration through the wall. However, if they’re weak, the collision scatters the waves to the surrounding space.
Common examples of airborne noise you can relate to include people talking, television sounds, radio, and flushing toilets.
Main Principles on How To Soundproof A Floor
There are five main principles of floor soundproofing. They include;
- Mechanical Decoupling
Mass is the first principle of floor soundproofing. It’s a measure of a material’s matter that determines its weight. It’s a principle of sound isolation capable of impeding sound transmission.
Objects with a great mass are more rigid for sound to pass through. So, the more mass a material has, the higher its capacity to prevent sound transfer through it.
2. Mechanical Decoupling
Decoupling is a floor soundproofing mechanism that’s not very common.
It involves the separation of two sides of a floor. The intention is to have a layer of air cavity at the center. As a result, the sound won’t pass through easily since it has to go through the air cavity in the middle.
This method is frequency-dependent. That means it’s not effective at all frequencies. You’ll need to combine this method with other principles for efficient floor soundproofing.
Absorption is a sound isolation principle that eliminates noise.
It takes part in floor soundproofing when insulating material is installed beneath a floor. To make absorption more effective in floor soundproofing, you’ll have to combine it with mechanical decoupling.
At low frequencies, this method isn’t effective.
Resonance functions using sound damping compounds for floor soundproofing. It eliminates vibrations to dampen noise.
You have to apply the compound between two rigid floor panels, a process known as subflooring. The compound then traps noise vibrations preventing them from going through.
An example of a dampening compound you can use to dampen the resonance of walls is Green Glue Compound.
Conduction is a treatment that helps prevent wood stud floors from high-level performance. It flanks noise traveling through the floor using a path different from the direct path.
This principle involves damping a structure to dissipate sound energy traveling through it.
Now that you’re aware of the types of noises transmitted through floors and principles of soundproofing let’s explore the ways of soundproofing floors.
10 Ways on How to Soundproof a Floor
These ways include;
- Use of Interlocking Floor Mats
- Add Soundproof Floor Underlayment
- Apply A Noise Proofing Compound
- Use Carpet Padding
- Insert Deck Screws
- Install Additional Flooring
- Use Rubber Floor Mats
- Use Cork Tiles
- Install MLV Underneath the Floorboards
- Use Floor Joist Isolators
Below is a detailed explanation of each;
1. Use Interlocking Floor Mats For Floor Soundproofing
It’s one of the easiest ways to soundproof a floor.
Interlocking floor mats interlock to create an additional floating floor. Most of them have designs that interlock without the use of glue.
These mats have different textures, designs, and sizes. Their edges interlock to create an additional floor layer active in soundproofing.
So, all you need to do is purchase enough interlocking mats that fit the floor size you intend to cover.
If used alone, interlocking floor mats aren’t as effective in soundproofing. Therefore, you need to apply them alongside other floor soundproofing materials such as carpets.
Foam Mat Floor Tiles are an example of interlocking floor mats that work well in floor soundproofing.
2. Adding Soundproof Floor Underlayment to Soundproof A Floor
Soundproof Floor Underlayment is the addition of a layer between the subfloor and floor covering.
The material composition makes floor underlayment achieve the objective of floor soundproofing. It has a high mass and absorption capacity that reduces the effect of both impact and airborne noise on the floor underneath.
Moreover, floor underlayment is easier to install if you have a naked floor. During installation, ensure the floor is free from any protrusions and cracks. You should also clean any dirt on the floor.
When you’re doing the installation, ensure the adhesive side faces down. Only cut the excess edges after covering the entire floor. Place acoustic mats above the acoustic underlayment.
Then you can finally have the carpet on top of the acoustic mat. That way, you have your soundproof floor underlayment deaden the noise from going through the floor underneath.
FloorMuffler Ultra Seal Underlayment is an example of soundproof floor underlayment I can recommend.
This video shows how to add a soundproof floor underlayment successfully.
3. Apply A Noise Proofing Compound To Soundproof A Floor
Noise-proofing compounds dampen noise by eliminating the energy stored in sound.
These compounds reduce sound vibrations known as resonance. Besides, they dissipate the energy traveling through a floor structure.
Apply the compound between the floorboard and the underlayment if your floor has a floorboard.
To apply a noise-proofing compound, first purchase enough of the compound and use a caulk gun to distribute it evenly. Ensure the compound covers the entire subfloor and place your underlayment on top.
One compound I can recommend for you is Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant. Before you begin applying it, first read the user guide. Also, have your gloves on before handling the compound.
Green Glue is easy to apply; thus, you can do it independently. Besides, it reduces noise by up to 90%. After you apply it, it takes a minimum of 30 days to reach its peak performance.
You can also seek the assistance of a professional to apply your noise-proofing compound of choice.
4. Using Carpet Padding
Carpet pads are products of various elements, including foam, nylon, or fiber. You place it under the carpet as an underlayment.
Carpet padding helps in-floor soundproofing since it dampens sound. More dense carpet pads are more effective in resisting the force of sound. In addition, carpet pads also absorb sound.
Carpet pads are available in different sizes and textures. Some are very light, while others are thick. If you’re looking for one that solves your floor soundproofing problems, then choose a thick one.
Moreover, the type of carpet suitable for noise control also depends on the room’s traffic you intend to soundproof. If the room has high traffic, go for rubber carpet pads.
Gorilla Grip Original Extra Strong Rug Pad is suitable for high-traffic rooms.
They’re placed under the carpet so you can easily determine the size to purchase. Carpet pads are easy to install. As such, you can do the installation by yourself instead of hiring a professional.
5. Insert Deck Screws To Soundproof A Floor
Deck screws soundproof floors by strengthening areas with squeaky noises. Deck screws hold the deck to prevent the emerging noises due to squeaking.
This method applies when the squeaky sounds from floorboards become a bother. It strengthens the deck, thus making the floor soundproof.
To carry out this soundproofing project, you require materials such as deck screws, drill, pencil, bit driver, and a drill bit with a countersink.
Begin by determining whether you’ll work on the areas with squeaky sounds or the entire floor. Then you remove the carpet or hardwood flooring so that you can access the subfloor. With access to the subfloor, it’s easy to locate the squeaky areas.
The next step is to drill pilot holes where you want your deck screws to go in. The holes should be slightly smaller than the width of the screws. Now place the floorboard in position as you insert the sharp deck tip into the pilot holes you drilled earlier. Use the bit driver to dive in the screws.
This video shows how to insert deck screws perfectly.
Ensure all pilot holes have screws in them and tighten each.
6. Install Additional Flooring
Flooring plays a crucial role in floor soundproofing. It involves the addition of an extra layer on top of the subfloor. This layer can be tiles, laminate wood, or hardwood.
I can recommend SFJC Interlocking Flooring Tiles.
The extra floor layer blocks noise from reaching the subfloor.
When adding the additional flooring, use an adhesive to attach the layer of your choice. The adhesive helps to boost floor soundproofing.
Experts recommend that you first rip off the old flooring layer before applying the tiles or laminate. Inspect the subfloor and address any potential squeaks before adding the additional flooring.
7. Use Rubber Floor Mats
Rubber floor mats are products of recycled or natural rubber. They are good for floor soundproofing due to their strength in that they’re tough and durable.
The floor mats make floors soundproof by absorbing sound, shock, or strong impacts on the floor. Therefore, applying rubber floor mats under appliances such as dishwashers and TVs muffles the sound, reducing the noise that reaches the subfloor.
When installing rubber floor mats, wear gloves to protect your hands against the dampening compounds you use. They have to come before the carpet. Also, if you have a memory foam underlay, ensure the rubber floor mat is beneath the underlay.
Check out Siless Liner, which is an example of rubber floor mats.
The mats are good for floor soundproofing and don’t require a professional installation. That means you can do the installation by yourself.
8. Use Cork Tiles
Cork Tiles have a cellular cork composition, giving them a powerful property to reduce the noise traveling through floors.
These tiles reduce noise by tempering with vibrations to deaden noise and sound transfer. Cork is a cellular material meaning it has many cells that form a honeycomb design. These cells absorb sound vibrations, thus preventing the vibrations from going through the floor.
For that reason, cork tiles are good in floor soundproofing.
To your advantage, cork tiles are inexpensive, durable, and healthy; hence are one of the best ways to soundproof your floor and reduce noise transmission.
9. Install MLV Underneath the Floorboards To Soundproof A Floor
Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) is one of the best, if not the best, materials in floor soundproofing
It comprises a limp vinyl sheet material that has metal properties. These metal properties increase the mass of the material, making it a good sound barrier.
Using MLV to soundproof your floor blocks everyday noises from going through the floor to the room below.
It’s effective in blocking sound and easy to apply. You only need to cut it into sizes that fit the room you’re soundproofing. You can fix it as a flooring underlayment or carpet underlay. Choose one that works for you.
Doner Acoustic Panels are perfect examples of soundproof MLVs.
10. Use Floor Joist Isolators To Soundproof A Floor
These are thick pieces of rubber that you fix between the floor joist and the subfloor.
They’re good in floor soundproofing since they separate the underneath floor from the flooring structure. That way, floor joists prevent noise from traveling through the flooring structures to the subfloor.
In addition, they help alleviate any squeaking sounds when the two surfaces rub against each other. They decouple the floor from the building structure, limiting the chances of squeaking noises. So, joist isolators are good in floor soundproofing as they prevent sound vibrations from reaching the subfloor.
Rubber Floor Joist Isolators are good in floor soundproofing.
Since they’re simple rubber parts that are cheap and compact, they’ll not affect your floor structure.
Final Thoughts On How To Soundproof A Floor
By now, you must have identified some techniques among the ones above that you can embrace to soundproof your floor.
Floor soundproofing offers a solution to reduce or completely prevent noise from going through floors. However, you need to select the best floor soundproofing strategy that suits your floor structure.
By knowing how to soundproof a floor, you create a quiet, relaxed, and calm room atmosphere.