They portray sound in the movies in a variety of ways.
Picture a woman standing with a broom banging on the ceiling above her – “quiet down up there,” she screams, as you hear every footstep from above.
Or maybe you’re on the edge of your seat, creaking floorboards keeping your senses on alert as the main character walks into a darkened room.
Still think soundproofing your flooring doesn’t matter?
It might not be something you think about when you select new flooring or remodel an existing room. Yet if you’re in a multi-family unit, or you live in a home with family or friends, we bet there’s a point in your life where sound matters.
Someone who played a movie on television a little too loud.
Or you spend an hour with a workout expert, and you can hear and feel it from every room in the house.
It’s time for a change.
Why floors matter when it comes to sound
Your flooring isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s crucial to creating a harmonious living space. Imagine a room with sleek, hardwood floors—gorgeous, right? Now imagine every click of high heels or a child’s enthusiastic play echoing through your entire home.
The right flooring can either enhance the cozy silence of your space or turn it into a symphony of unintended noise. It makes every choice you make matter.
The difference between soundproofing and sound absorbing
Before we go any further, let’s clear something up. Soundproofing and sound absorption are not the same.
Soundproofing prevents the transmission of sound from your son’s drumming practice to your conference call. Sound absorption is there to keep the echoes and reverberations within a room under control, so you don’t sound like you’re in a cave during that virtual meeting.
Both are important. Both help with different issues.
Different types of noise
Because sound is a top concern in flooring production, Impact Insulation Class, or IIC, helps rate flooring products for better understanding.
An IIC rating of 50 is the lowest rating and provides the lowest impact. You’ll typically find it in stone and tile, and it is best managed on ground level floors.
An IIC rating of 60 has medium impact. You’ll find it in hardwood, laminate, and some vinyl. This product can be managed well all throughout your house.
An IIC rating of 65 has the highest level of absorption. It’s reserved for thick, dense flooring choices like the plush carpet you’ve had your eye on.
It’s also important to understand the difference between impact noise and airborne noise.
Impact noise is the drumbeat of high heels, the thud of dropped toys, and the rhythm of a midnight dance party.
Airborne noise? That’s the symphony of voices, music, and other sounds that float through the air. Different projection into your home. Different ways of handling the unique auditory needs.
What to consider before selecting flooring for your home
Soundproofing isn’t an afterthought. Instead, it should be one of your top concerns. If you have a busy household, don’t wait for buyer’s remorse to learn more about the process. You’ll want to consider the following:
Room Function – A home office might require a quiet environment, while the living room is action-packed and filled with daily activities.
Installation – Professional installation ensures your flooring performs at its best. It can also help you select the right materials, ensure your subfloor is perfectly matched to your flooring products, and give you the results you’re looking for.
Budget – Every flooring project has a budget. The good news? There are cost-effective options that deliver a high-quality performance. It’s all about finding that sweet spot.
There are many products that, when added to your selected flooring, will create a quiet experience. This is where working with experts can help you find the best solution to fit your home and lifestyle.
Flooring underlays – Dense, durable materials positioned on the subfloor to reduce impact noise, lower vibrations, and prevent noise movement.
Acoustic mats – Like flooring underlays, these often bring more convenience in mat format. Though more commonly used in walls and ceilings, in some circumstances, they can make a great addition to a remodeling project.
Carpets and rugs – They aren’t just for aesthetics, warmth, and comfort. You’ll find them great at absorbing sound, preventing echo, and lowering both impact and airborne noise.
Flooring insulation – Sometimes soundproofing starts with adding insulation into empty space, between floor joists, and on top of the subfloor.
Sound-absorbing backing – Depending on your final flooring selection, some products come with a built-in sound-absorbing backing that will help control the nose.
The best soundproof flooring options
If you’ve had your eye on a particular flooring product, there’s a good chance there are ways to make it more soundproof. Some of our favorites include:
Laminate – Laminate offers excellent sound-absorbing flooring qualities. People choose it for a variety of reasons, including its classic good looks, and its stability throughout your home. It’s softer underfoot, and comes with a variety of options. Look for attached pad options that instantly provide sound absorption qualities. Add underlayment, and you’ll maximize the effect.
Vinyl – Vinyl has long been considered an option when noise reduction tops your list. It’s designed with a foam backing and flexible materials that automatically provides soundproofing. Look to specific manufacturers for enhanced sound absorption qualities. Plus, you’ll have options. Prefer tile? Sheet? Or maybe luxury vinyl planks are your style. This innovative product is sure to please.
Hardwood – Hardwood is ever-popular because it ticks so many boxes on your checklist. Its natural qualities work hard to dampen sound. Add an underlayment, and you can increase the absorption. Engineered hardwood offers a floating floor with underlayment options often attached.
Carpet – It’s hard to talk about soundproofing and not mention carpet. The fibers have an automatic soundproofing characteristic that makes it perfect for your warm and cozy rooms – try it in bedrooms, playrooms, and your home theater.
Which is right for you?
There’s a lot to takeaway when reading this post. If soundproofing is vital to you, choose wisely and keep an open mind when you stop by our store.
We’re happy to help you find the perfect flooring material for your renovation project. There are great flooring options perfect for soundproofing every room in your home.
How can we help you?