Do you have kids running around upstairs, or a dog barking in your background? Or do you have a noisy upstairs neighbor in the apartment where you’re currently residing? How about a noisy office where you can hear all the cars honk and pass by outside your building? Everyday noise is common for both a house and an office. It is even more so in a home, apartment, or office where the sounds amplify through drywall, wood framing, air ducts, and ceiling lighting.
Soundproofing your floors is an excellent method to quell echoes and even loud distractions in your building. Here, we’re going to explain the soundproofing of your flooring and the soundproofing materials you can use.
What Are Sound Ratings?
In any space, two types of sound can be a problem. These are impact sounds and transmission sounds.
Impact sounds are sounds coming from things that hit the floor. Usually, this means dropped objects or footsteps. On the other hand, transmission sounds are conversations, TV, and music that pass through the story.
There are times when the floor is good at reducing both sounds. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, it is possible to get a story that is good at lowering one and not both. If this makes you feel frustrated, no need to fret because Best Access Doors has compiled some materials or flooring that can gauge both of these types of sounds.
The Best Flooring Materials For Soundproofing A Room
In the same way that the healthcare industry believes that prevention is better than cure, we’re here to tell you that the best time to soundproof your floors is when you’re choosing your level initially. If you are already sure that sound will be an issue, especially if it’s a workplace, these two are the top 2 floor choices that may work out.
When it comes to appearance, durability, and sound-proofing, there are only a few materials that will beat cork. Aside from being noted for its “sponginess” when you walk on it, cork has other known features such as it can absorb sound.
One fun fact: Did you know that cork floors come from the bark of cork trees in southern Europe? Every few years, the bark of a cork tree is harvested and regrows again without ever damaging it. It is why cork is both eco-friendly and sustainable.
Also, cork is the same soundproofing material that recording companies use to eliminate background noise in their studios. If you install it in your home or office, you will notice everything is a lot quieter since the porous cork wood absorbs the sound waves and prevents them from bouncing around your room. Moreover, cork even comes in a much wider variety of styles that can be a pretty easy DIY job. What’s the cool thing about cork? You can use it as a floor, under your deck, or just as a sound dampening accessory.
It is most often the least expensive soundproof flooring and almost the quietest. Your pets, kids, and even adults will make very little noise when walking on carpeted floors. The carpeting materials are good at reducing ambient sounds in a room.
The only downside with carpets is it lacks durability if you’re considering having it for a long time. They also tend to flatten under heavy furniture and foot traffic until you need to replace them. Also, it requires more maintenance than other floors since you need to vacuum daily, and dirt can pile up deep in the carpeting.
Adding Underlayment to Flooring as the Next Best Thing
Okay, maybe you don’t want carpet or cork. Do you still have other remaining soundproof options that are viable? How good are they? On their own, not high. But if you add underlayment, they can be pretty decent.
An underlayment has many different purposes depending on the flooring. In some cases, it is a requirement to help the durability of the rug. While in other cases, it is an extra layer for insulation against sound, temperature, and possibly even moisture. Here are some options for the underlayment to flooring.
1. Laminate plus underlayment
Laminate floors are not exactly great performers when it comes to absorbing transmission sounds on its own. However, the good news is that usually, you can install laminate with underlayment. If you don’t want cork or carpet, but you do care about sound, you have to fix this because it makes a significant difference in sound transmission. Moreover, there are many things to consider when buying underlayment for laminate-- you can choose how well it reduces sounds.
2. Resilient/Cushioned vinyl
Cushioned vinyl is resilient vinyl that comes with a foam layer beneath. Although this does not make for an excellent sound resistant floor, this makes quite a decent floor. It also has few other benefits, such as offering an impressive durability level at a reasonably low cost. It can also handle a relatively high level of foot traffic, and just like all vinyl, it is likewise moisture-resistant. That’s why you will often find it installed in bathrooms.
However, it has main drawbacks such as its appearance-- some people find it looking ‘fake,’ and you can cut the surface design layer with sharp objects. If you want a better-looking version of vinyl, you can choose luxury vinyl. Unfortunately, you can't install it with underlayment for sound absorption.
Although cushion or underlayment for hardwood isn’t trendy, you can still install it to help with moisture and sound. For more options of underlayment, an engineered hardwood floor can do the job because it is a “floating floor.” For glued or nailed down solid hardwood, they usually have limited underlayment options. When purchasing your floor, you can ask about what options you have that are best for reducing sound.
When Dealing With An Already Existing Floor
As we said, it is better to choose a soundproof floor at the onset. However, if you already have an existing story and you want to turn it into a quiet level, you also have another option, which is to add insulation in the ceiling and then also add something on top of your story.
For the top of your floor, here are some ideas that you might want to consider.
It isn’t groundbreaking news. It is probably something you already know, but a rug may be the best option. There are so many varieties of rugs you can choose from, and it is highly unlikely that you can’t find one that you like. A carpet will help with impact noise but probably not efficiently because it will only cover a portion of your room. If you choose rugs, the best places for the carpet are anywhere in high traffic areas or under furniture that people use, such as beds and couches. As a tip on rugs, the thicker the mat, the better it is to dampen sound.
2. Rug pads
There are also things such as rug pads (just like carpet pads!) used for three reasons: help in protecting the rug, keeping rugs from slipping, and for insulation-- both sound and temperature.
We advise you to go with thick rubber and felt pad. You can also find it in a variety of colors or even printed and patterned styles, which are perfect for children’s rooms and nurseries. However, they don’t give off a professional vibe, so they only work better in homes.
Having a soundproof floor is essential. Starting the process before you even start buying your new level is the best way to go. Take note the flooring material you choose will make a huge difference when it comes to having a quiet home or workplace.
Lastly, as a final and relatively cheaper way of soundproofing, you can also consider installing sound-rated access doors and panels. They are perfect for projects that require noise containment and sound transmission blocking.
Try our sound-rated access doors today! Visit https://www.bestaccessdoors.com/sound-rated-access-panels/ to view our product line.
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