How do you soundproof a hardwood floor? By its very nature, this surface makes more noise than other hardwood flooring installations, like carpet or granite. Yet you can easily make a hardwood floor quieter without interfering with the floor’s beauty and durability. The first step is to figure out what kind of noise you want to minimize.
Noise from above can be particularly bothersome, especially during the evening or late night hours when relaxation time is at a premium. You may think to treat this as a ceiling problem for the level below, but noise is always damped more effectively when you’re closer to its source – treat it as a floor problem for the level above.
Consider resilient underlay, which is best for muffling impacts like footsteps or furniture. Sound is nothing more than vibrations, and vibrations need a path to travel. Resilient underlay staggers the connections between floor and ceiling so that vibrations need to travel along more indirect paths where they lose their intensity and interfere with each other. Foam, fiber, cork, and rubber all make terrific underlay materials, though rubber is ideal because it’s simultaneously more dense (there’s more for the sound to travel through) and less rigid (meaning less reverberation).
Next comes damping compound: An underlay still leaves air cavities, which can resonate, especially with higher-pitched sounds like voices. These are vibrations carried better through air rather than through solid structures. You want to absorb these with a damping layer that insulates against sound. If voices or music is more of a problem than impacts, you may want to skip the underlay and come straight to this approach.
If you want to guard against both, underlay and damping go hand-in-hand, and can be used most effectively together. As a commercial flooring contractor, East Coast Flooring can help design unique flooring installations that best fit every house – there’s no one size fits all for sound reduction. For instance, there will be certain cases where floating hardwood floor might be a better choice, and there will be other cases where fixed hardwood is the better choice for sound. Ask us what’ll work best for your needs; we’ve seen it all.