There are many different reasons why a person might want to soundproof their floor. Even though it’s easier to hear loud noises coming from above, noisy rooms or neighbors in apartment buildings can frustrate people from any direction.
There are some professional ways to soundproof a floor, but most people find that unnecessary if they are just a little bit handy. A do it yourself solution is usually easier and much cheaper.
Regardless of budget, it’s reasonably straightforward and easy to soundproof a floor. A professional can always handle the task, but a few do-it-yourself options never hurt anyone to go ahead and try.
Easy and Inexpensive Ways to Soundproof a Floor
Unlike the walls and the ceiling, it’s very easy to put a barrier between the rest of the living area and the floor. Anything will technically reduce sound a bit, but what does the best job? Consider these inexpensive ways to soundproof a floor.
Remember, gravity is everyone’s friend, so some of these solutions don’t need much to keep them in place.
Plenty of people love having hardwood floors in certain rooms, but it might just be leading to noisier areas if there is sound coming from below. The carpet will help to muffle the sound and prevent noise from even reaching those surrounding it.
It might take some warming up to the idea, but there are plenty of carpet choices (Amazon) to comb through if a person wants to. There are floor protection options as well for people who don’t want to do anything to their hardwood floors over time.
With any type of color out there, as well as different lengths, a person can make a sound decision on what they want. A longer, thicker carpet is going to kill sound a bit better, but most will do a decent job, especially with good padding underneath.
Similarly, a rug (Amazon) works in the same way as carpet. It’s just an easier option to roll up and remove when not needed. It won’t kill sound nearly as well, but it still does an adequate job in the eyes of most.
A big area rug can practically fill up an entire room, and that might be enough for some to kill lingering sounds.
2. Rubber, Sound Killing Floor Mats
This is for people who already have carpet but still, have some issues with sounds coming from below. Most people use these in extreme situations, but since they’re coming down in price, it’s worth looking into in the very beginning just in case.
Originally, rubber mats (Amazon) became pretty popular because of the shock absorption they provide, and the fact that they don’t slip around. That’s why a lot of mats will be found in workout gyms and other high usage areas.
Almost by accident, they became very popular for those looking to kill any sounds.
Those who can install their own carpet should consider going ahead and putting these rubber mats in to start with. Since they are pretty affordable, there are no limitations as far as that goes.
They might come in handy later on, and it’s much easier to have already them installed. Not only that but if exercising goes on at home, it’s a little easier on the body.
The only negative is that it does make the carpet sit just a slight bit higher in general. After laying everything down, no one will notice the difference, so don’t let this become too much of an issue.
3. Multi-Use Mats
These mats might not be made specifically for killing sound, but they work just the same. Some floor mats work best when installed in high traffic areas, instead of being put on the entire floor.
These multi-use mats don’t need to be covered by a carpet or rug necessarily. Instead, they do a solid job by themselves. They might look a bit out of place in certain rooms, but it’s a trade-off for ultimate portability.
The two most common reasons to put this type of flooring down is for a kid area, or a place to exercise. Some of these floor mats come in small puzzle-like pieces (Amazon), and they can be picked up in a matter of minutes and reinstalled later on. This comes in handy with smaller places that might not want this type of flooring down all the time.
Not only do these mats work well to kill sound, but they also protect the flooring very well. This comes in handy for bands that are recording, because they are constantly using some pretty heavy equipment. If drums are placed on basic flooring, it can start to wear down certain spots and make it look not so nice.
Since they come in relatively small pieces, if one or two get worn out, they are easily replaceable. It’s something that certainly keeps costs down in general, and most people can get behind something like that.
4. Green Glue
A lot of people like what Green Glue brings to the table as a soundproofing material by itself. It is a compound that has a polymeric formula to kill sound and make conditions a little more tolerable overall. It needs to be applied between two soundproofing materials to work its best.
The one drawback to Green Glue is that it’s a little bit tricky for beginners to apply themselves. The compound works with many different types of materials, but it needs to be applied correctly for it to work.
This glue is 100% eco-friendly and resists mold completely. It is something that once it is properly installed, it can do its job for years and years without any issues.
Since Green Glue can contort to different areas, it does a great job of closing up any gaps that might otherwise exist with other solutions. It can be used by itself or as a finishing touch to making a floor, wall, or ceiling quieter.
5. Mass loaded vinyl
Out of all the affordable options, this is probably the best to kill sound as much as possible. This is a very dense material that creates a sound barrier.
A lot of people will install this on floors, ceilings, and walls. It sometimes is sufficient enough to do everything itself, but a combination of Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV), floor mats, and carpet can make a significant difference in sound.
Even though it is pretty inexpensive to add, MLV is a little different in that it needs to be nailed to or screwed into the floor. This can be problematic for those who do not own the property they live in.
It’s important to get permission before doing anything to the floor, so get it approved first. If they don’t approve it, there is no other alternative than to go with the other temporary options instead.
A lot of professional setups like to use MLV because it does such a solid, dependable job for years and years. It handles all types of sounds very well, and pricing is just right.
All the options above are inexpensive, easy to do, and good enough, in most cases. However, some people are looking for professional level soundproofing, and that really can’t be done with just some simple mats and carpet.
The best way to soundproof a floor is to layer the floor properly. This probably won’t get approved by a rental property, but a lot of people who own their homes have gone this direction.
To start with, the existing floor has to come out. Maybe it can be put back down, but work needs to be done under that top layer of flooring to see any significant changes. That means stripping down to the subfloor and then going from there.
What do You Install at the Subfloor Level?
Once everything is torn down to the subfloor, two layers of plywood will get the job done. They are not stackable without something in between, though.
Between each piece of plywood will be an underlayment, and then green glue to attach the two pieces of plywood. This creates a sandwich effect so that everything mashes together well and does not compromise the overall feel of the flooring.
This might seem complicated, but it’s fairly easy to do without having to hire a professional. All the material can be purchased online or in a local hardware store, and there are some great tutorials online to get through any tricky spots.
A good underlayment is probably the hardest thing to find, but there are some very versatile options out there to consider. A lot of it depends on how a person wants the floor to feel once everything comes together.
Make sure not to overlook that second layer of plywood, as well as the green glue that helps connect the two pieces of plywood.
Green glue is known as a great soundproofing material in itself. It can’t do anything by itself, but it enhances the performance of two surfaces once it is glued together. Green glue is affordable these days and is recommended strongly for anyone wanting to do things correctly the first time.
Frequently Asked Questions About Soundproofing Floors
When Should Someone Consider Soundproofing a Floor?
Each room is going to be slightly different, which means that soundproofing a floor might be extremely necessary, or not necessary at all.
If the room is located on the first floor of a home or building, and there is no basement underneath, it might not be worth soundproofing the floor. Maybe add one or two layers of a temporary solution, but other than that, it’s overkill to do anything more.
Soundproofing a floor is more for those who have rooms below them. And not only comes in handy for people recording, but it enhances the comfort level for people in other areas of the home or building.
Most people know that sound coming from below is not as noticeable as from above. It still makes a difference in the recording industry, but soundproofing a floor is just as much about protecting everyone else as it is helping with recording sound.
If there is going to be a lot of recording in a certain room and it’s part of an apartment complex, soundproofing the floor might prevent the possibility of an eviction. If a room is being way too loud, there are bound to be plenty of complaints from neighbors. The soundproofing methods might be enough to save someone from being out on the street without a place to live.
Does a Soundproof Floor Help With Acoustics?
Most people who soundproof an entire room will make sure they have every surface cover. That means soundproofing the floor, even if it might not help that much with acoustics. Indeed, floors don’t make as much of a difference, but it can be problematic for some people.
The biggest issue is echoes and the fact that there are so many hardwood floors out there. Hardwood floors might look great, but they do not help out a lot with sound.
The tricky part is that vocals sound good in certain rooms in person, but they don’t record particularly well. Hardwood floors in an empty room is a perfect example of this.
Most people walk into a room like this and feel like it has amazing acoustics, but it doesn’t translate to recording the way it should. It ends up with a little bit of reverb and echoes.
Should the Focus be on Eliminating Impact Sounds?
Everyone has experienced the sounds coming from above due to impact sound. This can be people walking or running, furniture being moved around, instruments being picked up and placed down, and more.
Impact sound is very prominent when there is no barrier whatsoever between the standard floor and the ceiling below.
Soundproofing the floor can give people a lot more freedom to do what they want, without having to feel like they are constantly disturbing people below them.
That peace of mind helps people focus on what they are trying to accomplish, instead of doing everything a little more quietly than they would like.
Which of These Methods Are Best?
When figuring out the best option, it’s important to think about just how important soundproofing a floor is. If it is needed as a temporary solution, it’s probably a bit too much of a hassle to go through the entire process of tearing a floor up.
Pricing in today’s world is not that much of an issue since prices have dropped significantly in just the last few years. Video websites like YouTube have also helped out so many different do-it-yourself people, as seeing the process makes it so much easier.
There will always be limits depending on a person‘s home, but if it’s a consistent issue, look for the most permanent solution. Taking care of things just once will give a person the peace of mind they need going forward.
To cut down on costs, rent any necessary tools instead of purchasing them outright. There’s no reason to own a lot of these tools if there is not a lot of work that needs doing. The installation process doesn’t take too much time, so renting is a cheaper option to consider. Having a lot of tools that are only used sparingly will end up taking up a ton of space.
It’s completely doable without any help, but most people will seek out some assistance when soundproofing a floor. It speeds up the process, and some pieces of flooring can be pretty bulky. It helps to bring somebody along who has some experience with basic handiwork around at home.
Don’t be afraid to try something cheap and easy in the beginning. Sometimes, people don’t need as much soundproof material on the floor as they might originally expect. Soundproofing without having to do too much major construction work is always more convenient.