When it comes to noise reduction in homes and apartments, wood flooring is second only to tiled floors as the worst choice. Yet wood floors add value and beauty to homes and apartments, increasing their market value and rent prices.
If wood floors have already been installed or are being considered for installation, there are a few tricks of the trade which work as well as carpeting.
When installing wood, laminate, tile, or carpeted floors, soundproofing mats can be installed between the subfloor and the frame, between layers of subfloor, or directly on top of the subfloor below the flooring material. These lightweight sheets are budget friendly and are used along or in conjunction with other soundproofing materials. Two or three layers can be used on top of or underneath hardwood flooring to reduce noise transfer.
If the flooring is already in place, install at least one layer between the wood floor and area rugs and runners. This material can also be used in ceiling and wall construction to improve the sound barrier. Although it provides less than a 50 percent noise reduction when used alone, it is not intended for vibration or contact noise reduction, such as placing beneath noisy appliances.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass loaded vinyl sound barriers are easy to install and provide noise reduction when installed beneath wood flooring. They are moisture and mold proof and work well with other sound proofing materials. They are also used behind drywall on walls and ceilings. They can work with cement floors and structures as long as they are sealed first and the material is bonded to the surface.
Acoustic laminate floor composition, although intended for sound and moisture barrier beneath carpeting, can be used on top of cement and beneath wood floors. It is designed in different thicknesses for different applications. For improved noise barrier, the manufacturer suggests using it with mineral wool soundproofing.
Although designed for laminate floors, this heavy weight acoustic underlay works well with laminate, wood laminate, engineered wood and solid timber floors. It not only reduces noise transfer between floors and rooms, but it reduces noise reflected back into a room. This soundproofing material buffers impact and acoustic noise when installed between subfloors and flooring while adding, a moisture barrier.
Acoustic High Performance
This product is suitable for use beneath installed carpeting and area rugs (if fastened down) and reduces impact noise. It does not work with airborne noise – only acoustic (impact) noise – and must be used with another airborne noise reducing product. It works with all floor types including wood, laminate, concrete, asphalt, and carpet, and it is best for uneven floors.
Acoustic Mineral Wool
This product works to reduce airborne noise between floors, partition walls, and suspended ceilings. It is fire-safe, non-flammable, and chemically inert. It also acts as a moisture barrier and does not encourage mold or mildew. It’s nearly twice as dense as traditional loft materials and more efficient than other materials at noise reduction.