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Sick Of Noise – Consider Soundproofing Floors

Soundproof floorAre you tired of listening to people upstairs walk across the floor? Does it sound like a herd of elephants every time somebody walks across the floors? If you find being downstairs is too noisy when people are upstairs, you need something to work as a sound barrier. Soundproofing floors is a great way to put a damper on that noise, so you can rest in peace downstairs!

The theory behind soundproofing a room is really quite easy to understand. As you may remember from middle school science class, sound travels in waves like the waves you see when you drop a rock into a pond of water. When you walk on a floor or drop an object on it the floor material will vibrate and cause sound waves to be created. These waves will then travel to the next surface they meet and cause it to vibrate. This vibration then recreates the noise from the first room into the second. If the first surface is the floor of a room above and the second is the ceiling of the room below then the sound will be transmitted to the lower room.

In order to stop this sound transmission from one room to another you will need to add a material between the floor and ceiling that will act as a buffer. This buffer will usually have air pockets which cut down on the wave energy so they don’t impact the ceiling in the second room and make it into a drum sending out new sound waves. Most acoustic materials are constructed with very tiny air pockets. Each time a sound wave travels through one of these pockets, it loses some of its energy. Hopefully, by the time the waves get through the material they have so little energy left that they can’t vibrate the ceiling material and make noise.

Benefit To Soundproofing Floors
It goes without saying that the best benefit to soundproofing floors is the reduction in noise. It gives you the peace and quiet that you are looking for no matter where you are in the house. Not to mention the quiet can improve your focus, allowing you to easily concentrate on work. Even better is when clients come over for a business meeting they will be pleasantly surprised by how quiet your office is, despite it being located downstairs with other people in the house.

Are you easily distracted? Do you wish just for once that it was a bit quieter so you could hear yourself think? Soundproofing a room gives you both of those benefits. By deadening the sound between floors you are going to be able to get the privacy that you desire, no hearing your kids running through the house nor can anybody hear you while you are busy singing along to your favorite radio station. With soundproofing material added, you can do what needs to be done without any distractions or interruptions.

Something else that many people do not realize is that decreasing the noise which is transferred from room to room is becoming the stylish thing to do, so you will also be adding value to your home. More designers are including that in new homes that are being built; by adding it to your own home, you have just improved your chances of selling it. The soundproofed wood floors are not going to add a lot of monetary value to your home, but it may help with the sale.


Is DIY Soundproofing Floors Expensive?
Whether you are thinking about doing it yourself or hiring a contractor, soundproofing your floors is actually very affordable if you are going to be adding a new floor covering anyway. Obviously, it is going to cost more if you hire a contractor because you have to pay their labor, how much you pay in labor charges though will vary based on the contractor. Most people who are good with their hands and enjoy home improvement projects opt to do it themselves, and it saves them money on labor.
The actual installation of the soundproofing materials is not really very hard and if you are planning to install a new floor anyway, then you most likely have the skills necessary to do this project.

Are Soundproofed Floors Hard To Maintain?
Something else that leave may leave many people debating whether to soundproof their floors or not is how easy or hard they are to maintain. While everybody wants to add value to their home, they often do not want to add more maintenance. Luckily, soundproofed floors are easy to maintain. The material is added between the sub-floor and the actual flooring that is walked on so really there is no maintenance to be concerned with.

Ready To Soundproof Your Floors? Here’s How You Do It…
Now that you are ready to add acoustic soundproofing to your floors, the big question is how are you going to do it. How you go about this process with your floors will vary based on the type of floors you are soundproofing and what you want the final results to look like. For example, if you want carpeted floors you will soundproof it differently than hardwood floors. Luckily, no matter what method you choose all of the materials can be found at your local hardware stores, and they are not very difficult to do.

Soundproofed Carpeted Floors
If you have carpeted floors and want to make them even quieter then the first thing you will need to do is rip up the old carpet and carpet pad. When ripping up the old flooring do not forget to remove the tack strips and any adhesive left on the sub-floor. Once you have exposed the sub-floor you are ready to start the first step of the project.

Since standard carpeting does add some sound deadening if there is still noise being transferred then you need to basically add more of the material that is present with a standard floor. You will need to have extra thick carpet padding or you can purchase sound-deadening padding. The sound-deadening padding is much more efficient at blocking noise than extra thick padding. You will also need some new carpet to lie down. Of course you can reuse the carpet you had before you just need to be sure to be careful when removing it.
If you opt for completely new flooring then once you have purchased them all you have to do is install the padding and carpet. The padding and carpet work together to cut down noise, they absorb the impact of footsteps and objects being dropped on the floor, and with the special pad you will be able to deaden almost all sounds coming from the room above.

Soundproofing Hardwood Floors
If you are thinking you want hardwood floors, even if it is just a laminate, you use basically the same technique as the carpeted floor discussed above. The first step is to remove the old flooring. You will need to rip up all of the old flooring so that the sub-floor is exposed, soundproofing starts at the sub-floor. The idea is that you will add a layer of material that will cut down on the noises caused that is transferred through the wood or laminate. Neither of these materials work as deadeners because they are dense with no voids to break up the sound waves. Thus, to get the quieting needed you will have to add another type of material that does have the ability to decrease the energy of the waves.

To soundproof hardwood floors you are going to need to purchase a soundproofing underlayment, as well as damping compound. Once you have the materials you need you will need to lay out the soundproofing underlayment directly onto the sub-floor. Then you will need to spread out a layer of damping compound, using a caulking gun is easiest. As soon as you apply the damping compound, you will want to install your hardwood flooring.

Soundproofing With Cork Flooring
Cork flooring is a great option if you are looking to lessen the noise in your house. The reason for this is that cork naturally absorbs noises, so it makes a great sound barrier. When installing cork flooring you will want to rip out the old flooring until the sub-floor is exposed. Before installing the cork flooring, you want to place a layer of soundproofing underlayment on top of the sub-floor and then cover with the cork flooring.

Soundproofing Ceiling Options
Sometimes you do not want to go through the hassle of ripping up the old floor or sometimes your budget does not allow it. Also if you are trying to soundproof an apartment or condo you will not usually have access to the rooms above. In this case your option is to work on stoping the sound transfer at your ceiling. Rather than ripping up the old flooring above, you can tackle the problem from the downstairs ceiling.

One method to soundproof the upstairs floors from the downstairs ceiling is to add a second layer of drywall to the ceiling. When adding a second layer of drywall what you will want to do is use Green Glue apply it to the back of the drywall and stick it onto the existing drywall. This acts as a sound the material and air void between the two layers of sheet rock will act as a trap to stop a lot of the sound waves from getting through. Hold the drywall and use nails or screws to hold both pieces of drywall in place, make sure you drill the screws or nails into a beam! Ceiling sheet rock is usually 5/8” so you don’t get any sagging. To finish off the soundproofing use an acoustical sealant in all of the cracks and along the edge of the entire ceiling.

Your other option is to add acoustical ceiling tiles to the ceiling. This is really a pretty simple solution and is not very expensive at all. The tiles are designed with sound barrier properties which can really isolate you from your neighbors above.
Simply use construction adhesives to glue the tiles to the existing ceiling or for more benefit you can use the Green Glue mentioned above. Brace the tiles until the adhesive has dried, this prevents the tiles from falling off the ceiling, but also saves your arms. Once the adhesive has dried use acoustic sealant along any gaps in the tiles, as well as around the entire ceiling.

One thing to always keep in mind when soundproofing floors is that one method is not going to block out all of the sound. In order for any soundproofing method to be effective the walls, doors, and ceilings off each room must be soundproofed. Noise does not simply travel down; it travels all around!

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