It’s easy to understand why wood and tile are flooring are so popular in homes today. They add warmth and beauty to homes, as well as being easier to maintain and longer lasting.
One drawback to consider is they tend to perform much worse acoustically. An untreated hardwood floor can produce unflattering levels of echo and poor sound quality. If you’re considering tile or wood floors for your renovation, there are several products and techniques that can reduce the noise problems before they start.
What if you already have noise problems with an existing floor?
Don’t lose hope, you just have to get creative with some different products to reduce the echo and sounds of footsteps. The following are the Top 10 materials for soundproofing floors, and improving your homes acoustics.
Acoustic underlayment is a type of material that is applied over the subflooring (many times plywood), and underneath the final flooring (wood or tile).
Common underlay materials are cork, vinyl, rubber, and foam. These materials are dense and offer good sound isolation and deadening. Here are some of the top soundproofing underlayment materials.
1. UltraSeal Floating Acoustic UnderlaymentUltraSeal Floating Acoustic Underlayment is a light weight product for all types of floors, and can be used on both residential and commercial properties.
As a high-performance material, this floating wood and laminate under flooring creates both a sound and moisture barrier.
When installed over concrete or wood subfloors, UltraSeal can dampen foot traffic noise. It comes with 100 square feet of high-performance acoustical underlayment and surpasses VOC emission standards in North America. Self-sealing tape helps make a quick and easy install.
2. Quietwalk UnderlaymentThis underlayment for laminate floors creates a sound barrier in the room where it is installed, as well as the room directly below.
Affordable and easy to install, it also creates a moisture barrier and keeps floors warm in the winter. Its filaments are randomly air-laid, giving the floor a soft, cushiony feel.
QuietWalk is available in 100 sq. ft rolls, it is designed for a do-it-yourself project but is also used by professionals for soundproofing flooring. QuietWalk is a good alternative to rubber or cork products, and according to the manufacturer, it has been shown to perform well in head to head acoustic tests.
3. Roberts Premium Felt UnderlaymentMade for soundproofing floors and to cushion flooring, Roberts Super Premium Underlayment is a high performance felt underlayment, made in part from recycled fibers using a high heat manufacturing process.
The felt material is good for absorbing noise, rather than reflecting it. Roberts is ideal for laminate or engineered flooring, and is naturally insulating, meaning it can keep chilly floors warmer in the winter
The pads are 3mm thick, are easy to install, and correct any minor sub-floor imperfections. There is a 1-3/4” overlap strip with adhesive, making it super easy to match pieces up with multiple rolls.
4. Floor Muffler – Floating Wood Acoustical UnderlaymentFloor Muffler is a dense foam composite material, designed to be used in floating wood floor installations, but can also be used with laminate.
It is very good for leveling out concrete subfloors prior to laying down the final flooring, and also acts as a moisture vapor barrier. This material is moisture resistant, as well as hypoallergenic.
Floor Muffler comes in rolls of 100 square feet, with a 3mm thickness, and is best suited to be installed on top of concrete and plywood subfloors in residential and commercial buildings.
Sound Deadening Vinyl
Sound deadening vinyl, also known as MLV, is a dense, rubber-like material with adhesive on one side. The dense vinyl has many different uses, including flooring. The density of the material helps deaden sounds and foot traffic noise. It’s a versatile material and can be cut into just about any shape to fit your application.
5. FatMat Sound Deadening VinylFatMat Sound Deadener easily absorbs the noises and vibrations that travel through vehicle floors, which can help reduce irritating noises. This includes road noise, engine and exhaust noise, and annoying rattles.
FatMat is easy to cut, peel off, and apply. It can be used as a barrier for your car’s floor, doors, and trunk and can also be used on trucks, RVs, boats, and even homes. It comes in five self-adhesive sheets measuring 18″ x 40″.
6. Thermo-Tec Sound Suppressing VinylIf you’re looking for a product to help control both sound and radiant heat in your car or truck, then we recommend Thermo-Tec Sound Suppressing Vinyl. It is easy to cut to shape and apply, and canhelp reduce road noise, engine noise, and improve driver comfort.
At 70ml thick with a high temperature adhesive backing, use this product on firewalls, doors, and floorboards. It comes in a 60″ x 36″ roll.
Acoustic Floor Tiles
7. Forna Natural Cork TilesForna Natural Cork Tiles are not only an economical solution for soundproofing existing floors, but they are sustainable and eco-friendly. This tile is water-proof and slip-resistant, making it perfect for home or office, kitchen or bathroom.
Forna Cork is formaldehyde-free and made from 100% natural cork, this flooring is easy to install and gives a natural looking finish with high quality acoustic and thermal insulation, which is said to create a soft and warm feeling to walk on. It comes in a package of 21.31 square feet.
Sound Absorbing Floor Insulation
If you are just starting your flooring project, one of the very best things you can do to soundproof the floors, is to put acoustic insulation batts under the subfloor between the joists. Just like when it is used in walls, the insulation will fit snuggly between the floor beams, and can reduce the amount of sound between the floors in your structure. Click here to see the comparison chart of all soundproofing insulation.
8. Roxul Mineral Wool Floor InsulationIf your acoustic project requires a rigid material, then choose Roxul Mineral Wool Floor Insulation. The batts are perfect for filling the floor structure before laying the subflooring, but are also commonly used as bass traps, and for recording studios or home theaters.
It comes in 6 piece cases, in 24” x 48” x 2” panels. When installing this product, it’s important to wear proper safety gear to avoid breathing in the material and to avoid contact with eyes and skin. It is recommended you wear gloves, eye protection, and long sleeved, loose fitting clothing as well as a respiratory mask.
Soundproofing Floor Mats
These products are meant to be used in addition to other floor soundproofing materials. By themselves they can have a decent effect on noise, but the best results are when used with underlayment and floor mats to deaden echoing. The mats can be placed in high traffic areas to absorb foot fall noise, and also on walls to absorb sounds.
9. Square Interlocking Floor MatsThese interlocking foam tiles are a great choice for laying over your existing floors. Light weight, durable, and easy to install, they are the perfect fit for gyms, weight rooms, martial art studios, trade shows, the kid’s play room, daycares, and more.
These tiles provide style, cushion, and soundproofing, and come in several colors to choose from. Each pack comes with 12 interlocking tiles that measure 2″ x 2″ for a total of 48 square feet. Borders are also included.
10. Best Step Interlocking FlooringThis interlocking, soundproof flooring is a good option for the home and garage, and comes in a multi-functional package of 8 tiles and 12 borders for a total of 32 square feet of coverage.
Best Step Interlocking Flooring is easy to cut, fit, install, and clean, and creates a nice finished look. It is also water resistant and is recommended for indoor use only. It comes in charcoal gray and is Anti-Fatigue, Microban Protected.
Sound Absorbing Carpet Pads
Soundproof carpet pads are a thicker and denser version of the carpet padding people are most familiar with. The pad is dense to absorb sound, as well as prevent the sound of footsteps from transmitting to other rooms in the house.