If you have a hardwood floor in your apartment, then you understand how loud it can be. Although hardwood tends to be less noisy than floating floors, they are louder than carpet or tile flooring. First, I’d like to establish that it is very much possible to soundproof hardwood floors, in case you may be wondering.
Installing underlayment under the wood will soundproof it. You can also consider gluing the wood to the floor in some cases. And if you don’t want to glue it, you can insert a deck screw to the subfloor. Another fix you can try includes using a rug or carpets and rubber mat.
To soundproof hardwood floors, you need a material with good noise-reducing quality. The type of fix you use depends on the type of noise you are dealing with. As such, I’d first talk about the different types of noise. Later in this article, I’d walk you through 5 different ways to soundproof a hardwood floor.
Types of Noises
While there is noise all around us, there are various categories. Concerning flooring noise, there are two main categories I’d be addressing – impact and airborne. To understand the type of soundproofing you’d need, you will need first to understand the type of noise you are dealing with.
Impact noise is the type of noise caused by objects falling, feet stomping, and other noise coming in contact with the floor. And with the composition of a hardwood floor, contact with this type of surface makes a loud noise. Dropping an object on a hardwood floor, such as a laminate floor, can cause noise so loud to wake a baby.
People who are more likely to have more impact style noises have pets or parents with kids who throw things around. And if you live above neighbors, it will be considerate to soundproof the love to keep the noise level to a minimum. Despite impact noises being so loud, they are the easiest to soundproof.
On the other hand, airborne noise is caused by sound that travels across the room. This could be sound from a music box, especially those with heavier bass, pets, TV, and so on.
Since hardwood floors are not soundproof, airborne noise tends to travel much further into your neighbor’s apartment or echo in your room.
As more furniture is added to the room, they naturally start to soundproof the noise as they absorb some of the noise emitted. While this will help, it will not soundproof the floor. Generally, airborne noise is much harder to soundproof.
For more information, check out the best flooring for recording studios.
How to Soundproof Hardwood Floor?
Now let’s look at some tips on how to soundproof a hardwood floor. These tips below will help you ensure your noise levels are decreased dramatically.
- Install an Underlayment Under the Wood
The first thing you can do to soundproof a hardwood floor is to install underlayment before the hardwood. However, except your hardwood floor is easy to uninstall and reinstall, I recommend using this step when you are planning for new construction or renovation. The underlayment will help cushion the wood floor as it rests on a soft surface rather than on concrete or plywood.
Underlayment comes in different materials, most common being foam or cork. This soft material is first installed on the bare floor before the hardwood is laid down. Installing underlayment can suppress noise from both impact and airborne. But take note, this adds to the overall cost of construction or renovation, but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
- Use Glue to Attach the Wood to the Floor
Another trick you can use to soundproof a hardwood floor if you can remove and reinstall your floor with ease is with a glue compound. The popular Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound is suitable for reducing noise from either side of the floor. You can directly apply it between two hard surfaces or to an existing subfloor. Or you can use it between the underlayment and the floorboard.
Using the Green Glue Noiseproofing is easy and can reduce up to 90% of noise. All you need is a caulk gun to distribute the compound over the subfloor, underlayment, and the hardwood. However, it can take up to about 30 days for Green Glue to reach its peak performance of dissipating sound.
- Insert Deck Screw
If you have to bother squeaky sounds, you can fix it with a deck screw. What you need includes a drill bit with a countersink, a bit driver, and a deck screw. To fix the squeaking sound yourself, you need to remove the current flooring to access the subfloor. You don’t need to do this for the whole floor. You can focus on the area particular to the squeaking sounds.
Drill pilot holes on each mark and use a bit with a countersink of the ideal size of the screw you use. However, the bit should be a bit smaller than the width of the screws. Place the hardwood floor in position and insert the sharp tip to drive the screw gently through. Repeat this process to secure all the floorboards making a squeaking noise.
- Use Rugs or Carpets in Section of the Floor
Rugs or carpets, as opposed to hardwood, naturally absorb noise. Let’s say you already have underlayment installed, or you used some glue to keep the hardwood down and still want to soundproof the floor more, then you can add carpeted rug pads throughout your house.
The best thing about using carpets is that they are not permanent as you can move them where you need them. For example, if you want to prevent impact noise from where items are frequently dropped or where you commonly walk, you can use rugs to help reduce the noise. You can also set rugs under TVs, speakers, or radios to soften the tones that would normally travel through the wood floor.
- Use Rubber Mat
Rubber mats also work like rugs, they soundproof hardwood from impact noise. The rubber mat acts as a buffer that absorbs both the blow of the impact and the noise. Rubber mats are a great fix to soundproof a room you work out, pet area, kids play area, and so on. While you may have a heavy black mat when you think of a mat, you can get these in various sizes, shapes, and colors.
Unlike using a rug, one of the advantages of using a rubber mat to soundproof is that it is easy to clean. Rubber mat also protects your hardwood floor from wear and tear, especially in a workout room. Overall, a rubber mat is great for keeping certain themes in each room.
Now that you know how to soundproof hardwood floors, it’s time to get to work. Each of these steps has been tested and proven to help reduce the noise level of a room by a great deal. Soundproofing is very helpful if you want to shut out any unwanted noise.