Be Neighbour Friendly: How to Soundproof Your Hardwood Flooring

If you have hardwood flooring in your Brisbane area home, you have probably noticed that it has a tendency to transmit sound. Hardwood floors tend to reflect sound superficially, but they also transfer many of the frequencies to walls and to rooms above and below. To make a long story short, timber resonates with certain frequencies and can act as a giant speaker under the right (or wrong) conditions.

If you are in a duplex, a condominium or an apartment building, your neighbours can be affected by sound coming from your unit. But even if you are in your own free-standing home, it can be beneficial to dampen the sound of your hardwood flooring. Here are some suggestions.

Soundproof Hardwood Flooring

Floor Coverings

We know that a floor covering defeats the purpose of having a hardwood floor, but a lot of people opt to put carpets on top of their hardwood floors. A carpet with a thick pad underneath is usually sufficient to dampen sound, unless music is played really loud. Remember that your hardwood floor not only transfers sound up and down, but the vibrations also “bleed” into the walls via conduction.

A thick pad with a carpet on top dissipates the vibrations before the hardwood can pick them up. This not only prevents much of the sound from going below, but also from going into the walls. For better soundproofing, you can use a pad made of cork. This is one of the finest sound insulators available.

If you love your hardwood floor as many of us do and don’t want to cover it up with a carpet, you can also opt for area rugs. At the very least, you can make sure that speakers are on or above area rugs. This isn’t nearly as effective as carpeting, but you get to enjoy the aesthetics of having a beautiful hardwood floor. Besides, you can change the placement of area rugs any time you become bored with them.

The only caveat here: while a carpet and pad will keep sound from bleeding directly off of the hardwood, it won’t do a lot to dampen sound that is in the air.

Damping Compound and Resilient Underlayment

If you want to get serious about soundproofing your floor, you can use a layered approach that includes flooring, a resilient underlayment such as cork and a damping compound such as Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound. Here is an example of how to do it.

The bottom layer would be made out of oriented strand board (OSB.) It makes a great bottom layer and has innate soundproofing qualities. Then, you would put a layer of Green Glue on top of it, followed by a layer of cement board. The Green Glue has to be between two rigid layers or it won’t do its job.

The underlayment would be the next layer. It can be made of cork, rubber, foam or fibre. A lot of homeowners like to use a shredded rubber mat for extra mass and more efficient soundproofing.

The flooring would be the last layer, but with a twist: you don’t actually attach the floor to the other layers. Instead, you allow the floor to float on top of the underlayment.

For the finishing touch, you need to have left a gap between the layers and the side walls. Fill the gaps with acoustic sealant to keep sound from bleeding into the walls.

Special Situations

Remember the five layer solution we have provided here. If you have an old floor and don’t want to replace it yet, you can always try to lift it and add whatever layers are missing. This will turn your current floor into a five layer floor. If you can’t get to the layers beneath, then you may have to use a pad and carpet as a solution.

Call Narangba Timbers

Whatever your hardwood flooring needs, Narangba Timbers has you covered. We have been serving Brisbane since 1979. Our customer service specialists are prompt, friendly and knowledgeable. To learn more about our selection of hardwood flooring, call us today: (07) 3888 1293.

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Posted in Hardwood Flooring, Jack's Blog