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Soundproofing a Floor

Learn how to soundproof both carpeted and hard floors to reduce noise pollution in your home.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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What You Need to Know:

Combining acoustic underlayment with acoustic mats beneath a floor reduces the effects of both airborne noise from televisions, stereos or speech and impact noise from footsteps and furniture being moved. If the problem is solely impact noise, underlayment alone may suffice. Remove the coverings to reveal the floor. If the floor is to be carpeted, leave the baseboard in place and proceed as shown below. For other floorings, remove the baseboard molding and lay out the acoustic underlayment, butting the lengths up against one another and allowing them to lap a short distance up the wall. Tape all joints, and then lay acoustic mat, ensuring that any seams do not coincide with the joins of the underlayment. Lay a floating tongue-and-groove chipboard floor over the top, and trim the edges of the underlayment. You may then install further floor coverings, such as laminated flooring.

Flooring Materials and Soundproofing

As soundproofing involves the building up of materials, thick floor coverings are more soundproof. For example, cushioned vinyl is more effective than regular vinyl. You can lay sheet vinyl over a soundproofed chipboard floor and attach it with double-sided adhesive tape. Similarly, high-quality burlap-backed carpets will prevent sound travel better than cheaper foam-backed carpets.

Do not add flanking strips to a carpeted floor. The fact that the carpet stretches across the tackless stripping and makes contact with the baseboard should provide protection enough against flanking noise.

Soundproofing Hard Floors

A combination of acoustic underlayment with acoustic mats and chipboard sheets is a very straightforward option for effective soundproofing. Here it is installed below a floating chipboard floor, over which underlayment and laminate flooring are laid.

Courtesy of © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Soundproofing Carpeted Floors

When soundproofing floors that are to be carpeted, first install furring strips around the room’s perimeter, then lay acoustic mats and underlayment between, and butting up against, the furring strips. Attach tackless stripping to the furring strips and lay the carpet.

Courtesy of © 2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Reducing Sound Travel

  • Sound is created by vibrating material. Making a room stiff and thick reduces the amount of sound that can escape.

  • Using acoustically efficient materials to add mass to a structure increases its ability to absorb sound.

  • Structural elements carry sound, so creating a barrier between them prevents sounds from traveling across a room.

  • Use acoustic sealant, flanking tape, or flanking strips to isolate a structural element.

  • Seal the edges of walls and floors to prevent sound from traveling to the next room.

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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