How to Use Rugs for Sound Insulation

Written by cynthia measom
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How to Use Rugs for Sound Insulation
Adding padding under an area rug will provide sound insulation. (tapis image by Moon from

If you live in an upstairs apartment or condo and you do not have carpeting, chances are that your downstairs neighbours hear much of what you do such as walking across the floor, playing music, watching television or exercising. While it is nearly impossible to eliminate all the noise, you can decrease it with the use of area rugs to help insulate the floor and reduce the amount of sounds that are transferred to your neighbours. If you do not live upstairs and you find that the acoustics of an uncarpeted room do not suit you, the addition of area rugs can make a noticeable difference.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Area rugs
  • 3/8-inch-thick carpet padding
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight-edge utility knife

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  1. 1

    Select area rugs for the high traffic areas of your home and areas where you spend time watching television, playing music or exercising. Choose large enough rugs so that they will cover the majority of the area where you walk or spend time. For instance, choose rugs that leave no more than 8 to 10 inches of floor space around them once placed on the floor or in a hallway

  2. 2

    Measure the length and width of each rug with a tape measure and record the measurements.

  3. 3

    Roll out the 3/8-inch-thick carpet pad in a large, level clean area and measure the required amounts of carpet pad with the tape measure. Mark the measurements with a pencil so you will have a cutting guide.

  4. 4

    Lay a straightedge down against the pencil marks and cut the carpet padding with a utility knife. Move the straight edge as you cut in order to cut the carpet padding evenly.

  5. 5

    Place the carpet padding on the desired area of the floor and put the correctly sized area rug on top of the padding so that the padding doesn't show.

Tips and warnings

  • You can choose a thinner carpet pad if desired. But don't choose a thicker pad than 3/8 inch thick.
  • An alternative to placing carpet padding under area rugs is to place a large area rug on the floor and layer a smaller or same size rug on top of it to provide sound insulation.
  • Don't choose a rag rug or very thin rug. An area rug that is at least 1/2 inch thick needs to be used or the rug will not look right on the padding.

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