If you've ever had to listen to children, pets or household members making a lot of noise when all you wanted was peace and quiet, you already know the importance of soundproofing floors. If you have an older home, you probably deal with this regularly. In years past, people weren't as concerned with soundproofing as they are now. Lucky for today's homeowners, there are now many different options and methods for soundproofing floors.
Changing the Flooring Itself
It's no secret that carpet is much quieter than tile or hardwood. However, since hardwood floors are the most infamous floors for causing annoying echoes and heavy footsteps, here we'll focus on hardwood floors.
Installing a new hardwood floor is the best time to think about soundproofing floors. Ask your retailer or contractor about the sound ratings of different species of wood and different manufactured wood flooring materials. Soundproofing floors is much easier if you take it into consideration from the very beginning.
Blocking the Noise
Soundproofing floors is not a complicated idea. You just need something between the hard flooring and the rest of the house to absorb noise. There are many different options for materials to place between the floor and the sub-floor to accomplish this.
Cork is very good at absorbing noise, and it's being looked at with new interest lately as a more environmentally friendly form of soundproofing your office and home floors. You'll only need a very thin layer, since cork is a very dense substance. This thin layer will be laid first, and then you will install the sub-floor and finally the hardwood.
If you've ever been in a school, office building or hospital, you're already familiar with acoustic tiles. These panels were designed to dull echoes, and this is why they're popular in large, open spaces. However, they also make an excellent for soundproofing floors! Simply install them as you would cork, making allowances for the differences in thickness.
You may have noticed, in real life or on television, the odd-looking panels which line the walls of professional recording studios. Generally known as sound-deadening panels, these panels do just that...deaden almost all noise. For this reason, they are very adaptable for soundproof flooring. They are generally thicker then acoustic tiles, but if you plan accordingly, you can create an almost entirely soundproofed floor with minimal effort.
When New Floors Aren't an Option
If you rent and can't redo your floors, or if it's just not an option for you financially, there are still steps you can take for soundproofing your floors. If you value quiet over the look of hardwood, consider putting down carpet. Many families have a "no shoes" policy in their homes. Area rugs offer the same sound-deadening benefits of carpet with the added bonus of being moveable.
There are many different options for soundproofing floors, with something for every taste and budget. Do your research, and decide which options is right for you. Once the work is done, you'll get to enjoy a beautiful floor without the constant annoyance of excess noise.