There are two types of noise that you’ll hear when living in an apartment. The first is airborne noise such as talking, dogs barking, music or TV noise. The second is impact noise, which is usually transferred through the floors and can include walking or jumping, dropping items onto the floor and furniture being moved. This is especially annoying for neighbours if the flooring is laminate or wood. The solution is to soundproof your floor!
Although airborne noise is difficult to control, there are some very effective methods for stopping impact noise including soundproofing floors.
Wood floors in apartments often are laid on top of joists and plywood. They offer little or no insulation as there is no absorbent layer, allowing noise to easily pass through rooms. Insulating between the floor joists with acoustic insulation will reduce both impact and airborne sound transmission through wooden floors. It’s worth noting that acoustic insulation is different to thermal insulation which is lower in density and therefore won’t provide the same level of sound insulation.
Acoustic matting and underlay
Acoustic matting and underlay is the most common form of floor soundproofing used to reduce impact noise, as they are specifically designed to be used over any floor below most floor finishes including, carpet, wooden floors, laminates and tiled floors. It can be quickly and easily installed as the mats can be cut to size and laid in a brick pattern with the edges butted together. A perimeter strip can also be fitted around the edge of the room if you are using carpet underlay and carpet. If you are laying a hard floor finish over the mats you need to use a layer of 9mm ply or equivalent over the matting to reduce movement and any possible damage.
A floating floor isn’t fixed in place with nails or screws and usually interlocks together with a tongue and groove edge, locking the floor into place. Soundproof floating floors are also available and feature a layer bonded to the underside which will isolate the flooring from the buildings structure, reducing sound transmitting through the floor into the room below.
A floating floor can be fitted over wooden and concrete floors to reduce high levels of sound and is ideal for rooms that require the highest level of sound isolation and even work in recording studios to reduce vibration along the floors between rooms.
Whatever steps you take to reduce the noise in your apartment, your neighbours will thank you for it!
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