If you want a classic, sleek touch to your home, hardwood floors are the way. It brings sophistication, beauty, and durability. However, wooden floors have their downsides, mainly the poor soundproofing it offers. Even though hardwood floors offer higher soundproofing than floating floors, they can’t compete with carpets or tile flooring.
They are bad insulators and can be heard even in other rooms, which is undesirable and can ruin the ambiance of your home.
In this article, we will be discussing some of the best ways to soundproof hardwood floors. We’ll also be exploring the different types of noise that can affect wood floors and how to reduce noise.
Before soundproofing the wooden floors, the first thing to consider is the type of noise you want to soundproof your floors against. Mainly, there are two types of noise, namely, airborne and impact noise.
Airborne noise is the noise that travels through the air before it travels through other mediums like walls. This can include the sound of the TV, a musical instrument, or conversations between two people. The best way to deal with airborne noise is by using soundproofing materials that have increased mass to absorb the sound waves and attenuate them.
The second type of noise one needs to deal with is impact noise. Impact noise constitutes noise created when two objects are in direct contact. They have a vibrational component that can be felt in addition to the noise. This includes walking or running, sounds from falling objects, or even speakers attached to the wall. The vibrations created can be felt, and it takes more effort to reduce impact noise, as we have to focus on isolating the object from the wall and reducing the impact.
Now, let’s see some of the best ways to soundproof a hardwood floor. We have curated the list based on efficiency, cost of installation, and ease of access to the material.
5 Ways to Soundproof Hardwood Floors
Install An Underlayment Under The Wooden Panels
One of the most extensively used methods for soundproofing wooden floors is installing a damping compound and an underlayment that is resilient and long-lasting. The resilient underlayment helps in separating the construction materials to isolate the source of the sound. The damping compound will help to effectively attenuate and dissipate the sound energy while passing through it. The damping layer is integral to soundproofing because, at lower frequencies, most sound-absorbing materials fail to perform effectively.
You can choose from any of the many soundproofing materials available in the market currently, including fiberglass, rubber foam, or cork. The thickness of the underlayment depends on the level of soundproofing you require and the project’s budget. You can also opt for a shredded rubber mat with more mass than foam or cork, providing better soundproofing.
Once you have picked a suitable sublayer for the floor, the damping compound is the next thing to focus on. A simple way to approach this is by simply applying it to the existing sublayer. The damping layer must be applied evenly between the two surfaces (the hardwood and the subfloor) for maximum efficiency.
Once the underlayment is set, you can install the hardwood panels like a floating raft. One doesn’t need to attach the hardwood to the layer underneath using screws or nails.
Use Green Glue When Attaching Wood To Floor
You can also use glue compounds such as green glue to soundproof hardwood floors, but it requires removing the existing floor and reinstalling the hardwood floor. Green Glue is a popular soundproofing solution that helps you install hardwood panels with ease. It works on both sides of the floor and can be applied to the existing subfloor. You can also use it with underlayment and floorboard.
Green Glue is an efficient solution and can reduce noise to upto 90% of normal frequencies. However, a caulk gun is required to distribute it over the sublayer and under the hardwood. The Green glue will show its soundproofing properties once it dries, but it may take up to 30 days for peak performance.
Insert Deck Screw
One of the biggest problems faced while using hardwood floors is the squeaky sounds that can be a nuisance. However, the squeaky sounds can be fixed or removed using a deck screw in the right place. This is a simple procedure and doesn’t require professional help. You need a drill bit with a countersink, bit driver, and a deck screw.
You may have to remove the current flooring and access the subfloor. One thing to note is that you don’t have to apply this to the entire floor area. Deck screws need to be fixed only at places that have squeaking noise.
Drill holes on the marked spots and use a countersink of appropriate dimensions. Make sure that the bit is smaller than the screw width. Place the hardwood floor on top of the sublayer and drive the screw gently through it. Repeat the process for all panels that make a squeaking noise.
Use Rugs or Carpets
Rugs or carpets are natural sound absorbers, and they can be used as standalone solutions for soundproofing wooden floors or added over the existing solutions for better soundproofing. They add to the house’s ambiance and absorb the impact of the sound vibrations.
The most significant advantage of carpets is that they can be moved according to the user’s choice. You can use it as a fashion statement and for utility simultaneously.
You can set the rugs under major sound contributors like TV, radio, and speakers to absorb maximum vibrations.
Use Rubber Mats
Rubber mats are a viable alternative for rugs, and they also provide shielding from impact noise. It acts as a buffer and a cushion to soften the blow of the impact and dissipate the sound energy.
Rubber mats are beneficial in soundproofing rooms used as pet areas, kids’ play areas, etc.
Another advantage of rubber mats is that they are very versatile and come in different sizes, shapes, colors, etc.
Rubber mats have another advantage: they are low maintenance, easily replaceable, and can be cleaned very easily. Hence, they are perfect candidates for your workout rooms.
Through this article we seen some of the best ways to soundproof hardwood floors. We have discussed installing underlayment, adding rugs and carpets, using green glues and rubber mats, and fixing loose panels with deck screws.
We have also seen the various types of noise that need to be addressed for effective soundproofing.
Soundproofing hardwood floors can change the ambiance of the home and provide you with a much-needed calm and quiet atmosphere.