Anyone who lives in a two-story home with upstairs hardwood floors knows about the challenge of irritating noises. If you live in a downstairs apartment or condominium, your upstairs neighbours can frazzle your nerves every time they walk across the room or play their loud music. And, if you're that upstairs noisy neighbour, it's even more stressful because you're the object of complaints. Although hardwood floors are not as acoustically friendly as carpeting, cork or rubber floors, you can absorb, isolate or stop sounds coming from hardwood floors.
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Things you need
- Thick foam-padded area rugs
- Ratings for hardwood floors
- Acoustic panels
- Acoustic Decoupler
- Instructions from suppliers
Go shoeless and use padded throw rugs. Perhaps you don't own your own home or live in an apartment so your hands are tied as far as rebuilding your floor. On the other hand, maybe you do own your own home but don't want to go to the trouble of redoing your hardwood floor to install acoustic panels. You can reduce the noise level by going shoeless, as well as stationing large area rugs (with heavy foam padding) on top of your upstairs hardwood floors.
Check sound insulation ratings. If you're building a new home and plan to install hardwood floors upstairs, be sure to study the insulating ratings of each type of wood or ask your local flooring specialist which floors have the best sound ratings. Sounds are measured by both airborne sounds (speaking and music) as well as impact sounds (footsteps and dropped objects).
Apply subflooring materials to soundproof your floors. Build your upstairs with suspended wood subfloors. After sweeping all debris from the subfloor, make any needed repairs before laying down underlayments. Rather than installing conventional underlayments, use acoustic panels instead (which absorb noise). Be sure to check if you need to make any adjustments because acoustic panels are thicker than plywood. Carefully follow the given instructions from the manufacturer
Use Acoustic Decoupler. Used to isolate sound, Acoustic Decoupler is a thin rubber product that is laid over subflooring. After laying down Acoustic Decoupler, wood flooring is stapled over it. Again, check with your supplier for directions.
Use sound-deadening panels on walls and floors to absorb noise. If building a new home, perhaps you want to have a music room upstairs. By installing sound-deadening panels on both the walls and floor, you can isolate noise on those upstairs hardwoods, while not disturbing the rest of the family downstairs. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions on installation details, making sure to lay the smooth sides up.
Use cork products. cork is an excellent material for absorbing noise. After installing a quarter of an inch thick cork, lay down one-half inch plywood, followed by hardwood strips that are nailed to the floor.
Tips and warnings
- Hire professional help if you don't feel confident to do your own subflooring.
- Check to see if you need to trim doors when subflooring because of the extra thickness.
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